From the Editor: On shared disciplines of military service and farming

Farmer Bobby Vaughan, photographed on Tuesday, Nov. 7, in Back Bay, served in the Army. He discussed how military service imparted discipline that carries over into civilian life, including farming. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

PUNGO — Bobby Vaughan and I spoke well before Veterans Day, when I was working on a story that involved the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s efforts to build strong roots in Virginia, connecting veterans to agriculture.

I’d hoped to include some voices from Virginia Beach in that story, but the truth is the coalition hasn’t really established firm connections here. I hope it will. It makes sense for Hampton Roads and our city.

But Vaughan is a well-known local farmer who serves as board president of the Virginia Beach Farm Bureau, among many accomplishments. His family has farmed in Princess Anne County for about 300 years. He also served in the Army in the late 1960s after being drafted during the Vietnam War, though he said he thankfully never saw combat.

He remembers leaving from the old courthouse, where he worked and would return, to head to Richmond, then on to the Army. He served in Germany as a battalion personnel management specialist, rising to the rank of sergeant before coming home.

We spoke about discipline learned in the armed forces. It carries over to civilian life, including farming. “It taught me how to apply myself,” he said, noting that he memorized regulations for his military duties, then did the same when he returned to the courthouse and took over the special taxes department.

“I guess it helped me to grow up, be a little more responsible,” Vaughan said. “It certainly taught me to get up early in the morning. It taught me some patience. …

“It teaches you discipline in terms of when it’s time to get a crop in, you don’t wait,” he said. “You get it done because there’s a window of opportunity that won’t wait.”

Vaughan said he was fortunate to serve where he did. He recalled hearing planes overhead and knowing where those people were headed. He used to say: Look, one of these days when I get to be 75, I’m going to look back on this and laugh like a fool.

“I made it, and I know a lot of good folks didn’t,” he said. “I have no complaints.”

He turns 75 in January.

A belated thanks to all who served. And thanks for reading.

© 2017 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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