a reply to: Agit8dChop
Hey congrats on your return to service. I also made a plunge back into a uniform. I served in the Air Force from 87 to 91 as a youngster. In 2008, I
decided to make to finish what I started but at 41 to do it in the Army the second time around. At 41, they subtract your previous service years which
was 4 active and 4 inactive so you can meet the age requirements of 35 at the time.
Recieved a rather cold reception st the MEPS in Los Angeles which I believe does everything they can to keep anybody out of the military. I wasn't the
only prior service there, but I was in way better shape than anybody else and the oldest to ever try they claimed. They sent me to every specialist in
the city but all gave me a green light. My recruiter just shook his head and kept saying it would never happen.
Finally the final full medical with the hippy doctor they had there, he couldn't find anything either and said I was in better shape than some of the
kids that came through. Reluctantly he gave me the green light too. The MEPS workers gave me a standing ovation as I got my date for retraining,
thankfully that did not include basic but a refresher in New Mexico.
Started over with the loss of two ranks at E2 but made it back pretty quickly. I think it was more fun the second time around, even made the best of
barracks life with the young ones, very carefully though. Became the Brigade SGM eyes and ears, we managed a decent friendship since we were the same
age but kept it professional due to rank differences.
Shared many Oduls near beer with the Brigade Commander and SGM and my Company SGM in Afghanistan. Aside from my own desire to finish it, I wanted to
make a difference and I think I did. The soldiers trusted me with their problems, Command gave me latitude to fix them, and after 4 deployments, i can
sigh and say, you did make a difference. Saved more than one marriage, kept two soldiers from killing themselves and maybe took a deployment slot from
someone who didn't need to go.
Even after all the years between the Air Force and Army, i didn't see a lot of changes, both the good and bad. Change did start as I was part of two
wars, Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom. Garrison ops are different. Did not have to worry with finding things to do as they were always there. Be
ready for changes however, as standards were lowered for more than 10 years, gangs, way out of shape kids, and services struggling to transition from
war footing to...that's the problem, they just don't know.
I am out today and extremely grateful for the friends and opportunities I had, enjoy ever minute and be sure to bring the best of what civilian life
has taught you, and bring the old school experience you have while using all the new skills you will gain to full bear. Remember the one thing I
always found lacking in my superiors, have empathy for everyone around you, remember what it was like for you at that same time, don't cut them any
slack, but use empathy to guide your hand. Good luck Sir, you earned a salute from me !