Dennis Boyd interviews David Thorne, who joined the Air Force in 1967 and was in Vietnam for one year.
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And now back to Answers for Elders as we honor our military veterans. Careageis the proud sponsor of our veteran segment hosted by former Seattle Seahawk Dennis Boyd. Hi. This is Dennis Boyd at Patriots Landing and Dupont Washington. Patriots landing is a retirement community for our veterans and we have with us today David Thorne and David Welcome. Thank you for joining us. You’re welcome, David. We’d like to learn a little bit more about your service to our country as our chance to honor this is part of our our veteran of the month awards and we’d like to kind of find out a little bit more about you. Okay, by our away. Okay, tell us when did you when did you enter the Air Force? Sixty seven, one thousand nine hundred and sixty seven, and that was as a did you come in as a pilot or we had to go through officer training, get your rank and then you go to flight school for a year? Okay, and your flight school was done where? Big Spring, Texas. Wow, how did you get from Pendleton and it was as what prompted you to to take your commission as an officer then? Well, remember, this is the height of the Vietnam War. Okay, and I got word that I was going to get drafted and I would rather fly in a cockpit as opposed to walking in the jungle. I can understand why there were a lot of I’m a little younger than you are, but there are a lot of guys that my peers, that were kind of saying, well, if I enlist then I can at least choose where I’m going, as opposed to being told where I’m you know where I’m going to serve. Yeah, okay. So tell us about that transition a little bit. From flight school then did you get where you stationed over Vietnam? Then? Yes, or period of time then? Yeah, I was there for the year of sixty nine. Okay. And what were you flying over? Absolute a thing called see seven Cariboo. It was as a tell us a little bit more about that. That’s is that a cargo or is that twin engine cargo prop job built by disabling out of Canada and operates on short takeoff and landing fields. Our primary customer was special forces and fire support basis, operating out with thousand foot dirt strips. So you were flying into real frame and country when you were dropping off supplies and so on too. These were bases and see. Yeah, can you if there’s some memorable thing? What happened? I’m sure there’s many things back there. But back then, when did you you know, what was your first flight like? What was that? Did you fly as a co-pilot or how did you fly? Then? I flew, was a co-pilot and the the first flight is memorable because we got shot at. You’re down there shooting me and for all I know you and I could come front. Yeah, yeah, you don’t know me, I don’t know you. We can meet in a bar sometime have a good time, so don’t chew backing. Yeah, how was I mean, being in the Air Force, I would imagine that there is that bit of detachment between what you’re doing and the people that you’re fighting against, because you never really I mean unless it gets real ugly and you get up close there, you never really see. But you weren’t really firing anybody other than to protect yourself. You were dropping off supplies. Yeah, okay, yeah, now we never really saw anybody. Only had a couple times and I saw some. Okay. So how long were you in Vietnam? One year. One year, okay. And what did you do after that? I came here to McCordon and flew one hundred and forty one. Okay. So you are one of the we see this fly as I drive up and down I five. You see these large cargo planes taking off and you’re the one with the hand on the all six levers that are running up the running up the engines just to get off the crown. Yeah, okay. How long are you in the Air Force? I was there about six years, got out, went into civilian life, okay, and then my kids got old enough I could go back in and play. I joined Air Guard. You can’t, Marie, okay, and I was in tactical intelligence for so and expect for the for the lay person out there, what does that mean as a tactical intelligence? Well, my squadron was an Air Support Operation Center. We were attached to the fire support at I corps. We’re an Air Force N and what we did is get aircraft come in and do the fire support, okay, and what I did is basically evaluate the bad guy. What’s the best weapon systems to use on them and so forth. Okay, it was meanly all exercise stuff, right, we didn’t deploy well, and at that point it is just preparation and getting a chance to understand, analyzing who are our risks, where our vulnerabilities and how we’re going to be able to exactly with that. Everything is based on risk reward. Yeah. So after after the Air Force, I mean you were out for a period of time as the civilian. What did you do then? When I was