A special event took place this past Friday in the great state of Texas. My husband's oldest brother retired from the Air Force with 35 years of service under his belt! His family is a strong military family with parents who served in the Navy and five of their six children serving in the Navy and Air Force. The military careers of the children began when the eldest son (Paul) entered the Air Force in 1974 to become an aircraft maintenance technician. He eventually earned an associates degree and bachelors degree before entering Officer Training School and pinning on the officer rank of Second Lieutenant in September of 1984. My husband (Adam) was invited at that time to commission his brother as an officer. Adam had already entered the Air Force as an officer in 1982 and outranked his oldest brother. There has been many jokes about this over the years as Adam likes to refer to his elder brother as junior. At times they held the same rank at the same time. This made it interesting to call one another at work since Captain Bigelow was calling Captain Bigelow! The person on the other end of the phone would hang up thinking a joke was being played at their expense. Their professional paths crossed numerous times over the years but none better than the time Paul walked by Adam at the airport in London. They were both traveling for their jobs and neither knew the other was traveling to England. Adam was waiting for a shuttle to his hotel and there went Paul, walking right on by until Adam did a double take and yelled for Paul. Their jaws dropped as they were astonished to see one another in the middle of a busy overseas airport while they were both stationed state side!
For the retirement ceremony, Paul asked Adam to take part as the officiating officer. He figured it was only fitting since he was there for the officer commissioning back in 1984 that he also should be there for the retirement. This first photo shows Retired Lieutenant Colonel Adam Bigelow (left) presenting Lieutenant Colonel Paul Bigelow (right) his retirement certificate. The ceremony was held on the terrace at the Alamo.
In 2007 Paul was presented with orders to do a tour of duty in Baghdad. He had the option of retiring at that time but chose to go to Baghdad instead. While there, these American flags were flown over the American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Paul presented these to his brothers. From left to right brother Jon Bigelow retired Navy SEAL, Adam Bigelow retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, Paul, Michael Bigelow active duty Navy Chaplain (Lt Commander), Ray Bigelow retired Air Force Technical Sargent. The flag cases were made by Paul. Another furniture maker in the family!