The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 2, 2009

NASA Advisory Council members share a connection with community


Both of my parents were born nearby, my mother in Lahoma and my father near Canton, so northwest Okla-homa has remained close to my heart throughout my life. Amateur radio (“ham”) activities, first learned at the Enid Amateur Radio Club with my father, also have made a significant contribution to my career path. It now has become a part of my son Richard’s life as well, when he flew to the International Space Station only last October with the Russians on a Soyuz vehicle.

We are the only American father-son pair to have flown in space and it seems likely to remain the case for quite some time.

Benjamin Montoya

As one makes new friends it is commonplace to ask from where they come. The answer to this question from Owen Garriott was Enid. Not expecting me to know anything about Enid, including its location, Owen was a bit surprised by my reaction.

I am a Vietnam-era veteran somewhat scarred by the reception I experienced upon return to our country. As a member of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, Enid was a major step in my healing process.

Our visit to Vance Air Force Base brought us in touch with Enid’s leaders and the populace at large. One of the criteria for assessing whether or not to close a base was community support. This provided a measure as to whether the base’s mission capability might be impaired in the future by planning decisions adverse to its operations.

Two days in Enid dispelled us of that notion. I not only found a community in full support of the base’s future but a genuine warmth and pride for the military and its personnel. Though this experience was nearly 30 years after my Vietnam experience, it nonetheless made me feel my service was not only worthwhile but truly appreciated.

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