Things are not always as they seem. Sometimes what we see is not, in reality, to what we can expect.
For example, the other day I was waiting at the barbershop for a haircut. There were nine barbers working and all engaged. There were four customers waiting. I was number five.
Sitting down, I noticed the barber next to me dabbing alcohol on the back of the neck of her customer. Not sure what happened, but he was bleeding. Not much, but blood nonetheless. There are two things I never want my barber to do while cutting my hair: say “oops” or draw blood.
After applying the alcohol, the barber applied a bandage and finished brushing off hair clippings. “Hope I don’t get that barber,” I thought to myself, fiddling with my ticket bearing 34.
Another barber had just finished and was calling out the next number. “Number 32?” No answer. “Number 33?” No answer. “Number 34?” Here, I replied. Whew, I didn’t get the barber who drew blood.
At this point, the barber noticed that a man bearing 33 was standing beside me. She didn’t notice him when she called my number. I sat down to wait for the next barber.
The barber who drew blood finished ringing up her client. She looked at the number counter and called out, “Number 34?” I raised my hand and headed to her chair, hoping my haircut goes better than the previous gentlemen.
Despite my apprehension, my haircut went smoothly. Actually, it was probably the best haircut I’ve ever received.
Now, from around the Air Force…
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Sluss is an air traffic controller with the 20th Operations Support Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. However, he became a lifesaver when he helped save teenage boy struggling to stay afloat in the ocean off North Carolina.
As Senior Airman Matt Davis, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, wrote:
Within seconds, Sergeant Sluss was in the water alongside two other vacationers swimming out to help the person in trouble. As he and the others swam closer, they saw it was a teenage boy barely staying above the water.
When he finally got to where he could help, the boy panicked and struggled with Sergeant Sluss at first, not realizing what was going on. Sergeant Sluss and the others eventually got him calmed down enough to be pulled back to shore. As he asked the boy to kick to help swim, Sergeant Sluss realized the boy was exhausted from fighting the ocean for so long.
Sept. 19 was POW/MIA day. Retired Brig. Gen. Norman Gaddis spoke at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., about his time as a prisoner of war in the “Hanoi Hilton.” (story)
As Airman 1st Class Marissa Tucker, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, wrote:
During a massive firefight on a mission to Hanoi, Vietnam, May 12, 1967, the engine of his plane ingested part of a missile and went down. Both pilots ejected, but the backseat pilot’s parachute never deployed.
“I remember calling on my radio after I ejected saying ‘Dager 4, I’m OK,’ but I didn’t say Dager 1, so they didn’t know the fate of the other pilot,” he said. “After calling on my radio, I looked around to see I was surrounded by the Vietnamese Army.”
He was taken to a prison, better known as the Hanoi Hilton, where he only gave his name, rank and service number. The Vietnamese knew he was of a high rank so he was continually questioned about American operations. Because he refused to talk, he was beaten and tortured for 67 hours until they decided to put him into solitary confinement for 1,000 days.
“I went 1,000 days without seeing a soul and not being able to yell or scratch to contact anyone,” he said. “Many thoughts run through your head in a situation like that. But I never doubted I’d make it home.”
Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff works in the Pentagon with Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs.