FRANKFORT, Ky. — Daryl Hoffman Jr. felt pride as he kept the “faith of his fathers” by becoming the fourth generation in his family to almost join a branch of the U.S. military.
“It was an emotional experience, standing there outside the recruiter’s office for a full ten minutes,” said Hoffman. “Imagining the sacrifices I could make serving my country.”
According to the Hoffman family, their proud tradition started over 75 years ago, at the height of the Second World War when Daryl’s great-grandfather, Beauregard Nathanial Hoffman, nearly joined the Army. Inspired by the courage of some of his friends who enlisted right after Pearl Harbor, Beau mulled over his options for a year.
“The story goes that the day he was to walk down to the recruitment center and sign up, he had a sore throat. He decided it was a sign that the country needed him more at home, selling life insurance and keeping a watchful eye on America’s sweethearts,” said Hoffman, with a wink.
His grandfather, Hannibal Hoffman, was similarly moved to think about military service during the Vietnam conflict. Hoffman remembered wistfully his “grandpa’s war stories.”
“He wanted more than anything to be a fighter pilot,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the fact he didn’t want to be gone from home for a long time, he’d have been right there in the middle of the fight. Plus, he never graduated high school.”
Hoffman’s father, Daryl Hoffman Sr., was inspired during the Reagan era, amid the heightened tensions of the Cold War.
“My dad almost joined the Navy,” Hoffman explained. “Top Gun really got him into that. He even talked to a recruiter and got a cool US Navy t-shirt that he still owns. I guess you can call that a “war trophy,” right?”
So what branch did Hoffman Jr. nearly sign on the dotted line for?
“I thought, well, Dad almost joined the Navy, but if I was going to join, I’d want to do something hardcore, like the Marines, you know? Or Special Forces. I guess I’m just a little tougher than my ol’ man.”
When told about his son’s comments, the elder Hoffman took Daryl’s gentle ribbing with good humor.
“Junior’s really raised the bar,” said Hoffman Sr., laughing, “But in all seriousness, I hope my youngest, Sarah, thinks about joining Space Force in a couple years before deciding to do something else. Then we’d have almost joined all the branches.”