A library of honor
By 1st Lt Benjamin Aronson, 15th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 30, 2021
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
The son of an Air Force pararescueman who served during the Vietnam War found a way to share the stories of his father’s and of others as well.
Like his father, Paul Duit joined the Air Force, is now a chief master sergeant at Pacific Air Forces, and most recently created a library honoring his father.
Paul’s father, Robert Duit, entered the Air Force in 1967 and served for three years in Vietnam.
While stationed in Thailand, Robert met his wife, Lamiad. Paul came along a few years later.
“I went on a mission as a PJ and got home and my boy asked my wife, ‘Who is that man?’ And I realized I had to change jobs,” said Robert, who afterward switched to the supply careerfield.
While growing up, Paul was not aware of what his father did in the Air Force nor what he trained for. It was not until later when his father began telling his stories that Paul realized the significance of his service.
“There was a lake by Altus [Oklahoma] and a boy was swimming when he started drowning and the dad went out and started drowning too,” siad Paul. “My dad ran out and grabbed both of them and started doing CPR and I just thought that’s what parents do. I didn’t know it was a PJ thing.”
After the Air Force, Robert began to read more and more, and books became common at home.
“I remember growing up being surrounded by books,” said Paul. “My father had a collection of books, some of which were fiction about patriotic heroes and their adventures.
‘It wasn’t until years later that I realized my father was just like the people in the books I read.”
With this in mind, Paul settled on a lending library as a perfect way to honor his father.
Paul waited until his father visited Hawaii to reveal the library during a tour of PACAF Headquarters.
“I felt very humbled,” said Robert. “It made me want to cry, and even after I left it still makes me very emotional thinking about it.”
The lending library can be found just beyond the PACAF cafeteria doors where members can borrow and donate books, while learning about Robert’s life.