Last week I met with the NCOIC of administration in our battalion, SFC Lori Burns. She looked at my pay statements from the 80s and forwarded them to division HQ to see if there is any way I can stay long enough to retire. I know I will have to stay another five years of so, the question is will five more years bring me close enough to 20 years to get me a real retirement?
I have a friend at Church, Ethan Demme, who knows everybody in Lancaster Country politics. He said he can put me in touch with my US Congressman, Joe Pitts. My wife knows our state representative, Mike Sturla. I could need help from state and federal representatives if I hit one of the paper walls any big bureaucracy can set up.
Lucky for me, an old guy who wants to stay in the Army longer (and is healthy) should be one of the projects representatives actually have fun doing. Many requests for their help come from people who are neck deep in a cesspool and need a real strong pull to get out--not to mention help with clean up afterwards!
I have read memoirs of people my age, back when 57 was really old, who said they believed what they saw in the mirror--a face that obviously belongs to a person nearing 60, but behind their eyes, the person looking at the mirror does not seem like a different person than the 17-year-old who looked in the mirror hoping he would get older so his zits would clear up.
After I met with Lori Burns, I talked to Captain Mike Gross, our battalion operations officer. He was not with us in Iraq. We talked about the newsletter. He asked whether I "just wanted to be the guy with the camera" or if I wanted to work in my MOS to advance my career. I said, "I'm 57 years old and have three college degrees. I'm not sure my skill (or lack of it) in generator and pump repair will make a lot of difference to my career." But he is right to ask. If I am not going to fix generators, I should let a generator mechanic have the sergeant slot.
We'll see what happens.