Lately I have been thinking a lot about whether I should stay in the Army National Guard. On one level, I did more than I set out to do. At first, I did not think I would go to Iraq. That turned out different than I planned.
I would like to retire, but I have only a small chance of actually meeting the requirement for retirement. In fact, I have a very good chance of ending my Army career just as my father did--months short of a retirement. Dad served almost 19 years and was mustered out due to the Age in Grade act. It was passed in Congress and supported by then representative John F. Kennedy. Dad never voted for a Democrat and hated the Kennedys for that one.
To the best of my knowledge, when I turn 60 years of old, the Army National Guard will end my service. At that point I will have 17 years of active, reserve and guard service. I can get a waiver from the Adjutant General of PA if he or she is willing. The waiver is good for one year. I can get another year too, but age 62 is the upper limit. At that point I will have just over 19 years which should be enough to get me the retirement.
To seal the deal, I would very likely deploy to Afghanistan or some other war zone by 2013. But I could spend another year at one of our wars and still not get the retirement.
My current enlistment ends the month of my 60th birthday in May of 2013.
Actually writing this down makes it look less likely I can actually retire than when the words were just floating in my head.