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Manny B. is leaving us for awhile...

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SS/EA 6BBL 71 Cuda

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I just wanted to say good luck and, safe journeys to my little friend Manny Ballestero who is making a serious life change and, shipping out for Army boot camp-

It's seems like it was just yesterday that i had this young man nipping at my heels all over Midwestern rocket launches. There were the high school years, college and, now this.

Manny, I wish you the best and, remember anything you go through in the next few months of your life will be but, a test of your inner strength- You'll do good...I know you will...

For me, no money...no chance for a college education and, no support.
The USAF was the ONLY way I was ever going to get out of a Union Mill town in northern Wisconsin over 30 years ago.

Ive done quite well...you'll do even better.
 

Dwatkins

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What the hell happened to college? I thought this boy was on his way to better things. I respect his service and hope he stays safe.

Dennis
 

rfjustin

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What the hell happened to college?
Maybe soul searching revealed that college ain't his thing... if that is the case, I hope he made the right call. Manny, if you see this, I salute you, and genuinely want the best for you brother! Be safe, stay strong, stay the course, kick some ass, take some names. I never had the honor to serve, but I have the utmost respect for those who have...
 

dhbarr

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If I was smarter younger, I'da made Uncle Sam pick up that particular tab instead of going broke for 10-15 years.

Worked out in spite of my stubbornness ( some say because of ).

In any case, whatever you decided and whyever so, Safe Journeys!
 

patelldp

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Manny - Thank you for your future service. I could never do it, but I am damned proud and thankful of those that do.

I consider this "better things."
 

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Manny , we Iowa flyers were lucky you chose ISU as a school as we reaped the benefits of you coming down to fly with us on a few of our launches , I hope you make it back our way someday but wish you the best moving forward ! Best of luck , Jim
 

markkoelsch

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Maybe soul searching revealed that college ain't his thing... if that is the case, I hope he made the right call. Manny, if you see this, I salute you, and genuinely want the best for you brother! Be safe, stay strong, stay the course, kick some ass, take some names. I never had the honor to serve, but I have the utmost respect for those who have...
In total agreement with Justin here. Life rarely takes folks on their originally intended course. I hope this course works out for you Manny.
 

crossfire

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Manny I wish you the best of luck. Its was always great seeing you at the launches. The things you have done in rocketry most of us will never do in a life time. Maybe you can play with real rockets in the Army. It was funny seeing you and Tim going at it over some new idea you had.

Gary
 

Bat-mite

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What the hell happened to college? I thought this boy was on his way to better things. I respect his service and hope he stays safe.

Dennis
Some people might want to argue with you that college is better than military service. I think it is a matter of choice for each individual.

Manny, I don't know you and have never met you. Be all that you can be! Stay safe. Thank you for representing America!
 

rockdoc

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Many of us have a "greater calling in life" I did and also enlisted and have never regretted it.

Manny, is going to become part of a great brotherhood and many of us here will embrace him with open arms.

To sum it up here is something to read as defined in the Military: Brotherhood

So many are the blessings that accompany having a brother or sister, and so often is it that in times when one cannot be strong for themselves, the times when one needs just that extra motivation, the times when accomplishing something is better when not alone, does that companionship and that bond define itself to us. All throughout our lives, innate to being a human, is the search to find that type of bond with others ever present; however, there is a calling that draws people together, where they are able to establish an environment that breeds the brotherhood that has been sought in every corner of one’s life. Upon signing the dotted line, and reserving a place among the worlds most elite fighting force, one enters into the unparalleled brotherhood that is the United States military.

The United States military has the unique ability to define brotherhood (sisterhood), not in words, but in actions. Every day, those men and women are challenged and are sometimes put into situations where the camaraderie builds itself, and the men and women are able build each other. The uniform only lays the foundation for what brings these select, and exceptional, men and women together; it is the call to duty, the ideals, and the shared title of being an American and believing in what that means, that truly binds the servicemen and women together, across all five branches.

The choices that are often faced, especially in times of conflict where many are positioned abroad and in dangerous situations, sometimes are as difficult as life or death, and the brotherhood that embraces, is instilled in, and propagated among the U.S. armed forces, makes the choice between yourself or another natural: another. There is no greater rapport, than in that shared amongst the service members.
 

Onebadhawk

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You're going to do fantastic in the military Manny...
You have a wonderful future for sure...
This is not an easy choice to make,, but is consistently the best one by far...

Good for you Manny,, I'm really jealous...

Teddy
 

SS/EA 6BBL 71 Cuda

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Knowing that Mann is going to be training for a Tank Crewman after Basic had me thinking that- Manny+ Tank= Sand...
That had my thoughts going off on so many tangents but, then again life has taught me some very basic unexpected rules.

Life 101.
1. It's not the age but, the mileage on the age.
2. Things never go the way you think they will.
3. When a door closes, somewhere another one opens.
4. What a long strange trip it's been.

Manny was the first "little peoples" i ever tried to (humbly) mentor and, now it's Sabrina...Not having children it boogles the mind wanting to see only the best for them and, a safe journey along the way.

I will be the hand you need while i'm standing, the support you need when i can no longer stand and, the wind in your ear when i'm no longer here to speak to you.

Enjoy the ride, learn and, above all...come back alive so that we can swap some good stories down the unexpected path of life...

I'm going to log out here...i'm starting to cry and, that's something i don't like to share with the anyone. Seriously...
 

tightwad

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Good luck, Manny. "Keep your nose clean" That's what my Dad told me when I went into the Air Force in 19966. You will make new friends and memories that you will be talking about for the rest of your life.
 

