19 Dec 2008

Leaving the Air Force/Going back to England

Today was a very good day. The family and I were due to fly out of Mississippi this Tuesday on a plane bound for London. However, Courtney and Finlay's Visas had not arrived by yesterday. It was looking bleak to say the least and we'd resigned ourselves to leaving in January and missing Xmas at home. Then, due to luck all of my own making (a phone call to a contact at the UK Embassy in D.C. on Monday), we received a phone call from the Visa issuing office in Chicago yesterday saying that the Visas had been approved and would be arriving today!! At 2:40 pm today, a UPS guy finally bought me a package containing $3100-worth of Visas for Courtney and Finn! So we are now assured of making our flight on Tuesday and being home for Xmas!!

At the same time, today was my last day in the Air Force (I have to go in to outprocess on Monday for one hour, but that's it). It was an emotional day/week/month/year.

Leaving the AF is bittersweet. I'm glad I will be returning home to England, I'm glad to be leaving Mississippi - the worst place I've ever lived, I'm glad to be leaving the U.S. - I'm just not cut-out for this country, but I'm REALLY glad that I'll no longer have to be away from Courtney, Cate and Finn anymore because of deployments, TDYs, etc. I missed many important events in Cate's life, thanks to the AF - her first steps, her first real talking, two out of her first three Xmases, etc, etc. I was determined not to let that happen again with Finn. Leaving the AF was really the best decision for me and for my family.

At the same time, there are many things about it I'll miss. The sense of being in a fraternity (and though I say fraternity, I include the female AF members, of course)with many others, working toward a common goal. Of being a part of something greater than myself. I'll miss the positive attitude toward fitness, manners, work ethic, pride in yourself and your work, thinking of others before yourself and many other positive influences and traits I've taken on since signing up.

I'll always be glad I joined the AF (in fact, I wish I had joined earlier in my life) and I'll always be proud of the many things I accomplished. At the same time, I'm glad I'm leaving the AF and returning to the place where me and my family belong.

I'm sure as the reality of my new reality sets in, I'll have more to say/post on this. For now, a mere 45 minutes since I left the office for the last time, I'm done.

1 comment:

Cam said...

I really wish you could have visited us in Seattle and get a different view of the United States. I think you would have felt much more at home in a huge liberal state. It makes me furious to see all the O bumper stickers, but I love the subtle beauty of this area so much. It makes living here completely worth it.

Good luck with the move and traveling. I hope all goes smoothly. I completely understand and agree with your views of leaving the Chair Force. They gave me the training I needed for the career I love. But all the political stuff just didn't make it feel worth it. I fortunately never had to go to the sandbox, so I don't know what it's like to be away from family like that, but I'm pretty sure it would have been devastating for me as it had been for you.

Thanks for serving. I know it doesn't mean much coming from me, but you're a fellow veteran now and it's nice to finally have someone I know who is now in the same boat as me. All of my other military friends are still in. Remind me what you'll be doing when you get back to England, and what you're long-term goals are. If you ever want to get back into IT and live in a blue state, you know who to contact.