Tuesday, January 6, 2015

When I'm 64, I Might Still Be a Soldier


Last week I signed two documents that begin my request to stay in the Army another two years.  And since the enlistment will end 29 days after my 64th birthday, if I get the extension, the answer to the Beatles question, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" will be, "Yes!"  At least for a few more weeks.

Right now, my last drill will be in May of this year.  If I do get to stay in the Army, our summer camp will be sleeping in two-man tents on the ground in northern Michigan with my M16 rifle sharing my sleeping bag.  So if the Army says yes, I will have a real Army experience right away.

When I enlisted in 2007, the waiver I needed to get in was signed by the commander of the PA National Guard, Major General Jessica Wright.  In 2013 when I got the two-year extension to stay till age 62, the waiver was signed by the current Adjutant General Wesley Craig.  This waiver goes to the Pentagon.  Waivers like this are often turned down.  Rationally, I know that at the end of May this year, I will be a civilian again, but the optimism that got me to re-enlist at 54 won't allow me to think anything except that this time next year I will still be in the Army.

In case you were wondering, even with this two-year extension, I will only have 18 retirement years, and I will not be able to retire.  If I do get this extension, I will probably be the oldest sergeant in the US Military sometime in 2016.