Honoring an extraordinary veteran

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Most of us instinctively like to support veterans, especially the ones who paid their dues risking their neck in combat. I’m going to tell you about such a remarkable vet known to many of you in Georgia, Major General (USAF Ret) George B. Harrison. He is nominated for induction to the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame and I hope you will vote for him.

In our coffee klatch, George’s hobby is giving me swift razor cuts of wit, much to his delight since he thinks I richly deserve it and . . . unlike the other guys, he is well-equipped for it. Over coffee we swap stories sometimes about our war-zone exploits, mostly inside-baseball gallows humor. The truth is I was just a bit player compared to most of these guys since I had a bad helicopter crash that ended my flying days while their service continued.

Especially George. His first year in Vietnam he flew F4 fighter-bombers to support friendly ground troops engaged in a fight. His second tour he was based in Thailand, from which he overflew enemy territory to reach enemy targets deep in North Vietnam, having to dodge AAA (anti-aircraft artillery), SAMs (surface-to-air missiles) like radar-guided supersonic telephone poles trying to fly up his tailpipe to detonate, and enemy MIG fighters trying hard to shoot him down. These Russian-built air defenses were the toughest in the world at the time. Pilots like George who survived 100 of these bombing missions deep in North Vietnam earned a ticket home, but George volunteered for 50 more.

I don’t know details but years later George flew F-16 combat missions in Iraq. I do know he briefed three Presidents and was involved in missions best left under wraps so we don’t poke America’s enemies with a sharp stick.

I won’t use the word “hero” for George because he and the other guys all know the best of us never came home and the names of the heroes from the Vietnam War are carved in a black wall. Despite a long and impressive list of credentials, and the many titles he has earned, even more than “General” he likes best the label “fighter pilot” which he earned many times over.

It takes more than combat creds to make an  outstanding leader. Despite the two stars on his uniform, George was never bit by the general’s bug and he remains a humble and gracious man, with  much evidence he was a wise leader who motivated subordinates by example, with respect and support.

You can review the credentials of Major General (USAF Ret) George B. Harrison at this link, and you will see the many ways he continues to make the world a better place, including developing and motivating youth. But they forgot to mention his PhD in wit:

https://www.gaaviationhalloffame.com/nominations/2023-gahof-candidates/major-general-george-b-harrison-usaf-ret/

The following link is where you can vote for up to 3 of the nominated candidates, including George.

https://www.gaaviationhalloffame.com/nominations/vote-for-the-2023-gahof-inductees/?no_cache=1

If George is inducted, the members of the Hall of Fame will be in very good company, indeed. Please vote for him if you are so inclined.

[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City, GA is an occasional contributor to The Citizen. tlg.opinion@gmail.com]

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