Question for those who have hung up the uniform

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by buff81, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    You've put your 20+ in. You are now in your 2nd career with employment in the civilian world or you have retired permanently. Reflect back over your entire military career. What was your absolute favorite part of being in the military? Try to separate your personal life out and just look at the '9 to 5' part of your life. What was the 'best of times' in your military career?
     
  2. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    I hung my uniform up after 5 years. :redface:

    The best part was working with my Gunner's Mates while underway with a good Captain. All sorts of fun. :biggrin:
     
  3. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    The best part of my military experience? The people I worked with, hands down. Made the good days better, and the bad days tolerable. They all became my second family, and I remain closer to them today than most of my extended "actual" family. Glad I have a second career where I'm still involved with them.

    Oh, I can't tell you how many sorties I've returned from where I said the words: "I can't beleive they actually PAY me to do this!":thumb:
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Just like the military/academy looks for the complete package in a person, I feel the same way about the air force. As bullet mentioned, definitely the people. But with that, was the feeling that what I was doing for a living actually had a purpose that meant something significant. My job now has a purpose, but it isn't anything as significant as my military career. Whether I was supporting sorties over the north sea, working in Ecuador with a foreign military, or in the sand box; they all had significance for something much greater than myself. That's what I mainly miss. And of course the people that I did all that with.
     
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Bobble-heading right along here with my threadmates, the people with whom I worked: the salt-of-the-earth sailors and senior enlisted personnel who took great pride in serving their country and creatively solving problems, my fellow officers with whom I grew up in the service, the memorable senior officers under whose leadership and mentorship I thrived. The people + the honorable work of serving the country = job satisfaction at the deepest level. Yeah, there were ripples of discontent, fury and sheer frustration along the way, but never permanent. I may have hung up the uniform, but it's still in my heart.

    And specifics...spending long hours overseeing beautifying a USNS oceanographic ship and then HAVING to sail with her to Monaco for the International Hydrographic Maritime Conference in Monte Carlo, cocktails just a few feet away from Jacques Cousteau, afternoon reception on a different nation's ship every day, for 2 weeks temporary duty. And at the other end of the spectrum, staying up all night in the bowels of the Pentagon a few days after 9/11 with a team of senior yeomen (admin enlisted personnel), writing up all the personal award recommendations for those killed in the Pentagon, smoothing the citations and prepping all the Purple Hearts, so that as the funeral services began, each and every deceased service member would have their personal "end of tour" award and PH available to be presented by the flag officer in attendance. All of us, whether at the end of 20 or the end of 5, have great "every day" work moments as well as the "they pay me to do this" moments. Most of the time, they far outweigh the "my soul is being sucked out of me" moments.

    Finally, that feeling of comradeship shared by those who serve/served, regardless of rank, service or length of time in uniform: we "get" each other and appreciate the sacrifices we know have been and are being made.
    :beer1:
     
  6. plmmar

    plmmar Member

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    After 13 years in, I'd have to say that my favorite part and the one I am most proud of is the life-saving mission of the branch I served in and the medevacs I was honored to be a crewmember of.:smile:
     
  7. Gray Hog

    Gray Hog USMA Alumnus

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    Wow, after those responses, I am a bit reluctant to admit that the first thing to pop into my head was not nearly as "professional."

    To be sure, I cherish the bonds I shared (and continue to share) with my comrades and brothers in arms, particularly those forged under very difficult circumstances. However, my immediate thought, in response to the question regarding the "best of times," was not about the them, serous life experiences, or trying times; it was about silly male bonding and picking up girls as a young, single lieutenant in various officer's clubs!

    For as laughable as any real military aviator finds the movie Top Gun for its lack of realism. Anyone who wore a flight suit in the late-80's and early 90's owes a serious debt of gratitude for their "social" life to Tom Cruise and that Hollywood-ized image of our occupation. Later, more serious experiences with family and close friends not withstanding, I look back on those early work-hard-play-hard days in a relatively consequence-free environment as being among the best of times in my military career...that my kids will never hear about.
     
  8. trygstad

    trygstad New Member

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    Without a doubt: being at sea. That's where my job was done. Except for being away from my family, I loved everything about going to sea; I would walk out on the flight deck, smile, and greet the morning each day with a bedrock assurance that I was where I should be doing what I should be. Flying from the small deck at sea, flying among the islands of the Pacific, doing joint exercises with international Navies, supporting hydrographic survey in Indonesia, it was all great. The job, my shipmates, the camaraderie, the chance to lead the best pilots and sailors; I have a job I love now but I think I might give it all up if I could go back and fly off a small deck at sea.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  9. d.mcknight

    d.mcknight Member

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    What was your job?
     
  10. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The comraderie -- especially in my USNA company and later in my squadron. It's something I've never quite found since, despite having very good friends at work.

    Being very proud of what you do -- knowing that your long hours, months away from home, (and now more than ever) dangerous circumstances allow the rest of our country and much of the world to live in peace. Sounds high & mighty but I always thought about that when putting on my uniform.
     

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