Onebadhawk

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Mann is going to be training for a Tank Crewman


Wow,, you're kidding,,
that's what my son did..
You're going to love it,,
and you'll surly never forget it...

Teddy
 

rharshberger

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Good Luck Manny, personal experience proved to me that military service is a life defining change. This will be the toughest event in your life so far, but also the most rewarding. As others have stated the military is a band of brothers, even today 20 years after leaving the service there are still friends I served with that we keep in touch, its impossible to work that closely with individuals upon who you depend on to "get your back" and they expect the same and not develop deep friendships.
 

SMR

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Many of us have a "greater calling in life" I did and also enlisted and have never regretted it.

The United States military has the unique ability to define brotherhood (sisterhood), not in words, but in actions. Every day, those men and women are challenged and are sometimes put into situations where the camaraderie builds itself, and the men and women are able build each other. The uniform only lays the foundation for what brings these select, and exceptional, men and women together; it is the call to duty, the ideals, and the shared title of being an American and believing in what that means, that truly binds the servicemen and women together, across all five branches.

The choices that are often faced, especially in times of conflict where many are positioned abroad and in dangerous situations, sometimes are as difficult as life or death, and the brotherhood that embraces, is instilled in, and propagated among the U.S. armed forces, makes the choice between yourself or another natural: another. There is no greater rapport, than in that shared amongst the service members.
Well stated. Manny, my brother - my son - my friend... you be careful out there. There will be defining moments, and we all look forward to hearing them from you personally, in chairs on the deck around the tree in Tim's back yard, after a day of flying rockets at the next local event we have the good fortune to share with you. We love you, buddy. Remember us out there in the wild.

Sather

"It's the Military, not the politicians, that ensure our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It's the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag."
 

fyrwrxz

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Go get em Manny! I enjoyed our time on TRF-come back to us and tell us of your adventures
 

Peartree

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Good luck Manny. One of my sons just finished his Advanced training in the Marine Corps and is on his way to Camp Lejeune, NC. Our other son is in the ROTC program (Army) at Ohio University. My brother went to boot camp at Ft. Leonardwood, MO, years later I went to Ft. Dix. Hang in there. Do as you're told. You'll do fine.
 

JoeG

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I ate pizza with Manny and Adrian at MidWest Power one year. I think Manny was just eighteen years old. I had not met either of these guys before so I just sat and listened. Manny had just gotten his L3 and already he was planning his next project with such enthusiasm that it was refreshing. Particularly with all the negativity we hear these days about our youth. Manny has a lot on the ball and will do well at whatever he puts his mind to.

I too went into the Army back in 1968. My Father gave me some sage advice. During training, don't be the best or worst at anything. Stay somewhere in the pack. People who stand out, good or bad, seem to get the attention. Once they know your name then you get picked for lots of extra stuff. At least that's the way it was back then. After training, both Basic and AIT, is the time to shine.

Good luck and be safe.
 

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Good Luck Manny, Check 6 & GOD Bless You!
 

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Good luck Manny. Take care of yourself and stay safe. Thanks for your service. Greg Olson
 

SS/EA 6BBL 71 Cuda

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Sent the little rascal a card a while back (pink envelope and Hello Kitty stickers all over it) :rolleyes: and, haven't heard anything back.

That might be good though.

Manny, if your out there checking in let us know how your doing...

The one thing i realized more having served eight years in the Air Force was that i have NEVER been able to look at the American Flag flying on a pole the same way i did before as a child.
I consider ALL honorably served veterans to be my brothers and, sisters no matter whether they chose the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or yes the Air Force as i did.

The American Flag does not fly because of the wind, it is being pushed by the unheard voices of every man and, woman who ever died serving under her.

On American ground...
In South America...
In Europe...
In the South Pacific...
In Northern Africa...
In Southeast Asia...
The Middle East...:sigh:

Take care my friend-
 
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ChuckH

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Here is a pic from last weekend. Manny has completed basic training and has 6 more weeks of tank training before the official graduation, then he will be stationed at Ft Stewart.

17016963_10212538303718922_4102050503988439689_o.jpg
 

djs

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I like the idea of "6 weeks of tank training"

I imagine classes like:
Driving over things
Advanced Driving over things
Blowing **** up
Interpersonal skills 101 aka. "oh yeah?! well, I have a tank!"
That wall is in my way- what should I do?
etc.
 

mad4hws

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Here is a pic from last weekend. Manny has completed basic training and has 6 more weeks of tank training before the official graduation, then he will be stationed at Ft Stewart.

View attachment 314238
I spent 3 years at Fort Stewart when I was enlisted..... wait, let me rephrase. I was stationed at Ft. Stewart for three years. I didn't actually spend that much time there considering all of the deployments. It's the biggest military reservation this side of the Mississippi. Lots of room for training and maneuvers. I was introduced to Chiggers and Water Moccasins while stationed there... I survived though - and he will as well. Congrats.
 

SS/EA 6BBL 71 Cuda

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Here is a pic from last weekend. Manny has completed basic training and has 6 more weeks of tank training before the official graduation, then he will be stationed at Ft Stewart.

View attachment 314238
OH! So he's talking to YOU...

Not "Uncle Gus"....

"Chuck, he sent me a PINK ENVELOPE with Hello Kitty stickers all over it!" :surprised: "My peers laughed me out of Mail Call that day..."
-"I had to hide in the Kitchen washing dishes for one week...because of Gus!"

Manny? We miss you dude. Take care!
 
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