Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 44

By | December 17, 2023

[December 17, 2023]  The firetruck went screaming down the street with six or seven young men hanging onto the sides of the truck with one hand, holding their fireman’s helmets in place with the other, as they raced to put out a kitchen fire near my house.  I was starstruck at the sight of such a fine display of courage.  Firefighting is what I wanted to do when I grew up; it sure was exciting, and those men were admired in town.  My Dad was one of a dozen local men trained on the one fire engine apparatus our small town had available.  I still have a photo of me standing on that bright red truck, holding my Dad’s hand, the truck gleaming bright red in the sunlight.  The fire engine was a darling; the townsfolk were proud of her, and the volunteers who handled her expertly were courageous.  It was expected to refer to large pieces of equipment as “her,” an old tradition recognizing its value and need for protection.  That made me want to be a firefighter and have fun riding on her side with these men.  A few years later, that would change.

I was 10 or 11 when my brother and I started watching a weekly ABC network television show, “Combat!”  This show was a black-and-white TV series about a squad of American soldiers fighting the Germans in World War 2.  My brother and I were glued to the TV set on Tuesdays, but during the school year, we were limited to one 30-minute show only after homework was done and as long as the show we wanted was over before bedtime.  Also, our Dad didn’t want our shows to interfere with the nightly ABC News hour at 9 PM.  I never had homework on Tuesdays; at least that’s what I told my Mom.  By this time, we had already seen three war movies, 12 O’Clock High (1949), Gung-ho (1943), and Sergeant York (1941); which were shocking and thrilling to me at the same time.  I also listened to several men in town talk about that war, like my “girlfriend’s” dad since he’d been in the Pacific Theater of war.  These shows and talking with our town’s combat vets sparked something in me, although I was not exactly sure what that feeling was.  I started to change my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Now, I wanted to be in the military.  Our friends, my brother Philip and me, could be found running around any day of the week with a wooden stick called a submachine gun because it was cool and on automatic, ratta-tat-tat, ratta-tat-tat.  Cool!

I wanted to be a real “Army man” for many reasons.  Also, my Uncle DJ was a WW2 combat Vet, and he told me some scary, knee-knocking, hard-to-believe stories that I could never forget.  He was a big, fat man – my aunt, his wife was super skinny – but I didn’t see him that way.  To me, he was a hero; in my mind, he was wearing army fatigues, a helmet, and army boots, and he was carrying a rifle as he told these stories.  All these Vets were heroes.  One day, I talked to my Mom about one story that a local Vet told me, and she swatted me in the butt for telling lies.  What?  I wasn’t lying.  Their stories, plus television, plus movies, plus a strange attraction to these men had altogether convinced me to be one of them.  I had no idea my desires would come true ten years later and make it a 40-year career.  The decision of what I wanted to be when I grew up would change many times.  In High School, I wanted to be a scientist, maybe an engineer, chemist, or geologist.  I never lost my love of firefighters and army combat soldiers.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

35 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 44

  1. Al Centro

    Another beautiful letter to Gen. Doug Satterfield’s granddaughter. And, better, there is more to come.

  2. Jeff Blackwater

    Gen. Satterfield, you sure know how to write letters. Your granddaughter would be proud.

  3. Darryl Satterly

    This is only part of Gen. Satterfield’s journey from childhood to us army general. He will be writing more about it and I look forward to reading more. ✌

  4. Oakie from OK

    Gen. Satterfield has done us a great favor by hinting what it took for him to grow up. Some will say he lived a “priviledged” life. He will agree and says why. He says that his family was rich because their home had doors and windows, unlike the poor (he grew up in Louisiana). His letters tell tells of his challenges and his mental state. He is humble and honest about being physically and often mentally weak and how that weakness cost him in so many ways. One of those was that he had to learn the hard way rather than from the mistakes of others. His goal is to teach people to learn from others and not have to experience the tough times he went thru.

    1. Tony B. Custer

      Hi Oakie, I’m not so sure that Gen. Satterfield is telling us not to learn the hard way but in ways that lessons of reality should be learned good and never forgotten.

