I’ve written my book, now it’s time to tell my story. When we’re young, we want to blend in, but when we get older, we want to stand out. But I never wanted to be an “Ordinary Joe” because I was always on the go. I’ve been to seven different countries, on three separate continents, in two separate branches of the military (US Air Force and US Army).
Now I consider myself a “GI Joe“. “Don’t get it twisted “, I’m not stuck in a military past, but I’m using that military mind-set and discipline to build a brighter future. I think like a warrior and I patch my invisible shield everyday to reflect the negative news and nasty views and sharpen my sword (the power of the pen) by writing something positive whenever I can. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for whatever falls your way. It didn’t happen over-night, but it happened over time.
Below is photo of me taking a photo of the set-up at the Drexel University Dornsife Center in Philadelphia PA. before the book signing. Top left – book cover poster of Standing in the Shadows, Listening to the Greats!!! Top right – Photo of the author holding “two working hats”: U.S.Air Force and U.S. Army.
On the bottom 2nd left is a photo of my mom with her hands on her hips (who I dedicate the book to), who was still working at the age of 84 and still catching the bus to work in the cold Detroit winters. When she left us at the age of 90, I found out the rest of her story. She gave birth to 14 children, but her mother died when she was only eight and she barely knew her father.
What he left her was his legacy. As a Native American from the Mississippi Delta, he kept count of all his children during his life-time and when my mother was born in 1919 she was the last of HIS 33 children. Because I blogged and wrote a book I past on her legacy. I’m so glad I met Alex Haley, on one of his tours many years long ago. Now I’m the one writing my story of my Roots.
Integrity, Character and Earnest Effort pay-off over time. As a writer and “almost poet” I like to rhyme, so things stick in my mind. YOU should learn to be as cold as ICE (I-C-E), to make it through life and still be nice . Maintain your I – Integrity, build your C – Character and provide E – Earnest Effort in everything you do.
The goal should be; take pride in everything you do! It’s much more that the money you make, it’s WHAT the work/the time and the effort, makes of YOU. One of my mentors, the late great Jim Rohn said, “The question you should ask yourself at work, is not how much am I making? But what am I becoming because of the job?”
If you feel stressed out and unappreciated, over time those things will affect your mine. Another mentor Les Brown said that, “More people have heart attacks on Monday morning than any other time of the week.” They dread going to work so much that they die, before they can even show up.
I was raised by my mother, but I grew up with my dad. I was home along and in my last year of high school when the 1967 Detroit riots started. I was living with my dad at the time and he was out of town for that week-end.
It’s an event that is seared into my mind: 2,000 building were destroyed, 7,200 people were arrested, 1,100 people were injured, and 43 people were killed. I could have been one of those casualties, but only watched in amazement. As a result, I was able to escape the assembly line and join the military line.
Even though I was still in high school, I worked full time on the assembly line. I would catch a city bus in the morning and go to the other side of town, because my pop didn’t want me to go to the local high school. I would come home in the afternoon, do a little homework, then catch another bus to the other side of town to work on the 2nd shift. As a military veteran he knew about the power of association: We lived in the hood and he knew, a lot of the folks were “up to no good”.
I found that work on the line was a hard-daily grind. As a new hire you had to do whatever task you were assigned. At the beginning of the model year there were always gaps in the line, so you had a little time, but when they hit full production speed that was one vehicle produced every minute, which meant you had 60 seconds to complete your assigned task.
The older guys with seniority had easier task and had conditioned themselves to do their job. In the late 1960’s in Detroit you either worked in the plant with the union, you worked a low paying job with no labor union, you worked in an office somewhere or you hustled on the street. The money in the factory was fine, but I didn’t want to condition my mind, to continue that grind. My solution was to join the military, to use the GI bill to get a degree, so I could save my body and use what’s inside my head.
