It was the fall of 2011. He was the kid with long blonde hair who came home one weekend and called a family meeting. His girlfriend at the time was upstairs in his room. Pam and I weren't certain what was about to come down but we sat at the kitchen table and he told us.

He was going to join the United States Air Force.

On the surface we were happy. We knew he doesn't do things on the spur-of-the-moment and had thought this through. He was going to attempt to do a 4 year ROTC program in 3 years and graduate on time with a mechanical engineering degree.

It wasn't long and Pam and I had one of the greatest experiences of life in pinning his Officer bars on his shoulders at the commissioning ceremony after graduation from Georgia Tech.

A couple days later found us on the road to Vandenburg AFB in Lompoc, CA for his ICBM training. It was the longest trip of my life. All those miles of thinking where the years went, all of the mistakes I made and wishing that parenthood had do-overs. As he slept I kept the truck and trailer on the road with misty eyes.

There were goodbye tears that sunny cloudless California morning in Lompoc. Tears from both of us, nary a word was spoken. A new chapter was about to begin.

Months later I was in Lompoc for his graduation. As is typical of him, he never told us he was graduating from Georgia Tech with highest honors or that he was graduating #1 in his training class at Vandenburg! It was a special time and I could feel my own Dad's presence with us.

At 25 years of age he has had a great start to his career. His security clearance is top-secret; his awards as winner of the 2015 and 2017 Global Strike Command Challenge competitions have opened up some interesting opportunities. Today his role is instructing young officers in preparation for launching missiles capable of delivering ICBM warheads anywhere on earth in 30 minutes.

As one of very few Air Force Officers who have qualified as Expert Marksman on the firing range I like to think I had a small part in his career!

Today, Memorial Day, 2018, the Parisian family commemorates the service that my dad, Douglas Parisian gave our nation as a bomber pilot.

And today, Pam and I are proud to announce that our son, Hunter Parisian, is a now a CAPTAIN in the United States Air Force.

Congratulations Hunter!


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