  5. Eddie Gilliam

    Great job my friend. Our career is like you said General is often determined by our role model or watch we see on tv. So that beings said. We need to insure we as adults don’t create bad images in front of our kids both in front of them or TV; movies. We have the keys to their minds at early age.
    Solomon the son of David. David was an awesome role model for his son. David character never changed to create a bad image before his son.
    Solomon because of his dad David later in life was known as the wisest man in the world that in the Bible. He wrote Proverbs as book of wisdom. He wrote Songs of Solomon, a love story. So men as a side bar. If you want to blow your wife or girlfriend mind read the book.

    1. Pastor John

      Continue to pray for our military and first responders and I do this daily. It is an honor to do so. 🙏

  6. DaveV

    By this time, we had already seen three war movies, 12 O’Clock High (1949), Gung-ho (1943), and Sergeant York (1941); which were shocking and thrilling to me at the same time. \………
    THese are three of my favorite old movies.

    1. Danny Burkholder

      Gibbie, thanks for the compliment for Gen. Satterfield. I am sure he reads it and I will thank you for him. I’ve been a regular reader and also commentator on this site for several years and I have found that I learn every day when reading it. I also got a copy of his last book “55 Rules for a Good Life” and that book was one of the very best that made an immediate impact on me.

  7. Adolf Menschner

    Just a quick note to say “Merry Christmas” to everyone here. I hope also that you spend time with family if you can. Many of our military, police, and medical personnel will not be able to do so. Pray for them, always. 🙏🙏🙏🙏 This is what we can do and take the time to thank them, when you see them.

  8. Max Foster

    I know that there are folks here that recommend you put these “letters to my granddaughter” into a book, like you did twice before. I’m not so sure that will work out. What will work, IMHO, is for you to tie these childhood experiences together. “Connect the dots” as you say to your thinking that made you so successful in the army. Now, that has potential that can sell. We all want that. We all pine for the time we can figure out how to be good in society and succeed at our jobs and family. Yep, tie them together for us, and that is what makes us truly interested in your books.

    1. Forrest Gump

      Always nailing it, Max. Appreciate your commentary and thinking. 😁

      1. Lady Hawk

        Yessir, got that right. Love this blog and esp. Gen. Satterfield’s letters to his granddaughter. I wonder, however, if younger people are ingterested in these letters. I’d like some input on that. Older folks, YEP. Younger folks, UNKNOWN. Let me know.

  9. Melissa Jackson

    Combat! …. my favorite show as a kid too.
    “I was 10 or 11 when my brother and I started watching a weekly ABC network television show, “Combat!” This show was a black-and-white TV series about a squad of American soldiers fighting the Germans in World War 2. ” — Gen. Doug Satterfield is at his best with this “letter.”

    1. Kerry

      Nothing like a little common sense as the little boy Doug Satterfield figured out that adopting lots of responsibility paid off in cash and respect. Many people today, esp, Millennials and Gen Z’ers demand respect but they haven’t earned it. I find this a terrible trend.

        1. Bryan Z. Lee

          The punishment will continue until you start to love it. hahahahahhaaha

      1. Marx and Groucho

        That is why I keep coming back to this blog and reading these letters. Best series yet!!!!!

  10. JT Patterson

    Wow, number 44. I can’t wait for the next 44+.
    For those new here, now is the time to get copies of Gen. Satterfield’s two books. They are inexpensive and will change your life.
    “55 Rules for a Good Life”
    “Our Longest Year in Iraq”
    — both on Amazon.

  11. J-Mug

    New here at your blog, sir, and enjoy it. I became interested in these letters and me and my family are all reading them. Thank you sir for telling us the story of your boyhood and the connection between that and your advancement in the us army. Well done!!

      1. Dead Pool Guy

        Sir, always a pleasure to see that you are reading our comments. 😎😎😎😎😎😎

    1. Winston

      Yes, welcome JMug. You will find these pages very helpful. As JT noted above, get a copy of Gen. Satterfield’s books and learn alot. That will help set you free.


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