Our Member of the Month for September, 2021 is SSG Joshua Hanafin of Guyton, Georgia.
Sgt. Hanafin says: "For better or for worse, I am from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Such is what I tell most folk upon first meeting them and having to briskly answer that imminent question as to my origins. Furthermore, I am half-Japanese, half-Irish, and an only child. I was born at the beginning of 1974 in a Baltimore hospital, right across the street from the historic reformatory and orphanage of George Herman "Babe" Ruth's childhood years. My father always led me to believe that I was also born just down the road from that revered place of rest for none other than the American literary icon Edgar Allan Poe himself. Regardless of the calamity and mystery concerning the truth of his burial site (befitting the story of his life, really...), the simple reality of the matter is that his remains were originally buried many blocks away from the specific place of my birth. Yet, get this. The historical Baltimore error of his originally-indicated birthdate is truly my own birthday, while he actually was born the day before by only a matter of hours. Curiously enough... I do indeed play baseball (pitcher and left field), and I am most definitely an enthusiast of classic American literature, science fiction, mystery, horror, and even detective stories. Imagine that...
Anyroads, I did not remain in Baltimore for very long at all beyond my being a wee babe. As soon as my enlisted Regular Army veteran, Army National Guardsman, and Air Force R.O.T.C. cadet father completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in History at the nearby University of Maryland, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. From there began my life of moving around the country as well as the world every 2 to 3 years. The first language that I learned to speak was Japanese, since my mother brought me back to her family in Japan for over a year while my father dealt with his very first assignment fresh out of the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Training Center at Lowry Air Force Base (Denver, Colorado) - his mandatory and unaccompanied hardship tour to Cyprus. Upon completion of his duty requirements in that far edge of the Mediterranean Sea, our nuclear family was eventually reunited for the duration. Though my father's duty stations were colourful, geographically widespread, and many, he did his damnedest and succeeded in getting reassigned to various air bases thus scattered across the entire Japanese archipelago for my mother's sake. Thus, I was mostly raised in Japan and with the culturally diversifying as well as emotionally and intellectually structuring influences of my stern Japanese mother (of course, along with the omnipresent Japanese world at large beyond our household at the time).
Very closely to my father's retirement from the U.S. Air Force, I officially joined the U.S. Army in 1992 at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico. Roswell might be a truly minor "city" in the middle of nowhere. Yet, to quote the narrator's introduction for every episode of that Courage the Cowardly Dog series, "but creepy stuff happens in Nowhere" to be sure! Thus, Roswell is noted mostly for its close associations to the early-20th Century development of rocketry through Robert Hutchings Goddard (events and a man ironically tied to Massachusetts during that classically Lovecraftian window of time and point of interest to us), the wildly notorious and controversial 1947 sensation of U.F.O. and extraterrestrial significance, as well as the consequently ever-popular location for what would eventually become the International U.F.O. Museum and Research Center (cues The X-Files theme) from the ruins of Roswell's historic "Plains Theatre" which rather interestingly opened its doors for their very first time in 1946 (awesomely close proximity to that "Roswell incident" of note which would soon follow during this fledgling theatre's second year). By the by, Robert H. Goddard also happened to die in Baltimore, Maryland. Fancy that... 'Tis such a small world of wonders.
When my father saw fit to leave his service, my own lengthy military career and resumed process of again moving every 2 to 3 years began right there in Roswell, NM during mid-September of 1992. Such..."coincidences" as these never truly cease for me, not even for my honoured selection here as this "Member of the Month" for September 2021 of all months (and the plot only continues to thicken). Sure enough, I am still today a career soldier with a most atypical service record spanning the Army National Guards of New Mexico, California, and South Carolina as well as the Army Reserve and Regular Army - all without a single break in service for any reason. In a few weeks, I will have completed my 29th consecutive year of service to this "Total Army" - as they have been frequently calling it within the past decade. Again, I began my warrior's journey right there at the N.M.M.I. in 1992 as a cadet and then rather quickly as a commissioned officer of the Armor Branch (tanks, that is). After 9 years of being an Armor Officer, I volunteered myself down into the enlisted ranks of this same branch in order to jump right into the heat of action during Operation Iraqi Freedom I. I have remained a 19K Armor Crewman as a noncommissioned officer ever since... Though I have officially been a "tanker" throughout the entirety of my career, my own tracks of training and their yields of unique experience have weirdly taken me well away from the tank line into some extremely unusual directions and destinations for a Combat Arms soldier of any rank and status - including assignment to play trombone for an Infantry Division Band as a tanker! Since every other aspect of my being seems to be inherently designed for breaking all of the rules and violating all manners of boundaries, containments, and expectations (even without my will to actively do so), why should my career paths and progressions be any different - right...? It has all been quite a fascinating and dubiously wild ride for me, but in truth, I would never recommend it nor wish it upon anyone.
