Greg Kendrick – A fighter for freedom
Published 5:08 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023
As the nation celebrates and honors veterans Saturday, Veterans Day gives citizens the opportunity to understand situations military men and women have experienced that the majority of citizens will never have to face. Greenville’s own Greg Kendrick is one such man who served in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years and completed four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kendrick explained it was very hard to leave his wife and two children behind during deployment.
“I watched my daughter take her first steps on a video,” Kendrick said. “It’s very hard on the family back home as well. My wife was incredible at taking care of the kids while I was gone. The spouses and children don’t usually get enough recognition for what they endure.”
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Kendrick’s wife Heather, a Greenville native, said life during deployment was challenging.
“Our children were small during Greg’s deployments,” Heather said. “It was really challenging handling everything at home and only being able to talk to Greg once a week for a short period of time. I’m so thankful that we had great support from our family, friends and community.”
Kendrick joined the Air Force in 1989 and began his service as an air traffic controller. He attended college while serving and earned a commission as Second Lieutenant in 1995, retiring in 2014 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Kendrick primarily worked in combat communications, and returned to the Air Force after retirement as a federal employee. He is currently a senior program manager.
Kendrick has been a member of the American Legion for three years, and said for any students and seniors thinking of joining the military to reach out to the American Legion to speak openly and honestly with veterans about life in the military.
“I’ll talk to anyone and tell them honestly the good and the bad,” Kendrick said. “I had some really good assignments, and I had some really not so good assignments. I never expected to deploy as many times as I did, and one regret I have is missing a couple of years of my kids’ early lives. But other than that, it has been great.”
According to Kendrick, fewer men and women join the military now than before, a trend he attributes to a decline in patriotism.
“The reason, I believe, is because patriotism is dying in the United States, and that is sad and highly disappointing,” Kendrick said. “Growing up, I was always taught to love your country. Every time they play the American ‘National Anthem,’ I still get chills and swell with pride. I’m proud to stand for the flag, because it does stand for freedom.”
Kendrick noted that these acts of respect are not really being taught anymore to younger generations, and said people seem to be forgetting the price that others have paid for the freedoms that are enjoyed in the United States.
Supporting the American Legion post in Butler County is one way to help encourage veterans, Kendrick said.
“It’s an awesome group of folks that get together,” Kendrick said. “Some people are under the misconception that the American Legion is for people who have retired from the military, but it’s for any veteran. Whether you did one year or you did 30 years, you’re considered a veteran. It’s kind of hard to explain what we have gone through unless you’ve experienced it yourself, and the American Legion is here to talk with and help these veterans through whatever they are facing.”
The American Legion hosts a veteran meet-and-greet every Wednesday at Beeland Park Building from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The Legion speaks about benefits, opportunities, claims, and support. Refreshments will be served. For more information contact Gloria Owens at 334-368-0540.