out? Hmm, I do a couple things. But when I was as a stock broker, okay, in Tacoma. Yeah, and what years was that? I can’t remember. Okay, yeah, but some time, probably in the s then. Yeah, would be in the s right. Yeah, I went got a master’s degree in NBA. All right, yeah, they if I remember correctly, then the the economy was kind of March. That’s about the time when Boeing was thinking about turning out its lights, exactly, and I hear stories about people in the industry that said Boeing moved to eighth of a point. There was a there is excitement all over the place. Yeah, exactly. No, but so what took you? What got you into the investment side? Just an interest in investments, or some friends were did that corner of the step and they said, you know, you got to get into this. There you go. Yeah, and how long did you do that? Oh, about six, six years, seven years of okay, yeah, I didn’t like it. Yeah, after that, where did what? Where did you take your talents to next step? I joined them are guard. And then I was such to a teacher in Tacoma, teaching mainly math. Okay, in middle schools. Yeah, how was that? It was interesting. It was fine, and I would be booked maybe two or three months in advance because I was an old combat vet in these middle school kids couldn’t get to me. They need that. Try to harass you. Yeah, it didn’t didn’t work. After what you’d been through, is not much just going to face you at that point. It isn’t that. So what do you remember the most about what success is? Are Things, especially as the teacher. As a teacher, my favorite memory was I was teaching eighth Grade Algebra. It was is for a highly capable or gifted class and these are all really smart kids and one little girl struggled and she was like a c minus student M and her buddies went her harasser give her a bad time. Be They’re all A and B students. And then the teacher and I decided the last month we’re going to switch the geometry so these kids we have a head start on their peers. When I went to high school and I was up doing something on the board, you know, some kind of John Big problem, she says it will be the answers for you’re watching. She hit that mind. So her mind was spent more towards geometry than Algebra. Then that’s right. Yeah, and with two weeks later she was my as system. All this, did the harassment slow down a little bit after that stopped totally. The as you look back, it said you you joined the air for us a little bit, and then what were some of I mean every moment you have. You have an amazing career here, David. I mean you were seven years in the air force and then later in the air guard, time as a financial you’ve kind of done at all. Yeah, and what means the most you as you look back? What do you want? What do you want people to know about? David Thorn? I’d be in rushing question. I don’t I like to help people. M. Yeah, and looking back into Vietnam era, I probably saved eight hundred to thousand lives, and that’s the part that you know, you guys at the Unsung by getting supplies in and getting people to the where they can make it to the next day or survive or get them out or get them out. Yeah. Yeah, I ended up with a distinguished flying cross for work for in bring a fire support base, that is it was under fire. Yeah, what you’ve done. There was a quote in a movie and and it kind of strikes me a lot when I hear what men and women in the service have done, and is that humans are free into humanity needs you. Yeah, and at this point that means that you had to put yourself ahead of your needs for others. Yeah, and for that you were honored distinguished in your flying career there with the air force and David, for that, we thank you very much. You Bet. Can you tell us a little bit about your time here at Patriots Landing? How is it? How are you enjoying yourself or I love it. How long have you been here at? Over one year. Wow. Yeah, and Suzanne keeps asking me all time to talk to people. Yeah, and I would say the number one thing is is the people, the staff and the residents are really nice. Then we’re two would be the facility. This is. I tell people this is a resort hotel for seniors. Well, you guys, you have an amazing group here. We’ve had a chance to meet Al in the previous and Janet and so on. I’m going to relate this to my playing football a little bit, is that there are things there’s a connection with those that have served. Well, you serve with them or not, and I feel that bond when you walk in these doors here. It’s an amazing group of people. They are, David, thank you very much again. I really appreciate your time and no problem. Thank you for your service. You bet. This has been a special honoring veterans. Presentation of Answers for Elders brought to you by Careage. For more information about Careage, the website is Careage.com.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.