Giving thanks – CWO Richard MacNair

Do I know of a Coast Guardsman who has touched my life? I don’t have to look any further than my parent’s front door. The Coast Guardsman who has touched my life is Chief Warrant Officer Richard Stanley MacNair, the man I am proud to call “father.” My father enlisted in the Coast Guard right out of high school in 1961 and retired in 1987.

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Through the Thanksgiving holiday, many Americans look forward to reuniting with family, watching football and of course feasting on turkey and pumpkin pie. But, Thanksgiving is more than good food and good games. It is a time to reflect on those who have made a difference in our lives and community. In this spirit of giving thanks, we reached out to our Facebook fans and asked them to share the story of a Coast Guard member who has touched their life. Today’s story shows the powerful bond between a father and his grateful son.

Chief Warrant Officer Richard MacNair in 1961, the year he enlisted. Photo courtesy of Sean MacNair.
Chief Warrant Officer Richard MacNair in 1961, the year he enlisted. Photo courtesy of Sean MacNair.

Written by Sean L. MacNair, son of retired Chief Warrant Officer Richard MacNair.

Do I know of a Coast Guardsman who has touched my life? I don’t have to look any further than my parent’s front door.

The Coast Guardsman who has touched my life is Chief Warrant Officer Richard Stanley MacNair, the man I am proud to call “father.”

My father enlisted in the Coast Guard right out of high school in 1961 and retired in 1987. During that time our family lived in several different states for stretches lasting as short as nine months and as long as four years. He served for a time on Coast Guard Cutter Midgett. He is proud of his military service, as well he should be.

As a child I couldn’t see past the next move. I didn’t understand why we couldn’t stay in the same place, at the same school, where I could see the same people year after year. It took me a long time to see that the skills the Coast Guard taught him – attention to detail, office skills, the importance of doing things right – were passed along to me by example.

Chief Warrant Officer Richard MacNair circa 1962 or 1964 when he was stationed in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Sean MacNair.
Chief Warrant Officer Richard MacNair circa 1962 or 1964 when he was stationed in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Sean MacNair.

In the fall of 2010, my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgery, staying in the hospital for a month to recuperate. My father didn’t ask himself what was the easy thing to do, he asked himself what was the right thing to do, and was by my mother’s side every day. Only a heavy ice storm held him back for one day.

Semper Paratus? Not a motto he repeated, a principle he lived.

My father had his own lengthy hospital stay this year, being away from home for two months. With my mother suddenly in need, the question wasn’t if I would be there for her, it was when I would be there.

My father set the example, and I could do no less but to follow his lead. It hurts me now to think that it took me so long to appreciate him. I don’t intend on making that mistake any more.

Stick with us throughout the week as we feature more stories by family and friends giving thanks to the servicemember in their life. We also encourage you to write your own notes of thanks to friends, acquaintances and even strangers who touched your life this year.

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