As for the myriad details which "make me tick" as a person, well... I will do my very best to faithfully summarise. After all, they are just as manifold and complex as I am. Military science, martial arts, pipes and pipe tobacco (including narghile or hookah pipes), natural history and science, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, world religions, metaphysics, divination, occult science, parapsychology, demonology, etymology, and languages are all examples of my various interests. My tastes for music range from Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century among the musical traditions of Western history; opera and musicals; computer or video game, television, and movie soundtracks and scores; Celtic; Irish folk and "rebel songs"; traditional Japanese; Gothic soundtracks; jazz; classic rock; 80's pop; heavy metal; and alternative rock among a broad scale. Horror, fantasy, science fiction, drama, comedy, and action (in television and movies) all represent my film preferences. Books of my particular fancy can easily be found among the history (all periods and subjects), world mythology, classical literature of the Western world, English and American literary classics, classical military treatises, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery stacks. My favourite sports to play (never watch) are baseball, softball, badminton, volleyball, racquetball, tennis, and even table tennis. Among my plethora of hobbies and favoured activities are music (performance by voice and numerous instruments as well as simple appreciation), theatre (performance and appreciation alike), fantasy role-playing games (especially Dungeons & Dragons - all old school TSR tabletop, pencil-and-paper versions from the late 1970's and early 1980's primarily), classic strategy games, war games (military and historical simulations), board games (family and thematic), trivia, outdoorsmanship, horsemanship, birdwatching, wildlife and pet care, amateur astronomy, living history (all periods with an emphasis on military subjects), English composition (writing), and collecting (fine books, out-of-print materials, antiques, comic books, CD's, DVD's, figurines, toys, and games). Obviously, this is not a flawlessly comprehensive list of all that there is to me, but one should nonetheless get the idea...
Now, in laboriously putting all of these revelations of informations together, one might expectedly be compelled to ultimately ask the question here. Just how is it that someone like me finds his way to an especial respect and enjoyment of H.P. Lovecraft's work as well as directly into the ranks of a lifetime membership in the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society? Well... All of the clues to the answer are rather plainly situated in the open, above - right here among these unapologetically so very many words. My design is so dynamic, and my pattern is so pronounced for all to detect and perceive. As my own variety of gamer... As an unquestionable scholar... As a..."nerd", really... This was all rather inevitable, and no mistake. Would ye not agree...? Besides, amongst the great mass of you out there with your highly similar inclinations of culture and subculture alike, it is not really as if you too have not already come to this special place of darkly magical fascinations and realisations in much the same way - by one road or another. Generally, for most of us... I assert that it is simply just a matter of time. Some of us arrive sooner, while others merely arrive later (when at all given the time and opportunity to do so in this life of course - shite always happens, I know). Alas, I must concede that I am with this latter group of latecomers. Nevertheless, here I finally am! 'Tis a genuine privilege and pleasure for me to join this fine organisation and deliberately promote its endeavours of prolific creativity through persistent quality. How so genuinely...Slytherin of the H.P.L.H.S. to most commendably be this way and conduct its artful business in such an elevated fashion of elite professionalism... Anything worth doing is only worth doing well, eh? In any case, 'twill be a grand delight to be with y'all for many years to come as I resume my own individual venture to delve ever deeper into the universe (or even multiverse) of H.P. Lovecraft. Thank you ever so very much for this distinguished honour of being made September's Member of the Month for 2021. Kanpai... Sláinte!!!"
HPLHS members can see even more pictures from Sgt. Hanafin in the Member Sanctum!