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Smoke doesn't always mean fire Part I

This is the first post in the long final story that I will tell from my career in the Air Force. All the other stories up to this point were told so you, the reader, could understand how I was guided in my career to be prepared for the moment in this story.

The main character in this story has had his name changed to protect his identity as he is still active duty. He has given me permission [read:excitedly asked when I will write this] to tell this story.

In the summer of 2015 I was the specialist section chief in the 311th AMU at Holloman AFB. We had a few new arrivals to the section. Most of them were new avionics airmen, which we desperately needed. However, we did have an E&E SrA arrive who had a line number for Staff Sergeant. His name was SrA Tyler Perkie. He was respectful, polite and hard working. It was rare to not see him covered in aircraft filth, which is quite the compliment for the working sector of the Air Force. He was tireless at the job and his positive attitud…

I'm not dead or anything




Man, it's been awhile huh?

The last time I published an article was in February. Why the long break? Well, it's complicated.

My last article was posted at about the 1 year anniversary of my retirement. I had moved to my forever home in my forever state and started a new job. The new job was helping low income and first generation [college] veterans enroll in undergraduate programs all across the great State of Maine.

It was the first time in I can't remember how long where my job produced essentially zero stress. More importantly, my entire job was to help veterans reach their goals. Something that I craved since my retirement.

I didn't know what this blog was when I first started it. Really, I just wanted to tell a story I had been holding for a long time. Then it gave me the opportunity to relay some of the lessons I learned through my career.

Eventually the stories seemed a little less relevant and moved into current Air Force and military events with my critique of toxic command climates, unsustainable maintenance readiness goals, and the as yet fully realized crisis with suicide in the service.

I had planned on starting a podcast and even went so far as to record the pilot episode. But, me sitting in a room ranting and raving wasn't an organic experience so I scrapped the solo project. I solicited a few of my military friends but none had the bandwidth to collaborate. So, it has since fallen by the wayside.

As time went on, and the longer I went without publishing the more guilt set in. Between my readiness and suicide pieces I felt I was a voice for the field. That I could elevate actual concerns to leadership. I received messages in support. The most gratifying were the messages where leadership teams actually looked at their processes and norms to make sure they weren't replicating toxic behaviors I had written about elsewhere. When I stopped writing I kind of felt the weight of not speaking on behalf of the field.

Now, I worry I am too removed from the field to be able to speak with accuracy. One of the many curses of being on the outside looking in. Next thing you know I'll be wearing ugly blue mesh hats and calling Senior Airmen Buck Sergeants.

So what's next?

Well, I started law school a few weeks ago. If you've read my long, winding, career ending post you probably aren't surprised. So now that I don't have nearly as much time to write I find myself wanting to do it more. Maybe it's because now writing here seems less stressful than before by comparison to my newfound daily stress in law school. I'll try to keep up.

I've been working on a First Sergeant piece for about 6 months. I really need to finish that or abandon it. I'll try and get it done soon.

Oh, one more thing. To all the Russian bots and trolls that visit my page everyday? Fuck you.

Until next time!






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