By Oanhie “Shinsen” Pham

Veterans Day, which is celebrated on November 11, honored those who served in the armed forces. Gwen “Staccatö” McMillion talks of her father and grandfather, who are both veterans.

A family photo of Gwen McMillion and her parents. Photo courtesy of Gwen McMillion

“My father was in the Air Force from 1978-2007, My grandfather was drafted to the Army for the Korean War, my great Uncle was in the Army during WWII, one of my cousins was in the Marines during Vietnam, another was in the Air Force as a dental hygienist in the 80s.”

She said her grandfather doesn’t have many stories to share, but he enjoyed telling a particular time when he experienced a culture shock.

“He frequently retells his story of what happened when he sounded the alarm for attack when he was guarding the DMZ,” she said. “He heard a bunch of yelling and loud noises in the middle of the night, so he thought they were going to be under attack. He sounded the alarm and everyone woke up and readied themselves. His CO realized in about 10 seconds that the Koreans were celebrating their new year. He got a rather bad reprimanding for that.”

As for her father, McMillion said he didn’t have many funny stories to share. McMillion said he acquired the nickname Pitbull while he was in the military.

“He’s a pretty straight-laced guy. Most of his stories were him telling officers to ‘kindly’ get off his flight line. He worked flight maintenance and ran flight lines primarily when he was in.”

McMillion said officers sometimes get too big of a head and try to take charge of the flight line and tell people not under their charge what to do.

“Stepping on toes is bad,” she said. “My dad has never been one to put up with people’s BS.”

She said having family members in the armed forces “reinforced a sense of patriotism, general love for the country and troops that serve to keep this country safe.”

Also, it made a huge impact in her life.

“I was actually born overseas,” she said. “My dad was serving in Japan with TDYs (temporary duty) to the Philippines, where my mom was living. That’s how my parents met. Not exactly sure how since I don’t get the same story from either one of them.”