What are you willing to sacrifice in order to change the direction of YOUR life? I decided to join the military during the Vietnam War. I had many friends and classmates that were being drafted and sent off to Southeast Asia to fight in the jungle. I enlisted, so I would have a little say.
The Navy was too much water for me. The Army and Marine Corp was too hard core. I had already worked hard in the factory floor, but nobody was shooting at me. My logical choice was to join the Air Force, if I could get a good enough test score to get in.
I got in, and the adventure begin. I took my first plan ride to Basic Training in San Antonio Texas, then a bus ride to Advance Training in Wichita Falls in the same state, followed by a quick plane ride to a radar site in the middle of the desert in Nevada. Being assigned there was like being assigned to the moon; plenty of rocks and a lot of sand.
The next assignment took me over the pond (across the Atlantic Ocean). I wasn’t in the jungle, I was again in sand. This time it was Libya North Africa. Col. Muammar Gadhafi had deposed Libya’s King Idris and wanted the US out of the country. I was assigned to help close the base.
The US base commander kept a lid on things and the base closed on time. His name, Col. Daniel “Chappie” James. To me he was just the base commander, who happen to be Black. I later found out that he was also a trail blazer. He was a Tuskegee Airman and a highly decorated combat pilot who later became the “First African American Four-Star General for the United States Air Force”.
I left Libya North Africa and was sent to East Germany; the Berlin wall was still standing tall. I learned a little German and moved off base. It’s where I developed a wider world view. I also moved up in rank (buck sergeant) but took a quick hardship discharge, to take care of my dad who suffered a stroke.
I returned home (Detroit) and went back to the factory but became an inspector, which meant I didn’t have to work as hard. But it was still the same repetitive grind. Dad got better and a friend of his agreed to take over, so I could attend school.
I chose Drexel University in Philadelphia because they had a co-op program. Earning credentials AND related work experience sounded like a good deal to me. I went to a co-op high school in Detroit, that changed their co-op program right before I got there.
I chose a technical degree program at Drexel, but don’t have the aptitude, so I changed my major to business. Lesson learned – when you find yourself in left field, reel your own self in. My foot was in the door (I had been accepted) and I was going to give it my best effort.
I looked at my new schedule and that blue-collar attitude kicked in. By taking the right subjects I could graduate with a double major. It would just increase the power of my resume. I had gone to high school and worked on a full-time job and I still graduated on time. I was also a military veteran (Air Force) and had a different maturity level. I didn’t come to play, I was looking for the most bang for my buck!
Then one day I passed a sign on a wall. It read,” The more you look, the better it looks”. It was a sign for the R.O.T.C. (Reserve Officer Training Corp). I had prior military experience and became the P.A.V.E. coordinator (Program to Advance Veteran Education) as a work study job. I looked at it as another challenge and decided to give the R.O.T.C. program a try. It was Army and I had done Air Force time. But a few extra bucks would help me make it through this college grind.
As an active duty Army Quartermaster Officer, it was like attending grad school. Each assignment I had, was in logistic, but at different levels. In New Cumberland Army Depot, I worked mostly with civilians and a small military detachment. When I went to Germany, I worked with German Host Nation employees, a few military dependents and another small detachment of military.
When I got to Ft. Bragg N.C. (Home of the Airborne) it was all military. At Bragg you were either Airborne or you were a Super Leg. The four-mile run was how we all started our day. The military discipline of do what is required to accomplish your mission and take care of your men was now set in my mind.
When I started blogging it all came back to me. It was that taking pride in what I did, which lead me to choose personal development as my subject matter for my blogs.
I became the student and stood in the shadows, listening to the greats: The greats being, the best motivational speakers and thinkers of today and yesterday. I even met a few in person, over the years: Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Darren Hardy, Vernice “Fly Girl” Armour and Tracey Walker.
You can Google “Standing in the Shadows, Listening to the Greats!!! By Earl E. Hackett” and order from Blurb Publishing. If you like what you read, then leave a positive comment on the Blurb publishing website.