National Military Appreciation Month continues on this 3RD Thursday of the month with my own appreciation of my 35-year career with the United States Air Force. It’s no secret that I’m currently in the greatest 13-year era of my career. It started at the end of July of 2007, and it continues to this day. But there’s a runner-up to this great era, and that’s January 1991 to February 1993.
I was sent to war (Operation Desert Shield / Storm) as 1991 began. I didn’t volunteer for it. I’m actually quite antiwar. I was sent as punishment by my supervisors at the time. They didn’t like me, and they made life miserable for me. I threatened to report them for harassment. Before I could take action on that they sent me away to Saudi Arabia.
As it turns out my deployment overseas into the war zone turned out to be the turning point of my career back then. I was scared over there due to an uncertain future, but I also made new friends with fellow airmen from other bases, and I matured quite a bit in “Tent City” in the desert. I flopped at building fuel tanks, but I exceled at building bombs.
When I returned home to Homestead AFB after the war I was immediately sent home to my family near Washington D.C. for up to 30 days of uncharged “rest and recuperation” leave. When I returned to the base I met my brand new supervisor. You see my previous supervisor, and a few others as well – were relieved of their duties and sent away while I was away. I wasn’t informed of the specifics, but the outcome was great. There was even a reorganization of our squadron and flight structure. We even moved to a different building down towards the other end of the airfield. It continued the peak of my career at that time that started at wartime.
And then Hurricane Andrew destroyed the base. I became a “refugee” at Andrews AFB Maryland. I picked that base because it was my hometown base at the time – closest to my family. I really liked my supervisor and coworkers at my new base. They treated me nice. They respected me. I respected them. I informed them quite early on that I would not be reenlisting for a 3RD 4-year term in early-1993, so they had me for about 6 months to do what they wanted with me. They had me teach them everything I knew about the computer system and database that we managed and utilized in my career field at that time. They were so impressed that they had me teach the rest of the base as well. I was essentially a teacher for my 6 months there. They gave me a bunch of awards for my work during my short stay there – the most prominent of which hangs on my wall just above my computer workstation here.
My last duty day was the same day that the World Trade Center in New York City was bombed the first time around (Friday February 26TH 1993). We found out about the bombing via overhead TV sets at Pizza Hut where we had my farewell luncheon. I went on “terminal leave” for a month after that, and at the end of March I was officially out of the Air Force after nearly 8 years, or so I thought …
All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries
I was on Facebook for not quite 5 years – from 31 March 2013 to 31 December 2017. Before Facebook I was on WordPress and Twitter, and after Facebook – I’m on WordPress and Twitter. OK – I’m still on Facebook; although, I stopped posting new material on 31 December 2017. I’m only on there now to keep up with my friends and family – nearly all of whom are only on Facebook and nowhere else.
Lately though I’ve been enjoying somewhat of a Facebook revival. I’m essentially reminiscing on my 35-year United States Air Force career. I’m a member of groups of alumni of my:
Basic Military Training Squadron (at Lackland AFB Texas)
Technical Training Base (at Chanute AFB Illinois)
1ST Permanent Duty Station (at RAF Fairford United Kingdom)
2ND Permanent Duty Station (at Homestead AFB Florida)
The Lackland, Chanute, and Fairford alumni pages are lots of fun, and I enjoy seeing all of the photos of yesteryear and interacting with my colleagues of the era. Eventually someone is going to post a photo of me from back then. I’m looking forward to that. Those 3 bases represented my first 2 years and 5 months of my military career from June 1985 to October 1987.
The Homestead AFB page is a bit different. The photos from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s are fun, but for the most part it’s a bunch of long-retired guys with somewhat faded memories chitchatting back and forth about how beautiful the base once was when it existed back then. Most of them have moved far away from Homestead and South Florida, and many of them don’t even think that the base exists today. Some who have recently visited the area surrounding the base think that it looks post-apocalyptic.
It’s actually a bit annoying to read at times because I’m still working there, I’ve been working there since 1987, and these days I have a little something to do with the beauty of the base and its upkeep. So I take it a little bit personal when I read disparaging remarks about my workplace then and now. I think I’m one of just a few members on that page that actually works on the beautiful and busy base today.
So I’m keeping up with my military career over on Facebook. It’s a whole lot more fun than the political hatred that some of my Facebook friends and family engage and indulge in.
May is National Military Appreciation Month here in the U.S., Armed Forces Week is May 10TH to 15TH, and Armed Forces Day is May 16TH. Throughout the month of May I’ll feature military-themed stories here on my blog.
All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries
TODAY – the fifth of June of 2010 – is my 43RD birthday. You know you try to keep these events a secret from everyone, and yet word still manages to leak out about it. Go figure. LOL !
Perhaps the most memorable birthday of my entire lifetime was exactly 25 years ago on this date in 1985. It’s when I turned 18-years-old. Back then I knew what I was going to do on the following day. I was going to graduate from high school and receive my diploma. And so I did – on June 06TH 1985 at historic DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C.
On my 18TH birthday I also knew what I was going to do exactly a week later. I was going to leave home, make my way from suburban Northern Virginia to San Antonio Texas via planes, trains, shuttles, and automobiles, and enter a whole new world. And so I did – on June 12TH 1985 when I arrived at Lackland Air Force Base for Air Force Basic Military Training. It was the most hectic week of my lifetime – turning 18, graduating from high school, and joining the Air Force.
I never imagined 25 years ago that I’d be celebrating my 25TH anniversary with the Air Force this week in 2010, but here I am. I served 8 years on active duty (1985-1993), 2 years on active reserves (1993-1995), 4 years on inactive reserves (1995-1999), and 17 years as a Department Of Defense civilian working for the USAF (1993-now). It’s been a great and rewarding career, and retirement is about 15 years away. I can almost see it from here !
Back during that hectic second week of June of 1985 this memorable song from Tears For Fears was the # 1 pop and rock smash all across the free nation. It’s “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, and I present it as my 25TH anniversary ‘Retro’ classic flashback: