I grew up on a small ranch in a verdant upland valley in the Cascade Mountain range of Washington State. I worked beside my father who had been an NCO during WWII. I realize now that the lessons learned alongside Dad in no small way prepared me for the physical challenges and military discipline of West Point.
All plebes (freshmen) are required to study the history of West Point. This quickly impressed upon me that I was living and studying in a place of historical importance to the nation. I also understood that I would participate in the “history” of my era. Examples: I was on one of the last planes leaving Vietnam on March 29, 1973. We had worked hard to get our aviation assets returned to the US or transferred to the South Vietnamese Air Force and I left on the last day of our withdrawal — after paying severance pay to the local Vietnamese staff. Upon leaving active duty in 1975, I began a career in finance that included helping to start and grow the mortgage-securities market. Because of my work in those markets, I had a modest role in President Reagan’s Commission on Housing that included testifying on behalf of the mortgage industry at multiple Congressional hearings. I worked at the FDIC in the late 80s, closing banks and cleaning up the messes left by the S&L crisis. I did similar work for the agency during the most recent banking crisis of 2008. When I retired from the FDIC in 2018, I had been working on how to handle, “war-gaming”, problems that might arise in the failure of one of the nation’s major banks. And, I was at “Ground Zero” on 9-11. It seems that I was “on the ground” at some events of importance in our history.
Debra and I are the parents of seven children, all now grown. They have given us five grandchildren. Along with major rewards, there have been some challenges in this arena, also. I believe the strength and determination inculcated in us at school helped me tremendously in withstanding the challenges of work, family, life.
Now that I am retired, I spend time writing vignettes for my kids and grandkids about what I consider to be interesting moments in my life. And, I like to paint watercolors — usually landscapes – that illustrate some of these tales.
All in all, it has been a long and rewarding trip through some very interesting times.
- 9-11 – Observations from Lower Manhattan – 2001by Doug Johnson The day after the attack on September 11, 2001, I sat down and wrote to my family about what I had experienced. This is extracted from that long email. I tried to accurately record my thoughts and feelings, some of which may seem a … Read more