Since this is my first monthly update, I guess I should give you all a quick recap of where Ive been since I left KBAD. Marcia and I flew out to Anchorage a couple of days after my retirement ceremony. I was expecting to spend the entire winter being a ski bum. I did manage to get a couple of days of cross-country skiing in, but then a pineapple express came roaring in and melted all the snow. From Jan 03 until spring it did nothing but rain, which made Anchorage a very dark and depressing place (in fact Shreveport was cooler than Anchorage that winter). We did manage a 10 day visit to New Zealand in March 03, and that is one place that I would recommend everyone visiting at least once (the natives are friendly and the environment is pristine).
In May 03 we relocated to Ramstein, Germany (Marcia took the job as the Civilian Personnel Officer for the wing). I spent most of my time at the wood skills shop building tables, adirondak chairs, and rockers. And I did a lot of skiing during the winters. I joined one of the local ski clubs and got to ski Austria, France, Switzerland, and Italy (funny though, I didnt make it to one slope in Germany). Also did a lot of traveling around Europe. The best discount airline, Ryan Air, flew out of the old fighter base at Hahn and we could get to most major European cities from that location. I guess our best deal was flying to Vienna for one Euro cent per ticket each way (of course, there were taxes added on but the total ticket price was less than $30). All in all I had a great time in Europe, I think that its kind of humorous that I tried all my military career to get over to Europe and was never successful, but then I retire and within 6 months there I am in Germany.
Relocated back to the states in May 06. We probably would have spent an additional two years over there, but we had to move from our first house in Jan 05 (nasty divorce of our landlords German law required that we move when the landlord requested the house back even though we were on a lease) and we ended up moving to a remote village that was so small that it didnt even have a bakery in it (moving in the winter sucks because theres no housing availableall the GIs move during the summer). The commute to the base was at least 30 minutes which was about 25 minutes longer than the commute from our first house.
Marcia was assigned to the Air Staff in the A-1 directorate, but left the Air Force in Oct 06 to become the Assistant Director for Personnel Services for the Washington Headquarters Service (the HR people for the Secretary of Defense). Notice that I havent once mentioned work for myself. Right now Im still not working, or I should say, Im still retired. I was asked to fill one of the rated officer staff positions at USAFE, but declined because I was having too much fun skiing and traveling. Things may change in the near future; the cost of living in the DC area is still steep and
Virginia likes to tax everything to the max.
I also was stunned to see the article in the Post concerning the latest AF gaff. My neighbor retired from the Department of Energy (a Senior Executive Service – BG equivelent) and asked some pointed questions on how that mistake could happen. Its going to be interesting to see the in-fighting between STRATCOM and ACC on who is at fault and where the training shortfall occurred. I can see the Wg/CC, the OG and the MX commanders at both locations getting the axe, along with the responsible Ops Sq/CC (MMS/CC is already mort). Chuck is right when he stated that in SAC we all were expected to be experts in the weapons, tactics, and procedures. It parallels what Chesty Puller said about leadership, no six month academic school will replace the experience of being in the field with the troops. What are the odds that the AC and/or the RN were target arms?
Well I guess thats about it from this end of the world. Take care and keep in touch