Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why I Got Out in 1984

In July of 1984 my Army career came to an end.  At least that was the plan.  At the time I was a tank section leader in charge of two M60A1 tanks like the one pictured below.  I really liked playing Army in the reserve unit I was in, but my uncle Jack, a Viet Nam vet, convinced me it was time to leave.

Reserve service is never just one weekend a month for the leaders.  So I was coming in the night before drills, going to meetings the Wednesday night before drill weekends, etc.  It was also time to go to Officer Candidate School if I was going to stay in.  I decided I could not have a professional civilian job and be an Army leader, so I left.

Jack also reminded me that, as a reservist, the retirement money did not begin until I was 60 years old (I was 31 at the time) and that if I did retire, I was subject to recall by the government until age 63.

So I left.

When I came back, I was so old I could no longer go to any leadership schools, so I thought it would really be one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer.

But now I am in charge of our unit's Facebook page.  I just wrote an interview article with the division command sergeant major, I will be writing another one next week after drill.

My part time job is leaking back into the rest of my life.  This time, at least, I knew what I was in for.  But it is funny that as I approach retirement age that my decision 29 years ago led me to a place where I am 60, working well beyond drill weekends and not able to retire because I was a civilian for so long.