Hey Mom I Joined the Air Force!

  in From Boy to Man, The Quest Project

clay at 29 militaryContinuing the story of the life that brought me to where I am today, and why I do the work I do to help boys.  My Air Force years.

I’m In The Air Force Now

Enlisting in the United States Air Force was an easy decision for me.  I was lost with no direction in my life.  My buddy Jay and I had a lot of adventures and this would prove to be the biggest and the best!   Sure I was scared, but I’d spent most of my life scared.

I did my basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas.  I was good at it.  With an abusive Dad I learned at a very early age how to follow directions and orders to a tee.  I completed every task perfectly, the Air Force became my new Dad and mentor.

Things Are Going Great

After basic training, I spent 2-1/2 years at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida where I worked on weapon electrical systems on several different aircraft models.  I received the Professional Maintenance Man of the Year in 1983 and 1984 while stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. More than 30 troops compete for this award.  I also received commendation medals from all three units I served with during my six years of active duty. I traveled from Florida to Southeast Asia and back, then Nevada to Southwest Asia.

I returned to civilian life in order to pursue higher education in 1985 but was determined to remain in the service.  I applied to and was accepted at the Missouri Air National Guard with no break in service.  With my extensive experience, job knowledge and get-it-done attitude it didn’t take long to attract the attention of my branch chief.

After receiving my engineering degree, I received my commission and became an Officer.  I was named Officer In Charge of munitions/maintenance for 120 troops and over 2000 pieces of equipment.  I was voted number one by my peers on overall professionalism, camaraderie, attitude, appearance and military bearing.  Looking back, of course I was, Dad wouldn’t have accepted anything less of me.

So the kid who struggled in school would ultimately graduate from the Academy of Military Science in the top 10% of his class at McGhee Tyson Air Base in Tennessee!

The best part of all of this was the military gave my life direction, structure, and discipline.  I learned how to be a man and the Air Force was my family.  I got attention and awards and all while defending my country.

Proudly I am a retired Captain of the United States Air Force with 20+years of service!

The Not So Great

My personal life, unfortunately, wasn’t going as great.  I married and divorced twice during my military career.  Ultimately I recognized that at some point I needed to work through and get counseling to heal my childhood wounds; I’ll talk more about that journey next week.

Did the Military help you or someone you know from going down the wrong path? Please share your experience in the comments!

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