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.


Going Legit on Facebook

Some of you know I have a Facebook page for my unit.  The Pa. National Guard does not authorize Facebook pages below the brigade level, so this battalion page is not an official Army page--it is a fan page connected to my personal Facebook page.

This weekend I will be meeting with an Air National Guard sergeant in the Public Affairs Office to make my page legal!  The battalion page will officially become the page of the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, with the approval of the brigade commander.  So I will be legal as of next week.

Mostly it is a matter of me getting Facebook training and filling out paperwork--it's the Army, nothing exists without paperwork.

So I will be maintaining the brigade page until they put someone in the brigade PAO slot who can keep the page running, or move me to that slot.  There is some possibility that I will officially or unofficially move to brigade.