In the Air Force, the Instructors rule boot camp. With early wake up calls and long hours of physical training, they ground discipline into enlistees. Today on Veterans’ Voices, Air Force veteran Herman Webb of Fairborn tells his daughters, Samantha Webb and Jennifer Lobo that his strength and self-control prepared him well for his military service.
Samantha Webb (SW): So, how’d you joined the military? The truth.
Herman Webb (HW): The truth? I was going to Stillman College, which was a historical black college. I wasn’t doing well. I had two years in. Then from there, I went into the Air Force.
SW: So, was there anything you remember about having to adapt to military life?
HW: Well, no, because I was a very disciplined person. It's all about discipline so, I did what I was told. When I was a child, my mother would tell me… I used to use profanity, I was good at cussing. So, she told me one day to go into the bathroom to wash my mouth out with soap. So, I did without her supervision.
Jennifer Lobo (JL): How old were you?
HW: Oh, about twelve.
JL: You went and washed your own mouth out with soap?
HW: I was very disciplined. So, taking instructions wasn’t difficult for me. The military was just do what you’re instructed to do. And that's what I did.
SW: It sounds like a good fit.
HW: A good fit. Yeah. You have a different structure and once you adjust to that. As a matter of fact, in your Airman Performance Report, that’s adaptability to military life that's in there and they would check off whether you did or didn't. So, you adapt to that. That means can you take instruction. Okay, to be disciplined and to follow instruction means you can lead, as well. Because you follow someone else’s instruction and you’ve got to give it to someone else. So, I enjoyed that part of it. Going back to what you asked about. I like that disciplined life.
JL: I think that's something we have both…
SW: Benefited from?
JL: Benefited from, have as values, and grew up within that, and have really applied to our lives now.
SW: Because if you commit to something, you're going to follow through. I think that was a really good way to be raised. It does help us be better people, I think.
JL: I think so, too.
HW: Yeah. Looking at that, there's something I thought about with you, Samantha. Something you did. I forgot what it was, but I tore into you as if you were my little ranking Airman. You raised up and came to attention and I realized, oh my God, I can't treat her like that. So, I had to tone it down but still hold that what you had. I never did that again. I don’t know if you forgot it, or not.
SW: I don't think we got in trouble much.
JL: No, we were good kids.
HW: I have to ask your mother.
JL: You're not sure?
HW: Well, I was in and out. I was working.
JL: You were. You were working a lot.
HW: Yeah, I was working.
JL: Is there anything that you would like your family to know about your military service?
HW: That I enjoyed it. And you two wouldn't be here if it wasn't for it because I wouldn’t have met your mother.
JL: Yes. Two proud Air Force brats.
SW: Yay, Air Force!
Air Force veteran Herman Webb and his daughters, Samantha Webb and Jennifer Lobo spoke at WYSO as part of StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative which visited the Miami Valley last summer. Veterans’ Voices on WYSO is presented by Wright-Patt Credit Union with additional support from CareSource. This story was edited by Tony Holloway and Will Davis and created at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.