Sen. Martha McSally buys retired Air Force colonel a new uniform so he can swear son into Navy
June 20, 2019
Luse said he hopes to one day thank McSally in person for her gift. He might get the chance at Arturo’s swearing-in, which likely will happen in Phoenix this August. McSally told The Republic she’ll attend if her schedule allows.
Retired Air Force Col. Charlie Luse, a Casa Grande resident, needed a new uniform for his son's swearing-in to the Navy. Sen. Martha McSally bought him one. Jeannette Hinkle, Arizona Republic
A button had popped off retired Air Force Col. Charlie Luse’s dress uniform.
The material was outdated, a shade lighter than the uniforms of today. The shoes he needed were long gone.
Luse, 85, never thought its condition would matter, until a Navy recruiter knocked on his son Arturo Luse’s door.
When Luse learned Arturo, 19, had decided to enlist, he filled out a form requesting to conduct his son’s swearing-in ceremony and was approved. But Luse couldn’t read the oath in civilian clothes. He needed a new uniform.
Luse posted on the neighborhood-based social network Nextdoor from his home in Casa Grande, hoping a fellow Air Force officer could lend or sell him the Class A dress uniform he needed.
Seamstresses responded, offering to alter his old uniform, but Luse told them, jokingly, that the uniform had shrunk beyond alteration. He’d gained some weight since retiring from the Air Force in 1982.
Then Luse opened his email inbox to a message informing him that Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., had seen an article about his predicament in the Casa Grande Dispatch and wanted to buy the fellow retired Air Force colonel a new uniform.
McSally, a retired Air Force combat pilot, told The Arizona Republic she was happy to dip into the money she sets aside for good causes to buy the uniform, which cost about $450. The connection between service members transcends period or place of service, she added.
“It’s difficult to describe, but we know it on a deep and personal level,” McSally said.
Luse said he was thankful for McSally’s gesture as a member of what he calls the greatest fraternity in the world.
“We're both retired colonels. We're both pilots. We both went to the Air War College. We both had very similar Air Force careers, except she's in politics and I'm not,” said Luse, whose Air Force career stretched from 1956 to 1982 and took him everywhere from Greece to Thailand, where, as an officer, he scheduled bombings during the Vietnam War.
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