Today marks four years since I officially retired from the Unites States Air Force. Just like the 21 years I spent in service, the last four years has gone extremely fast. All in all, I have no major complaints about civilian life, but I do miss active duty service.
One of the biggest things that has occurred in the last four years is the realization that I have now lived in a single place for the longest period of my life, ever! Back in June, we hit six years back in Florida. It was interesting to have that realization. There have been many times that Stephanie and I have looked at each other and thought, “It’s time to move!” The decoration on our wall which covers all the places I lived while serving shows 11 locations.
Another first that has occurred, is having a single job for the longest time ever. Prior to Air Force retirement the longest single assignment I had was a period of four years. Even in that period I held different positions. Since retirement, I have been working for the same boss doing software engineering and development. The total time working for him has now been just over four years. I was lucky and had a significant amount of terminal leave and was working the new job while still on active duty.
There are many things that I do miss. For one, the people I had the opportunity to work with over the years. There really are no others like your brothers and sisters in arms! You can have conversations with your co-workers, but unless they served they don’t fully understand. That isn’t a bad thing and I wouldn’t trade any of my co-workers for anything. They are all great people. I have a great boss and work with so many talented individuals.
Another thing I find interesting since retirement is the changes in health care benefits. I am not complaining about them at all. The cost is still very low compared to some of the costs I have heard others pay. However, it is sort of disgruntling when the changes made increase your out of pocket costs. Again, it’s not a complaint just disappointing.
My home office is filled with memorabilia from my service time. There are reminders of the things I accomplished in the Air Force. I completed 13 years enlisted maintaining F-111s and F-15s. Another eight years as an officer helping keep GPS systems going, writing software for DoD super computer access, and teaching young adults about Air Force life so that they could continue the traditions of those who had served before them.
I still serve today as a civil servant. I took an oath about a year and a half ago that was almost identical to the oath I took when I commissioned. I still protect our nations interests in an agency whose mission statement is, “With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.” I am still a small piece in a big puzzle, and each of us has an important part which should be done well and to the best of our abilities. This chapter of my life has started out great and I hope that by the end of it, I can look back and think of all the things accomplished and feel just as satisfied with it as I do with the accomplishments of my Air Force career.