Deciding on a future

With a nod and a wink, my path was set.

I had been talking with the colonel’s secretary, a very attractive specialist whom I chatted with every so often while I waited to see the old man. She was asking about my plans, if I was staying in, if I was getting promoted (the fiasco had made its way through some circles).

“No, I think I’m getting out,” I said.

“When?” she asked.

“Next January.”

“Oh, uh, you’ll be in Iraq, Sgt. Salmons.”

“Really? You’ve heard something?”

Then came the nod and wink part. Not that I bet the whole of my estate on the passing rumors of junior soldiers, but it was one of multiple reports I’ve heard concerning the subject. Things in Iraq are a bit dire. Tens of thousands of additional troops are gearing up to go, filling the immediate levy and preparing for the increased rotational demand. Whereas our unit’s initial plan was to lay low until a few months after I had planned to leave, that timetable had been moved up considerably.

The choice I have been wrestling with is this: whether to live out my days as an enlisted journalist, being passed from unit to unit, working in capacities that don’t exactly make me pop awake every morning and rush to work; or continue my trek toward an Air Force commission, where things would be a little better for ol’ Salmons.

I had been in contact with family and friends over the matter. Naturally, all want me to find something that makes me happy. I have no idea what that will be, but I am restless enough to want to move on from my current circumstances. Now that my exit window out of the military has all but closed, I am looking to trade up a couple of years for a drastically improved lifestyle. If commissioned, my time requirements in the service would increase, but they’d be good years, at better pay, more opportunity to improve service members’ lives and all that.

So there it was, at the behest of a specialist, where I all but made my choice. I’m of course still open to the divinings of the Almighty–signs on the wall, burning bushes and all that; but this is the path for now. May it be blessed or cursed.

On a lighter note. I was selected as the FORSCOM journalist of the year. Meaning of all the deploying active-duty soldier journalists, I was considered top dog. Not bad for someone who is barely utilized as a journalist, eh? I also had a photograph that was selected as the top “stand alone” picture. Also also, and the biggest surprise, was the fact that our own “Wrangler” newsletter won second place of all the publications in theater.

Mind you, it was put together by me in between convoys, briefings and exhaustion. I slaved over that thing, but it only had our stories–bits about fuel and supplies, not exactly “Saving Private Ryan” stuff. Other papers, especially the division- and corps-level publications, had a dozen reporters buzzing around, designing and laying out, with several supporting subordinate units providing adequate stories.

“The Wranger” had me. I’ll take second place, for serious!

So there’s that business. Pretty cool that big Army thought I did okay over there, even if the unit doesn’t really make a stir about it. I’m happy with the nod. The lack of local hoopla isn’t a big deal.

###

About salemonz

Born in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.

10 responses to “Deciding on a future”

  1. wilsonian says :

    Congratulations on the recognition! I’m not a bit surprised that you earned it, but can’t help being shocked that someone finally noticed.

    Good on ya’!

  2. Lessie says :

    “I was selected as the FORSCOM journalist of the year.”

    Congratulations! Very impressive — and the photo, too. And the publication. Wow. Won’t need to pad that resume too much.

  3. salmons says :

    Yeah, it is good resume fodder.

    I hadn’t taken the time to write accomplishments down too much, but I finally put together a resume and profile for the Air Force gig.

    I must say, all modesty aside, I think I look pretty damn good on paper 😉

  4. Felyne says :

    WOOOHOOOOO! Rock on. Super well done! *does happy dance*

    From a Grunt to a Flyboy, you KNOW I’m gonna back that move! How could they turn you down, you’re journalist of the year!

    Rock on, glad things are kinda swinging your way, babe.

  5. Felyne says :

    Oh hey, they’re starting to swing my way too… I’ve finally got a date for relocating to San Diego… 23 February, the night flight…. of course I will only believe it when I’m onboard that big silver bird touching down in LA.

  6. priya says :

    Congratulations on your recognition!

  7. salmons says :

    Felyne: San Diego, eh? Nice! That’s where I was born. We moved away when I was just a year-or-so old, so don’t ask me where the good spots are!

    Priya: Many thanks, darlin’! Thank YOU for continuing to stop by this little corner of the universe 😉

  8. FTM29 says :

    Enjoy staff life while you can. That is what I am doing in Kuwait, just sucking it up. Looks like I will be going to Afghanistan next. I work with a bunch of USAF wonks at this time and let tell you the 4 month deployments, sub standard housing pay and better looking chicks will make your new ride all worth it.

  9. salmons says :

    Hell yea! I always thought it was strange that AF guys got paid more for living in the same conditions we thought were normal.

  10. David Earney says :

    I strongly recommend the commission path.

    The best officers, of any rank, whom I served with in my 6.5 years in the Army were Mustangs. I imagine you’d fall among them having been in the enlisted trenches.

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