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the website of john l. neel  www.neel505.com

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about  Self Portrait, August, 2019

"An autobiography usually reveals nothing bad about the author except his memory." ~ Franklin P. Jones

OK, sports fans.  Here are a few things you should know about me.

I'm an Alabamian, born and raised.  I grew up in the Wahoma section of Birmingham, attending Kennedy grammar school and Woodlawn high school.  I'm a "middle kid," not the smartest, but certainly the best-looking of three brothers.  Just kidding, I'm smarter than them too.

I'm a huge Auburn football fan.  War damn Eagle!  I watch a little tennis.  My players are Simona and Roger. That's it...not a big one on sports.

I served in the Army for twenty-four years, PVT to Sergeant Major, mostly in the 82nd Airborne's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment as infantryman and scout.  I am a master parachutist.

My deployments were to Grenada, JTF-6 on the New Mexico border, Panama for the Cuban refugee crisis, and KFOR-4 Kosovo.  I have trained in almost every state in the Union, Canada, Panama, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Holland, France, Cyprus, Oman.  I was assigned to NATO in Izmir Turkey three times and consider Turkiye a second home.  My Turkish is şōyle bōyle.

I was posted on Her Majesty's Service for two years in the 1st Battalion of the British Parachute Regiment.  I often talk in The Queen's English with a southern accent.  I call my friends "Mate."

I'm a graduate of Class 47 of the U. S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (hated every minute of it), after which, I was the ROTC Sergeant Major at Virginia Military Institute (VMI).

I retired from the Army on 6 September 2001 (my timing always sucked) and worked for sixteen-and-a-half years at VMI as the Corps and Institute Sergeant Major.  After forty-one years in uniform, I retired completely on 1 February 2018.

Career Timeline

I am married to a beautiful Birmingham girl, have two wonderful kids (who married great partners), two grandchildren, and two grand-dogs.

Now that I am retired, I am keeping busy with my cameras, my guitar, my telescope, my car, my bird book, traveling, and visiting battlefields.

I double-space between sentences, use Windows and Android, abbreviate rank the Army way, and conjugate "plead" as plead, pled, pled...which is, of course, correct.  I detest politics and politicians.  I don't believe in god, but it is totally fine with me if you do.  I'm an Earth-loving, Mustang driving, bird-watching, gun-toting, radically moderate proud American.

Pleased to meet you.


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