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Oklahoma Military Academy

Cadet with flag reflection in his helmet.A Soldiers Story

Eulogy by Tim Gungoll for his father, Jim Gungoll, OMA Class of 1955

I want to focus on my father and try to distill what he believed was the message of his life. If I had to sum it up in four words, they would be: Never Abandon Your Post!

A person’s “post” in life can best be described as their chosen vocation, and their relationship to others in that vocation to persons to whom a duty is owed.

I believe my father developed this philosophy during his military training at the Oklahoma Military Academy. He learned that if even one person failed to hold the line and fulfill their duties, strategy would fail, and many others would suffer. Because of that he knew that any chosen course of action, whether it be marriage, fatherhood, politics, or the resolution of a conflict, strategy must be rock solid and grounded in right reason in accordance with nature.

My father was the type of person you wanted to have with you when confronted with difficult issues and problems. He is who you wanted in a war room, strategy session, or just go for a drive in the country to talk about life and the daily struggle of existence.

If you had to be in a foxhole with someone it would be him. Before he ever got into that foxhole, he followed a set of processes before he would have ever considered getting in.

First, he prayed for discernment to understand the task at hand to determine his duties.

Second, he educated himself on the problem or issue to determine how to best address it.

Third, he committed himself to the cause and would do everything possible so that he would have no regret. He would leave everything he had on the field, and he would know that he fought the good fight with faith and a good conscience.

Fourth, he set himself on the path begin to focus on the next task.  If he failed, he would lay down and bleed a while if necessary, until he could rise and fight again using the wisdom and understanding gained to begin the process again.

Fifth, whatever he learned in either success or failure, he would teach to others, so that others could take his place if he were not able to continue.

This is what my father meant when he refused to abandon his post. He used this phrase with me often. He refused to address problems without following these steps in preparation. This led him to adopt a solid set of principles that guided him throughout his life.