What Did You Do During the War?
By Jeff Hunt
Mt. Pleasant News, Friday, January 30, 2009
Richard Lindy Chrisinger was attending college at Iowa State University in 1947. It was there that he caught wind of a program that would allow him to enter the Air Force after school.
"They had put out a special program for 17 and 18-year-olds," Chrisinger said. "If you enlisted in the Reserves for six years you would have only one year of active duty after that. That was their way of getting ready for WWIII."
WWIII was apparently just around the corner. Chrisinger said the Russians and Chinese were making sounds of war and the United States was preparing for it.
"I knew if there was going to be war I was going to be military," Chrisinger said. "If I could be guaranteed that I was going to be Air Force that was going to be the best year of my life. It was a no-brainer. I come from an Air Force family. I was known by my middle name, Lindy. My first name is Richard, after Admiral Richard Bird."
Chrisinger said when the opportunity came up, he took it.
"I would serve one-year active duty and I would be branded Army Air Force," Chrisinger said. The Army Air Force became the United States Air Force. But I was put in the Air Force of the United States.
Chrisinger was commissioned in 1952 as a second lieutenant. He said he has been a Reservist ever since.
"By that time we had first lieutenants and second lieutenants coming out of our ears coming from Korea," Chrisinger said. "And they decided that if you had been on active duty prior they didn't want you to go on active duty as a second lieutenant. You've been one and you know what it's all about but we sure don't need another second lieutenant. So I ended up being a lifetime Reservist."
Military life was in Chrisinger's blood. His brother had been a cadet during WWII and his father was an aviation enthusiast since WWI.
"My dad's two grandfathers fought in the Civil War," Chrisinger said. "One fought at Vicksburg the same day the other fought at High Water Mark at Gettysburg. Those were big days. Those were days that saved Lincoln's butt."
In a press release it was announced that Chrisinger, now a retired colonel and a 49-year veteran serving as a United States Air Force Academy Admissions Liaison Officer, was honored with the Admissions Liaison Officer Lifetime Achievement Award at the Air Force Academy's Annual Liaison Officer Directors Awards Banquet held recently.
As one of over 1,600 liaison officers world-wide, Chrisinger spoke to thousands of students, parents, and educators throughout the state of Iowa about education and commissioning opportunities at the United States Air Force Academy and in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, driving over 50,000 miles and spending more that $25,000 in personal funds in support of his 100 assigned schools. He served in various positions supporting liaison officer activities to include the Parents Club Representative, Congressional Liaison Officer, and Grass Roots Program Coordinator.
His counsel and mentorship to more than 5,000 students resulted in over 50 Air Force Academy appointments and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship recipients. Annually, Colonel Chrisinger dons his Air Force uniform to participate in the annual Winfield, Iowa Memorial Day cemetery ceremony by reading the names of the "honored dead." Additionally, Chrisinger was also recognized as the 1978 Outstanding Admissions Liaison Officer of the Nation.
The distinctive and outstanding achievements of Chrisinger mirror his lifelong commitment to the youth of America.