BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Even amid the coronavirus, life celebrations still come and go. For Francis Herbert, 100 years has arrived. For exactly half of his life, Herbert dedicated his time to the United States Air Force. A veteran of World War II and the Vietnam War, Herbert had a decorated career, having received the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Herbert retired as a Chief Warrant Officer IV and remembers his time fondly.
“I was the last of the warrant officers of the Air Force,” Herbert said. “My last assignment was at Keesler where I was a training officer. After 30 years of the Air Force, I decided that was enough, and I got out. One night I ran into the commander of the air traffic control school there, and he asked me ‘why don’t you come back? You were in Vietnam, you understand the Vietnamese and we’re gonna start training Vietnamese officers, and so I ended up back for another 20 years."
The air traffic control business afforded him the ability to travel the world.
“I went everywhere from Greenland to Africa, France, Germany, everywhere. One of the good assignments that I had was as the liaison officer for the Moroccan government back in ’63. I had assignments all over the world and that was my life.” Herbert told WLOX.
It wasn’t work, Herbert said, that has been his secret to a long, healthy life.
“I had a good family and a dedicated wife who was willing to put up with me. I would take off on missions, and she had two daughters there because my son was in Vietnam with me, but she had two teenage daughters and there’s nothing more troublesome than teenage daughters," Herbert said.