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Honoring my Veteran Grandpa

My grandpa, a retired Navy Lt. Cmdr, is the main reason I joined the military. Veterans Day isn’t just another holiday for me, it is the day I think of all the military veterans who have sacrificed, both in war and in peace, to protect America and the American way of life. I thank my grandpa for serving, helping me grow up and encouraging me to join the military. (Courtesy photo)

My grandpa, a retired Navy Lt. Cmdr, is the main reason I joined the military. Veterans Day isn’t just another holiday for me, it is the day I think of all the military veterans who have sacrificed, both in war and in peace, to protect America and the American way of life. I thank my grandpa for serving, helping me grow up and encouraging me to join the military. (Courtesy photo)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- When people ask why I joined the military; my response is always, "because my grandpa was in the military, I wanted to be like him."

My grandpa, retired Navy Lt. Cmdr John Phillip Shelton, spent 24 years in the Navy. He first enlisted in 1968 as an Aviation Fire Control Technician, then commissioned in 1977 as an Avionics Officer.

Growing up living with my grandparents, I would always see the different military awards and mementos my grandpa had displayed in the house. As a little girl I thought they were just decorations, but they were the neatest things to look at.

As I got older I understood what they meant, and his military achievements made him my hero.

He was deployed during Operation Frequent Wind in Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. He has been to many places throughout the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.

Four bases, six ships and three deployments: in a nut shell that is my grandpa's career. This is what I honor on Veterans Day - his service.

Veterans Day isn't just another holiday for me, it is the day I think of all military veterans who have sacrificed, both in war and in peace, to protect America and our American way of life. I thank my grandpa for serving, helping me grow up and encouraging me to join the military.

I might have gone into a different branch, but I am proud to say I am able to serve and continue to serve just like he has.