Honoring Our Local Veteran, Derel Schrock

As we say goodbye to the month of May, we want to remind our patients and friends to thank a military personnel or veteran today!

Derel holding his dog LuLu.  on November 2013 at the 50 year reunion of the Air Force Pilot training class.
Derel holding his dog LuLu. on November 2013 at the 50 year reunion of the Air Force Pilot training class.

May was Military Appreciation Month and our staff at Creative Edge wants to honor one of our favorite veterans (and longtime patient!), Derel Schrock for his selfless service for our country.

Derel Schrock is a retired United States Air Force Colonel. He served for over 30 years, during which he accumulated over 10,800 flight hours as a Command Pilot. He completed officer school, pilot training and aircraft training in C-124’s, C-141’s, C-9’s, C-7’s and KC-10’s. He’s been fortunate enough to travel to countries all over the world including Scotland, Iceland, Newfoundland, Germany, and the Soviet Union.

Derel received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Expeditionary Medal and the Defense Superior Service Medal among numerous other commendations. Read our interesting Q&A with Derel to learn more about his adventures during his time in the US Air Force!

 

How did you choose the branch you joined?

Well, I was in AF ROTC at OU and OSU , but I ended up graduating in 3 years without being able to finish ROTC. Later, in grad school, I got my draft notice, and I knew I was qualified to fly, so I just signed up and started officer school a month before the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the rest is history.

 

What was your favorite place you visited on leave?

Besides home on leave, Hong Kong on R&R, and all those other places on duty.

 

What was the best thing you got in a care package?

Never got a care package, but I did shame Pan Am, who began to deny me entry of an R&R airplane on the ground in Pleiku to josh with the “stewardesses” between flights. I wrote a complaint to Pan Am HQ, and a few days later, PA, in apology, sent in enough first class dinners for my squadron-mates, on a later flight.

 

Tell us about an interesting or memorable experience.

There have been so many that it would be difficult to choose, starting with Vietnam where I “really” learned to fly, mostly into short grass or dirt strips [the C-7 was a short-take-off-(&) land (STOL) aircraft], and it got me into many interesting Special Forces camps, very often at treetop level until “popping-up” and landing. Fun! The downside was that we also transported planefulls of body bags from Khe Sanh and Dong Ha, up close to the DMZ. After Viet, I began to haul flag-draped caskets of KIA (Killed in Action) from Viet to the US, very affecting and sobering experiences. Later, I got to fly POWs in Air Evac C-9s from their CA port to their various homes all over the US. And still later, I became a member of a base Honor Guard (as a colonel) in CO for presenting folded flags to the survivors. Nothing more fulfilling. Take your pick.

 

Would you want your children to serve in the military?

If I had ever had kids, I would definitely have favored their joining the military, and I would favor the draft today. The possibility of being drafted hanging over one’s head makes one more aware and disciplined about his life choices and serious about education and being responsible. Nowadays, we are seeing thousands of wasted/addicted lives of those who never had to grow up.

 

How did your military service shape the person you are now?

In innumerable ways. The AF changed me from a liberal academic into a patriotic conservative, and I found my home in the military. Even now, I am searching for WWII vets who served in France before V-E Day to make them aware that they are eligible for the French Legion of Honor. They’re hard to find, and they’re getting scarce, so if you know a possible candidate, please refer him/her to me

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