Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pictures of a Retired Officer

Major John was very kind and took a few photos of me at my last National Guard drill. My unit gave me the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) as a career award.

I also earned an Army Commendation Medal for my efforts during the Warfighter Exercise we attended in January of this year.

Major John also gave me the very generous gift of the uniform in the photo. Officers have to buy their own uniforms and although the theory is for an initial issue of a complete uniform change (like changing from BDUs to ACU) the officers are supposed to get an issue or a uniform allowance, they will field the ACUs to deploying units, then enlisted and then officers. I don't expect they would have gotten to me any time soon. MJ says now I have a complete set of uniforms (BDUs, DCUs, ACUs, Greens and Blues) for my "Mr. Incredible Room."

I was also given a pair of cigars by the one and only Illini5 of Salerno. He is known by many names, The Man from Salerno, Mayor Webb, Webbie and The DIS.

I am very grateful and now, as a soldier at least I will "just fade away."

I have been reading The Glorious Cause by Jeff Shaara. It is the story of the American Revolution and I am inspired. I must find some way to continue my service to my country. I'll keep you posted dear reader.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

SO Much to Talk About

Well, on Mother's Day Saturday I refereed again. I haven't posted on it because I have had a very lot to do. I'll get into all of that.

I reffed in a tournament in Fox Valley (IL) and I did one game. My heels were healed enough and they didn't give me any trouble. The game was between the Chicago Dragons and Oconomowoc (WI). Oconomowoc won 57-0. There were a little shenanigans, but mostly it was a cleanly played game and nobody got hurt. I was a touch judge for a couple of other matches. I don't know if I am improving or if my abilities as a ref are entirely based on how difficult the game is to ref. Anyway I'm done for the season. I may be done forever. We'll see.

I'm trying to write a mystery short story and get it published with the help of friends at Miriable Visu. There is a password only section there so we can read, discuss and critique each others' work. If all goes well I will be able to sell my story to a large market magazine and make a few pennies.

I went to National Guard this past weekend. This is where the real meat of this post is and may need more than this post to work out. This was my last drill. I had submitted my letter requesting transfer to the Retired Reserve, from the Active National Guard as of 21 May 07.

Barring WWIII I will probably never be in the active service of our country again. This is the part that really feels funny. We are in a war. You may not look at it that way, but I do. There are folks out there that are being deployed 4, 5, 6 times and I've only gone Federally once. It seems like I'm not pulling my weight. I made a promise to Mrs. Prop that I would never go again, but that doesn't make me feel any less guilty.

Don't get me wrong, I am VERY glad to be done with that. I don't feel old because I'm "retired" and I will not miss it. I never LIKED doing it.

I felt a sense of pride, patriotism, and duty, but I NEVER did it because it was fun. I did it to pay for college, I did it for money, I did it to help end the Cold War, I did it to help flood victims, guard against potential rioters, to help hurricane victims, to defend liberty and to make this a better world. I did it for my country, for my comrades, for my children, wife and my family.

I started as a helicopter mechanic when I was 17 and still in high school. I finished as a Major and I think I was well thought of and could have continued to get promoted if I had stayed. My goals when I entered the service were to pay for college, to become an officer and to stay in for 20 years and retire.

I received tuition for four years at the University of Illinois and earned a BA there. I was commissioned on 8 Jul 89 after five years of trying and three commissioning programs. I received my letter stating that I had 20 years completed when I was deployed to Afghanistan and on stop loss. In the end I had 23 years, four months and seven days.

I now have to find a new way to serve.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

I had a Girl Scout camping trip this weekend. I have a Rugby game to ref next Saturday, I have a contest story I have to do for MV and I signed up for a summer writing project for MV, for which the first draft is due by Sunday. Can't go into any details right now, but I'll try to inch my way along with the Empire Beyond Mars serial...

In the meantime check out this badge I made (in about two minutes). I'm going to send it over to Anotherealm (for which I just re-registered also) and see if they adopt it.