Veteran of the Month: Dave MacPherson

By guest Duane Donald
“I’m smarter than most dogs,” he said.
“All dogs?” “No…just most.”
And such is the start of a conversation with Dave MacPherson. I’ve known Dave since 2010 and I do not recall more than one or two conversations during that time where his tilted brand of humor wasn’t the central feature.
Dave MacPherson came to Milan in 2006. So what does a man do with no job, no prospects? Why start a newspaper of course. Dave started the Discover Milan News in 2006 and ran it until the last edition in 2012.
I worked on his paper for the last two years of its run. If there was a person left in Milan we didn’t interview I don’t know how we missed them. Dave and I ran from business to business and event to event interviewing people and taking pictures of all that was going on in town. It was a lot of fun…most days. Was Dave an easy man to work with, well if you knew him at all you’d know the answer to that…hell no he wasn’t easy to work with. But we knew how to have a few laughs and how to tell a story.
But a long time before Dave ever made it to Milan; beginning back in 1975 Dave MacPherson began his military career with basic training where about a million other young soldiers have passed, Ft. Knox Kentucky. From there he moved to Ft. Gordon Georgia where he began schooling to become an Aircraft Navigation Equipment Repairman. First semester was just to learn the designation.
After long grueling hours of testing and deep study, they slapped a specialist title on him and shipped him right back to Kentucky. This time he went to Ft. Campbell where they put him to work on – you guessed it,
the very navigations equipment they trained him to repair. There went the next three years of his life.
While at Ft. Campbell, a NATO operation called Reforger-79 (for:REturn of FORces to GERmany) came up and the military packed up Dave’s entire company (him included) and shipped them all over to Germany for the next 17-weeks.
Dave was repairing navigation equipment . While he was there Dave recalled the vicious and brutal attack of…dive-bombing bees. Set a pop down for even a minute, and bees would dive bomb the thing and go for a swim. Then, if the soldier wasn’t paying attention and took a drink said soldier got stung right in the mouth.
He did tell me the people of Germany were incredibly kind and friendly during his stay.
But all too soon, Reforger was over and they shipped him right back to Ft. Campbell to finish out his first tour in the Army until 1978.
But that wasn’t enough for ol’ Dave, he re-upped for another go-around.
So they sent him right back down to Ft. Gordon Georgia this time to learn the art of Satellite Ground Station Repair. If he thought navigation equipment was hard to learn about, it was twice as grueling learning to
repair satellite ground stations. The military shipped him off halfway across the globe to Daegu, South Korea…in the southern part of the country inland about fifty miles from the coast.
Dave and his team were stationed at the ground satellite station and did not get to live with the rest of his company. Though he was licensed to drive all the base vehicles, he ended up walking most places he went. While there he did climb a mountain or two, but these mountains had stairs. So he’d climb them just to have a look around then back down again.
While he was in Korea, in Oct. 1979, the President of South Korea, Park Chung-hee was assassinated. His commander told the company, their satellite station would likely be a first target if war broke out. Tensions were high for quite a while after that.
Once his tour in Korea was over, Dave ended back up at Ft. Gordon Georgia to finish out his life as a military man. At that point he was in charge of policing grounds and equipment and getting on anyone who screwed something up.
Dave was honorably discharged with the rank of Specialist E5.
Dave thinks back fondly of…well much of his military career. But like so many soldiers, he’d had his fill and came home. So we salute you Sgt. Mac and thank him for his service, as we do all those strong-willed men and women that serve our country then…and now.

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