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I grew up on a working farm on the Great Plains of South Dakota. I can tell you there are really no days off on a farm. Cows had to be milked and fed twice a day. The rest of the livestock had to be fed, twice a day. With up to 20 cows to be milked, 100 head of Santa Gertrudis Cows and one bull to be fed. Certain times of the year the offspring of the 100 cows and 100 Suffolk ewes were added to the routine. During Spring to fall the planting, cultivating crops consumed most of the day. We grew Corn, soybeans, oats, barley, flax and alfalfa. There was always something to do. I learned the definition of work early. We all did my parents, two brothers and a sister.

Going to school was a day off. The interesting thing about attending a small rural school is that everyone had to participate in the activities. So, I grew up playing Football, basketball, baseball, track and field, playing in the school band, singing in the chorus and being in the school plays. It was a terrific way to experience many different aspects of life.

Upon graduating I attended Dakota Wesleyan University on a small scholarship. Majored in Biology with Chem/psych minor. Ran Track and cross Country for 4 years did well enough to get inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.

Graduating College accepted appointment to Officer Candidate School for the Navy at Newport Rhode Island. Commissioned Nov 3rd, 1972. Accepted to enter Pensacola in the Naval Flight Officer flight training program. I chose to go into the Radar Intercept Officer program for F4 phantoms at NAS Miramar in San Diego. After a cruise with VF-96 aboard the Constellation transitioned to the F-14 Tomcat Fighter Squadron 2 aboard the Enterprise. Then assigned to VF-124 RAG (Replacement Air Group) as an instructor.

Looking back, I see that the discipline, hard work on the farm and the diversification of activities really formed a determination to finish a project regardless of scope.

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