Russell M. Middleton - Journey
This site originally published in MICHIGAN in 2002.
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My Journey in Brief?

"I, Russell M. Middleton, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Robert Frost (1874-1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.

1. The Road Not Taken (Youtube video)

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Psalm 144

My mother was not as enthusiastic about my decision to join the military as I would have liked. She didn't want to risk losing her only son, the eldest of the eldest of the eldest of this branch of the Middleton family.

Unbeknownst to me until some thirty years later, while studying Scottish History, my decision may have been a foregone conclusion. In spite of mom's best efforts to raise a peace loving son, some four hundred fifty generations of highland blood course through my veins and I wanted to do the right thing. It was probably obvious to many that Vietnam was a lost cause and was already beginning to wind down. All I knew was that it was something I needed to do.

A few weeks into Basic Training when the moment came to specifically choose which Air Force career field I wished to pursue, I chose weapons (Aircraft Armament Systems Apprentice AFSC 46230) (closer to the pointed end of the stick). Weapons Maintenance Specialty (AFSC 46250). "The report gives a detailed listing of the technical tasks and knowledge needed to perform the jobs within the specialty or career ladder. This specialty has the following functions: Loads nuclear and nonnuclear air munitions and explosive and propellant devices on aircraft; and maintains, installs, modifies and repairs aircraft bomb, rocket, and missile release, launch, suspension and monitor systems; guns and gun mounts; and related air munitions handling, loading, and test equipment." — O'Connor, Thomas J. & Bowers, Frederick B, Jr.

The nature/nurture argument has raged for longer than my short life, but the more I learn about who the Scottish people are the more I understand myself. This web page, Military Character of the Highlanders, clearly explains the character of the Highlander as a warrior, but a close reading will also reveal who the Highland Scots are as a people. Our sense of honour, loyalty, history and the land is beyond the ability of most non-Scots to understand, yet so deeply felt as to be part of our DNA. A sense of honour and hospitality so grievously violated at Glencoe over three centuries ago that it still raises tempers.

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