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Examiner
  • Veteran Salute: Edward Humbel

  • Ed was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1954. His father was in the printing industry and his mother died when he was very young. His family moved around quite a bit to accommodate his father’s work.

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  • Ed was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1954. His father was in the printing industry and his mother died when he was very young. His family moved around quite a bit to accommodate his father’s work.
    Ed and three of his friends decided to join the Navy and go to Vietnam together. Ed never got to see those buddies again while in the service, but has reconnected with them again recently. Ed’s family was excited that he joined the Navy. He was assigned to the USS Detroit, a fast combat support ship. The ship supplied fuel and oil and gave provisions of food and ammunition. Ed’s job was in logistics and supplies.
    Switching gears
    After three years, Ed decided to get out of the service, use his G.I. Bill and attend college at Pennsylvania State University where he majored in sociology and family studies. He joined the reserves while he worked in warehouses and worked for a photography company. While in the reserves, he continued to his work in logistics and clerical work.
    After moving from job to job for a few years, Ed decided to re-enlist at Willow Grove Naval Air Station in Pennsylvania. His job there was acquiring parts for planes and ground support equipment that kept the planes running. It was stressful but Ed loved it. He took pride in doing his part to support operations. Ed worked there three years, and then applied to work with the SeaBees in Lenexa, Kan., at a temporary base, where he set up travel orders and worked in purchasing.
    Ed met and married his wife, Debbie, and they moved around to several bases and reserve centers. Ed took an assignment to board the Oliver Hazard Perry. The ship partnered with the Coast Guard and ran counter drug operations intercepting boats, capturing drug runners and turning them over to the Coast Guard. Ed and his family enjoyed living in Jacksonville, Fla., teaching his children how to fish and catch crabs and enjoy the beach.
    Civilian contractor
    Ed became a civilian government contractor and spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ed distinctly remembers the sounds of car bombings going off and won’t forget that sound. He lived in a hut the size of a small car garage and worked seven days a week. He was concerned for his safety, but he wore a Kevlar vest and helmet. The sirens would go off often and everyone would take cover. When Ed’s father became very ill, he decided to end his contract to come home.
    Ed now works with special education children teaching them life skills and helping them to find jobs. He enjoys his job very much.
    Peggy Sowders, a city of Independence staff member, compiles stories from veterans from around the area at the Truman Memorial Building. Contact her at psowders@indep.mo or 816-325-7979 if you are interested in helping a veteran tell his or her story.
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