Ribbons & Bows

With Polly’s help, I finally pulled my old USAF uniforms down from the rafters above the garage. The plastic garment bags they’d been in since 1997 were rotted away, but the uniforms were still in good shape.

I took almost everything to Goodwill. Polly salvaged a uniform windbreaker and my woolen ankle-length greatcoat, an item I recall wearing exactly once, on a freezing walking tour of East Berlin in 1981. The things I thought worth keeping were the ribbons, wings, and miniature medals. Oh, and the clip-own bowtie from my mess dress uniform.

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The bling on the left went on regular uniforms; the fancier stuff to the right on the aforementioned mess dress, worn at formal dinners. Polly asked the standard questions about the ribbons and medals. I gave her the standard answers: that one was for being there as a lieutenant; that one was for being there as a captain; those were for being there as a major, etc. Actually I think there must be a newer miniature medal set somewhere, because I remember attaining the heights of a second row before retiring … Donna will probably know where they are. By the way, I didn’t arrange those ribbons and medals: once you get past a single row of ribbons or two medals, you pay a professional to mount them on a plastic backing for you.

My flying gear’s mostly long gone. There may be a couple of nomex flight suits in a duffle somewhere, but the good stuff was snapped up by our kids years ago, and by good stuff I mean the nylon and leather flight jackets. I have three helmets still, and a collection of unit scarves and dickies.

Starting to look like 2023 is the Year of Taking Inventory around here. I’m not going to read too much into that thought.

2 thoughts on “Ribbons & Bows

  • Just went through that clearing out the house.
    Saves some memorabilia and stored it at my son’s house in Cleveland.
    My medals, rank insignia and warfare specialty devices went to my daughter who spent 9 years in the Navy. She’ll appreciate them more.
    The uniforms went to the thrift store on base. Saved two pair of working coveralls for “dirty days” getting underway and setting up in campgrounds.

    I was amazed how much I’d saved only to discover later its value had wanted.

    At least the kids will appreciate not having to clean it all out later!

  • I’m sure that woolen ankle-length greatcoat will come in handy some day in Tucson. I need to follow your lead and get that stuff out of my closet.

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