Today’s veteran: Bill Cozine, 70
Born: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Service: Army National Guard, six years
Rank: Specialist 4
Recognitions: National Defense Service Medal
Duty stations: Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Stewart; Brunswick
His story: Bill Cozine planned to follow his family legacy and enlist in the Navy after he graduated high school.
His father, a Navy veteran, let Cozine choose his path before he enlisted in the military. He helped Cozine get into physical shape, running with him before his enlistment. His father also advised him not to volunteer for anything, a piece of advice many veterans give to their children.
Cozine chose to enlist in the Army National Guard to stay closer to his girlfriend. The unit based in Brunswick was an artillery unit, so there were only a limited number of jobs he could be trained to perform.
“I really didn’t have a choice of jobs because that’s what the unit did,” he said.
Cozine was assigned to an ammunition battery after basic training at Fort Campbell, Ky., and advanced training at Fort Sill, Okla.
At 18 years old, Cozine said the training, which included camping in the woods and firing some of the artillery weapons, was lots of fun.
“I had the military thing down because of my dad,” he said. “I was duty-oriented, anyway.”
Part of his training included learning to drive a 10-ton truck to haul the artillery his unit trained with.
Other than his monthly meetings and two-weeks of training each year, Cozine said his unit was only called to duty one time in the late 1960s to respond to riots in Augusta.
Most of the time, Cozine said he spent his time waiting for orders to move his artillery.
“It was hurry up and wait for everything,” he said.
Military service helped him grow up and prepare him for his continued service in the Civil Air Patrol.
He got his pilot’s license after he was discharged from the Army National Guard and has served in the Glynn County Civil Air Patrol the past 16 years.
“I’ve always loved airplanes. I still had the need to serve,” he said.
The Civil Air Patrol until in Brunswick earned the National Lifesaving Award for its role in rescuing the passengers aboard a capsized boat.
“It was a real surprise,” Cozine said of the award.
Our Veterans runs Wednesdays. Contact Gordon Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 912-464-7655 to suggest a veteran for a column.