Like father, like son
CARRYING ON A FAMILY TRADITION Jamie Bunyard stands in his office at the Mississippi Air National Guard beside his father, George. Jamie was named fire chief at the Meridian base in January the same position his father held at Whiteman Air Force Base more than 25 years ago. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
June 20, 2004
The lives of Jamie Bunyard and his father, George, have a lot of parallels.
Jamie enlisted in the military at age 19, his father was 18 when he signed up. Both say they never thought about a military career until the moment they walked into the recruiter's office.
And now more than 25 years since George retired from the U.S. Air Force as a technical sergeant, and from the position of fire chief, his son holds that same position at the Mississippi Air National Guard 186th Air Refueling Wing. As a master sergeant, Jamie even outranks his father.
Today, the day to honor fathers, Jamie and George say they are looking forward to only one thing: "Just being at home with my family."
The tradition of military service started with George's father, Arthur, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Arthur died in 1972.
George, 65, said his father encouraged him to join the military.
George served two terms in Korea and retired in 1977 from a 20-year military career. He now works for General Motors in Shreveport, La.
George and his wife, Sandra, have been married 38 years. Together, they have another son, Joel Michael Bunyard, and a daughter, Sonya Ratcliff. George has a daughter from his first marriage, Denise Spears, whose son, Jamie Morphis, is currently serving in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq.
Both George and Jamie said they believe the war in Iraq was necessary.
Jamie: "I think we're doing the right thing and whatever we need to do to support it should be done."
Like father, like son
George says his son was outgoing and inquisitive as a child.
Jamie, 31, is married. He and his wife, Heather, have two children: Branson, 3, and Gracie, 6 months.
Jamie has served as fire chief of the Mississippi Air National Guard 186th Air Refueling Wing since January and been a member of the unit for more than 13 years. He served in Kuwait for several months in 2002.
Jamie was born at Ellisworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
Like his father before him, Jamie said he would encourage his children to join the military if they were interested: "The military teaches you good things that you can apply to everyday life, like discipline."
Now that Jamie is an adult, George describes his son as a "good man."
And there's one simple reason why Jamie is proud of his father: "He was just always there for us."