Well folks, the time has come for my family and I to make a rather large life decision. As most of you know, I'm military. I've been doing this for 13 years now. I've spent time at 6 different bases, and been through 5 deployments. I've made life long friends, and lost a few too. I've been pushed to my limits and beyond more times than I can remember.  I've had leaders do far more than they had to, to make sure I was taken care of.  I've done the same for people who worked for me.

The past 13 years have been brutal, painful, emotional, and amazing. Sometimes all at once. I've experienced things that I didn't even know were possible. Done things I'd never wish to do again, and done things I'd love to never stop doing. There have been times where I wanted to throw in the towel and walk away. Other times, I wanted to just keep going because I truly loved what I was doing.

All that being said...its time to walk away. It's time for a new life chapter with my family. I spent a lot of time sitting and thinking about it...and it's time. I've missed so much of my loved ones lives, that I can't bring myself to miss more. Now, I don't regret a second of it. If I had the choice to do it all over again, I would in a heart beat.

I have a year left on my contract right now. I'm going to finish it up, and move on. We're planning on staying in the area, though we will probably end up in Missouri.

The people here, have been huge supporters and I can't even begin to thank everyone.  The outpouring of support, especially when I got back (*cough* Matt *cough*) was insane.

So anyway, thanks for everything. I'll of course still be around, and up to my general antics. I'll be 36 is a few days....I've been doing this since I was 22....lets see what this life thing is all about.

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Jay, to say "thanks" for your service to our country is an entirely inadequate way to express my sincere gratitude. I hope and pray for nothing but the best in your time remaining, and on into the future.
Congratulations on your new course in life and best wishes! Thanks for all you do, and I hope you adapt easily and happily to civilian life. If you're ever in Austin, let me know and we can enjoy a smoke.
All the best to you and your family sir. May the next chapter in your life exceed your dreams.

Good luck Jay, and like everyone else has said THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, now go and spend time with the family.

Good for you, brother!  You are a better man than I, and I hope you enjoy the next step in the journey!

Jay, I was once there, just over 10 years ago.  I made the decision to go from active duty and transition into the National Guard to finish out my career.  I had a child with special needs and the choices of where I could were extremely limited.  There is nothing harder than the choice you've made.  You feel like the past years are wasted if you step away now.  Trust me, they're not.  The time and experiences you've had are anything but wasted.  Every day I look back at what I did while serving, and not an ounce of me regrets my decision.  Do I miss it?  you bet.  But it was the right thing for myself and the right thing for my family. I eventually was medically retired. which took over four years and was just finalized.  

I commend you for the career you've had, and the commitment it takes is not something you should ever take lightly, regardless of the length of time.  I'm proud of what I did, and you should be as well.  You are a beacon to those around you and your family, as well as to all of us in the community.  More people should have the drive you do, and be willing to make the sacrifices you've made.  

I wish you nothing but the best in your upcoming ventures and am proud to have you as another brother of the uniform.  If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.  I'll offer any knowledge I have from my experiences over the transition.

Doug, it sounds like were in much of the same boat. I too have a special needs child. My oldest has Asperger's...or "High Functioning Autism" if you will. I can't say that this decision is 100% the one I want to make, but it's for sure the one I need to make.

I already know I'll miss it, how could I not? I'm dedicated to my craft, and odd as it may sound, that can be a downfall. I spent many years being 100% dedicated to work, and not 100% dedicated to family. I can't do that any more, family is all you got.

Anyway, thank you for your reply. You for one knows how much it means when someone is truly thankful for what you've done, as far as the military goes. I am proud of what I've done, very much so. Being part of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort was a phenomenal experience for me, possibly the #1 thing I've done in my career. I would have never had the chance to do something like that, if it were not for the military.

....anyway, thanks again....oh and

Thank YOU for your service as well! I didn't know until now!

I remember Katrina well.  I was stationed in the Florida Panhandle at the time, and my duty assignment was Biloxi, MS.  We were ordered not to drive over and help, unless we were a part of the team being sent.  I was so frustrated because I knew  a lot of people over that way.  

My 14 year old son is in the same boat, with just a slightly different diagnosis.  When they changed the spectrum of autism to have multiple levels, he was better fit under that instead of Asperger's.  I understand the challenges involved there.

We took a work trip to Biloxi in April 06, working with Lutheran World Relief in Biloxi, Gulfport, and D'Iberville.  Eye opening, emotionally difficult AND satisfying.

I've been through 5 hurricanes and 1 typhoon in my life, and it truly is amazing to see the aftermath.  The most surreal part was going out to do checks when the eye was over us.  Complete silence all around....scary.

Well then....another oddity. My daughter is also 14. Diagnosed now with ASD, since the spectrum changes.

Congratulations and thank you for your service.

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