H. Rick Goff
I Lost A Friend
I was sitting on the patio doing what I normally do on a lazy summer afternoon when my wife gave me the news. An old friend had passed away in his sleep due to Covid. I won't dishonor his memory and say we were close friends because we had not communicated in years. Matter of fact, I can't remember the last time we actually talked or saw each other. But we served together during our first assignment in the Air Force and were seasonal friends. The friends that were close during a season in our lives and as life moved us on to a new season, we lost contact and mainly communicated via our network of mutual friends. As a member of the exclusive club of military officers you are never more than three degrees removed from knowing somebody that served somewhere with somebody you know. There are many things I enjoyed and appreciated about serving in the Air Force, but the lifelong friendships are by far my best and most cherished take away!
My memories of my friend were during the early days of our Air Force careers when we were all "wet behind the ears" and didn't know what we didn't know. We were blessed to have great mentors during that first assignment, great Black officers who took the time to teach us what we "really" needed to know to have successful careers in the Air Force. They were challenging but fun times, full of newness and the excitement of "figuring it out". We were all just out of college and were still learning how to manage our checkbooks, yet we had made a commitment to serve our country to the best of our abilities. We didn't know where the ride was going to take us, but we knew the future held much excitement and adventure. Many of us made the Air Force a career and the friendships have followed us from one season of life to the next!
Life places many people in our path and some only for a brief season. The brief season I shared with my friend was special and is a part of my completeness. I know my friend lived his life to the fullest and in the process enriched the many lives he touched. Rest in Peace my friend, Joseph "Joe" Means, Colonel, USAF, (Ret) and thanks for the memories!