In 1997, after 20 years of more or less service, the Army decided it had enough of me and told me it was time to go. Since I was being honorably retired I was asked if I wanted a retirement 'parade' which is where I and others retireing get to see other soldiers who don't want to be there do a 'pass in review'. I declined so I got my letter and my retired reserve ID card and was sent on my way.
After 9/11 I volunteered to go on active duty in any capacity in the GWOT (Global War on Terror) but the Pentagon declined my enthusiastic offer. They did however send me a very nice certificate suitable for framing for my willingness to come back on duty.
Young Daughter and Older Son both joined the National Guard after graduating from High School and in 2003 when the Iraq war started I asked the National Guard if they needed someone to answer the phones and sweep the floor in the armory since many Guard units were headed overseas. They may have indeed needed someone to do those jobs but it wasn't me. However the recruiter put me on to the State Military Reserve, part of the California Military department, and after some investigation I joined up.
After 11 years of service I recently decided that I needed to reduce the level of stress in my life and notified my commander that the time had come for me to retire again. My RA causes some fatigue and after working all week and getting only about 6 hours of sleep a night I need the weekend to rest and recuperate. Also the 120 mile round trip to my duty station was getting to be a chore (sounds like I am getting all of my excuses in line). I served with great people, true patriots who served without pay or compensation and donated literally weeks out of their lives every year to augment the National Guard and I was reluctant to go but the time had come. I didn't want to be like Marvin K Mooney and have people saying "will you please go now!" to me so I thought it best to leave while still on my game.
The unit gave me a great send off for my last day. I received an award (California Legion of Merit), a replica of the unit guideon, a great lunch, and the accolades and best wishes of the officers and soldiers of the unit. I will miss them all and I will miss serving with the National Guard but as Doug MacArthur said "old soldiers just fade away" and it was my time to fade away.
So, this past Saturday I finally had my retirement parade.
|I'm being presented with the unit guidon - the unit insignia has been colored out to protect the innocent. That's me on the right with my award pinned to my collar.|
|Looking carefree as the day is almost at an end.|