A weekly profile of one of our area veterans.

Town: Clermont

Branch of service and rank: Air Force, captain, Vietnam War era

Enlisted or drafted? Enlisted. We were all getting drafted. I decided I wanted to go to the branch I wanted to go to.

What did you do in the service? I graduated college with a degree in finance, minor in accounting. I was assigned to maintenance control with the Strategic Air Command in North Dakota. Morale was miserable. I figure the one thing I could do was build morale. I actually built a coffee shop in the hangar. We had an airman of the month program. Then they moved me to field maintenance, then to plans and scheduling, then they made me Maintenance Control Officer.

Why did you consider it important? If I didn't perform properly, people would die — and also because of national defense. We were one of two major bases that had the ability to respond, that would have the response time, because we were so far inland.

What is your most important memory from the service? The coffee shop. It was one-on-one and it changed the attitude of the base. People knew they were important

What did you like the least? The politics of the service. It was always cost control for 11 months of the year, then we had to spend like crazy. If we were too good at our job for 11 months, we'd have to spend like crazy.

What would you like people to understand about war? I think war is ludicrous, because usually the purpose of war is religious or political, trying to establish a presence, and the problem is it's never fought by the upper echelons.