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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Oh Yeah, We're in the Air Force

Sometimes I forget that Jesse's in the Air Force.  I know that sounds weird, even impossible.  But bear with me...

I was thinking about it the other day.  Mostly how funny it is that for a blog titled "an Air Force tale" I sure don't post much about our Air Force life.  I think the fun posts about living in Europe kind of eclipse the fun of being in the military.  Or maybe it's that being in the military isn't all that fun?

Or maybe it's just that being in the military became normal.  And now we hardly think about it.  At least I don't.  I'm not the one who has to lace up my combat boots to go to work.

So I forget sometimes that one of the reasons I'm blogging is to share with my civilian friends and family what it's like to be an Air Force family.  

So how's life in the Air Force been lately?  Well, Jesse just took a promotion test this week.  Up until this point in his career, promotions came from time in.  But now he has to study this really boring book called the PDG (professional development guide) and then test on that, the specifics of his job, and show that he's an all around great Airman.  (They keep track of all the good stuff they do like volunteering or going above and beyond at work... the "bullets" add up to a package that gets reviewed for your promotion)

He's not counting on getting this promotion, though.  It's not a guarantee that everyone get's staff sergeant on the first try.  They test every year until the rank up.

We have a little less than a year before our first enlistment is up.  Enter the millions of back-and-forth questions. Should we re-enlist for four years and get the re-enlistment bonus?  Does he like weather enough to keep forecasting for another four years?  Do we like the military enough to do another four? Six? Ten? Fifteen years?  Do we want to just do one more year and see how we like the next base?  Should he stay in and slowly work on a degree?  Or get out and use the GI bill to go to school full time for a couple years?  Would we rather deal with the negatives of military life?  Or the negatives of civilian life?

So many things to consider!  And all we really know at this point is that we're going to do at least another year. They joke in the military that "happiness is just a PCS away" and it's kind of hard not to think that way.  Sure, there are things about this particular job or base that you might not like... but you always have that "what if" chance that it'll be better at the next base.  And even if it's not, you'll move again two years (or so) after that, so don't sweat it ;o)

Most of the time we like being in the Air Force.  But it's not an easy job.  (Are any jobs easy?)  And working at this particular base is hard on us because of the scheduling, work load, and the overall work-related-stress.  The girls are regularly confused about where Daddy is when he's absent... wait, is he sleeping during the day now or working?  Explaining night shifts to 2 and 3yo's isn't easy.

But we can't really complain, right?  We've traveled all over Europe AND still been able to save money.  We've met so many amazing friends and interesting people.  Experienced so many cool things.  And grown a lot as a couple.  We've dealt with some of the hardest years of our marriage while simultaneously dealing with military life, living abroad, having small children, and living far from family.  I would be lying if I said I have enjoyed all of that at once, but I'd also be lying to say I don't think it's made us stronger.

Sometimes I can totally see us being a career AF family... 20 years bee-bopping around the country.  And then sometimes I long to be civilian again.  I daydream about being able to actually choose for ourselves where we live next... what job Jesse works... when we take vacations... you know.

So basically, regardless of what the next 2-5 years brings us, I'm glad Jesse joined the Air Force. I'm proud of him for serving.  And I'm thankful he has sacrificed by working a tough job so I can brag about all the adventure that is our life.

There and back again...  even if it's not the "there" or "back again" we expected!


  1. I totally relate to this. and then when you do get out it is another kind of tough. did we make the right decision? everyone else looks like they're having a blast at their new bases. oh man it's been 4 years and we STILL don't have a full time job. and we are poor. we were not poor long in the military! but then we love our family and church and NOT MOVING! so yeah, I get it.

    1. Thanks for playing devil's advocate about that, too. On my "let's just get out" days, I have to remember that there will be the "maybe we should have stayed in" days. Grass is always greener, right?