Tomorrow I’ll be marking my 17 year anniversary in the USAF. 17 years. Who’da thunk it. It really has gone quickly…despite feeling like it was taking forever. The last couple years—since 2008, I’d say—has been pretty tough to get through. My fitness has been sporadically good enough to keep me in and I will continue to fight to achieve and maintain the standards required to stay in. However, looking back at 17 years…some highlights:
1996—Basic Training at Lackland, Tech School at Keesler in Biloxi, MS. I have some great memories from Tech School. Made some friends then that I still keep in touch with today. I remember going to Mustang Sally’s and dancing til it was time to head back to base in order to meet curfew. My second week there we ended up in lockdown cause someone had messed up. We marched to and from the dining facility…in our blues…in the pouring rain. My lowquarters were trashed after that. I was also on the drill team for the latter half of my six months there. *That* was fun. Tossing around plastic, molded guns with precision and timing…took a muzzle in the armpit during one of our practices. *That* hurt. Lol. Transferring to my first duty station, McChord AFB, brought about a long drive across three states as I drove from my hometown to Washington.
1997—Settled in and my bestest bud in the whole world moved to Washington with her daughter. Lordy, two 20-somethings on their own…God, that was fun. Parties every weekend and hanging with friends. Me and Jose Cuervo were real good friends for about six months. Then he turned on me and I haven’t been able to stomach him since. Lol.
1998—Both my BFF and I were 21 by this time and able to go out to the clubs in the local area. Still had parties on the weekend but going out dancing was so much more fun. I had a *serious* boyfriend for a short time…until I realized that he was an alcoholic. That discovery nipped that in the bud. However, my bestest bud met the love of her life which lead to…
1999—I was the Maid of Honor in her wedding. I bought a house in July. The mortgage company must have been crazy--selling a house to someone whose take home pay is $1100/mo while they were charging $840/mo for a mortgage payment. I got a second job at The Love Pantry. Lots of stories there…but none would be appropriate for total public knowledge…it was an adult toy store, after all. Lol. I had that job for the eight or nine months that I “ghosted” in the dorms.
2000—started out pretty rough. My bestest bud moved to Iowa with her husband. I finally started receiving BAH so I didn’t have to work at The Love Pantry any longer. It was in this year that I started talking to my son’s adoptive parents about having another child for them. I went off the Pill later that year so that I could get the chemicals out of my system. Had my first reenlistment—Dad officiated.
2001—My brother’s kids came out to visit while their mom was visiting her husband’s family in New York. He loved seeing the kids after almost four years of not. My son and his parents came up for some races that year and were able to stop for a bit during their travels. I was able to get a picture of the three cousins—my son and my niece and nephew—just before my niece and nephew headed back to the east coast. It’s the only picture they have together. I sewed on Staff Sergeant in December.
2002—My daughter was born in the Spring. Three months later, I was headed to Tinker AFB for AWACS training because I had orders to Japan. I got to Kadena three weeks before Christmas—that was kind a bummer cause I didn’t know anyone at my new base.
2003—Not too long into the new year and I was headed home for my grandfather’s funeral. I also moved out of the dorms and into an apartment. I loved how it was close enough to base that I could still walk to the Commissary and/or BX, yet far enough away that I didn’t have to deal w/base traffic. I also completed my Community College of the AF Associate’s degree in the spring.
2004—A friend moved into the apartment with me—more parties and headed out Gate 2 on the weekends. Work was definitely uneventful.
2005—It was quite a year for transition; a lot of friends moved as they left Kadena; to include me moving to Dover, Delaware in December.
2006—Four months after getting to Dover, a C-5 crashed in a field just south of the base. That was headline news for quite a few months. In June, I got my part time job at Victoria’s Secret—gotta love a 30% discount and being able to get new items at just $15 or free. At the end of the year, I sold the house that I had bought in WA back in 1999 and bought a new one in Camden, DE. Re-upped for four more.
2007—I was transferred from the C-5 squadron to the C-17s. We spent the first five months of the year setting up all the programs; to include me and one other person inputting thousands of individual items into the toolroom computer database. We got our first plane just before the start of summer and we were aching for work because there is almost nothing to do when there is only one brand new jet to maintain. By the end of the year, we had about half of our aircraft inventory but were still doing everything we could to stay busy.
2008—I was transferred to a different squadron in June and oversaw a number of improvement events throughout the Maintenance Group as well as performed numerous inspections that gauged how well each shop was keeping up with orderliness and housekeeping.
2009—I spent 16 months in a daily fitness program after failing a PT test in Oct ’08. In Aug ’09, I transitioned out of that and then had liposuction around my waist and hips. I love, love, love the results.
2010—Had a very dark period at the beginning of the year but came out of it unscathed; Made Technical Sergeant and sewed on in Aug. That pay raise helped me to pay off a ton of debt. Re-upped for another six years in November. Dad was my reenlistment officer.
2011—Went to the NCO Academy shortly after returning to the C-17 flightline. Six weeks in Montgomery, AL is not my idea of a vacation spot but I did have a fairly good time while there. Upon my return, I went to night shift.
2012—Transitioned from nights to days in Aug; attended the National Sexual Assault Convention in Chicago, IL in September—very enlightening and educational; went on vacation after that and the outprocessed in Oct for a deployment that began in Nov.
2013—present time…still deployed but headed home in May. I’m definitely missing my cats and the rest of my personal space and time but I’ve been able to save a ton of money and got to know quite a few of my coworkers. Really can’t complain. J
It’s been quite a ride and I’m anxious for the next three years to pass so that I can begin the next chapter but I don’t want to “Click” passed the whole of it. I plan to do a little introspection to see what changes I should make and what positive impact I can have at work. I’m certainly open to suggestions. Lol.