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imported_AFKILO7
08-03-2013, 12:53 PM
While reading the responses to "Advice To New Airmen" thread I began thinking about many of the pivotal decisions I've made throughout my Air Force career.

The process for me to get into the Air Force took the better part of two years. My optic nerve was elliptical in shape and the Dr. Bizer's Value Vision doctor MEPS sent me to said I had to have a brain tumor. So I was denied, I battled with the Surgeon General of the Air Force and ultimately wrote my Congressman. I was in the process of applying to a junior college when I got the call from the recruiter. What would've happened if I said thanks but no thanks?

During Tech Training I was one of four offered to attend CATM school, I declined because I wanted to one day become K9 and went to Minot North Dakota instead. What could've happened?

Years later I put Kunsan ROK on my dream sheat and got orders there, I did this solely to stay overseas and not risk going back to a missile base. Didn't know that three years later I would marry someone I met while working.

My follow on assignment from Korea was Lajes with a follow on to Iceland. During my tour at Lajes, Iceland was closed so I put in for K9 instead of going somewhere else. If I didn't go K9 and head to Hurlburt would I have married the woman mentioned above?

Have any of you thought about how things have panned out during your career? Have any of you thought what if?

Silverback
08-03-2013, 01:06 PM
I think we wonder at times what would have happened if we did B instead of A. That’s the beauty of hindsight though. You think back, one little decision would have altered everything else. Sounds like the Butterfly Effect.

Gonzo432
08-03-2013, 01:17 PM
I can say I could have done a lot worse had I made the other decision. Being ready and willing to take an opportunity is key. Going to a bad base (DUIs, etc) made me re-think becoming a 1st Sgt. I ended up cross-training and finding what I really enjoy doing.

Chief_KO
08-03-2013, 01:37 PM
Great topic...as Yogi Berra said "When you get to a fork in the road, take it."

Halfway through basic I was told I would be on AFI status for 6 months waiting for my original AFSC tech school, I chose a different AFSC (still in electronics).
Tried to extend a second time at first assignment to complete more college to apply for ROTC, denied.
Applied for instructor duty, denied.
Applied for first term cross-training, got third choice...if cross-training didn't happen I was going to separate.
Always wanted to go to Europe, got assignment to England...turned it down for a Green Door assignment.
Offered Green Door extension, turned it down to return to regular AF.
Applied again for instructor duty...approved this time.
New MSgt, applied for First Sergeant duty...did not pass the Command Chief's screening panel.
CMSgt-select..."warm" for assignment as a surplus Chief...volunteered/accepted for less than glamorous location...next cycle had 3 openings where I was before.
Volunteered/accepted for short-notice overseas accompanied short...to get out of previously noted less than glamorous location.

Life is full of what-ifs, you never know for sure if what you choose (or is chosen for you) is really "the right thing". Talked with a lot of Airmen over the years who were pretty pi$$ed when they didn't get what they wanted...of course sometimes what you wanted may not have been right.

In 20-20 hindsight I would have to say everything worked out pretty darn good.

VCO
08-03-2013, 01:41 PM
I can say I could have done a lot worse had I made the other decision. Being ready and willing to take an opportunity is key. Going to a bad base (DUIs, etc) made me re-think becoming a 1st Sgt. I ended up cross-training and finding what I really enjoy doing.

I'm gonna guess gay stripper. If that is way off, my number 2 guess is gay prostitute.

Absinthe Anecdote
08-03-2013, 02:28 PM
I wanted to be an Enlisted Aerial Gunner but would have had to wait an extra year to go to basic. The guys at the MEPS station were very helpful and told me that since I liked guns I should be a Security Police.
You wouldn’t believe how many times I cussed those guys out while walking a boundary sentry post.

Anyway, that whole “what if” examination of your life can be kind of unhealthy if you dwell on it too much.

imported_AFKILO7
08-03-2013, 02:38 PM
I wanted to be an Enlisted Aerial Gunner but would have had to wait an extra year to go to basic. The guys at the MEPS station were very helpful and told me that since I liked guns I should be a Security Police.
You wouldn’t believe how many times I cussed those guys out while walking a boundary sentry post.

Anyway, that whole “what if” examination of your life can be kind of unhealthy if you dwell on it too much.

Oh man I was so happy when I was no longer posted walking the fence line! Months of working my butt off, and destroying my QC was worth it.

I will say that despite the policies and practices I don't agree with, I still love being in the Air Force. The opportunities I have been given have been positive. I'm thankful for the path I've taken in my career and I'm looking forward to what lies ahead.

Gonzo432
08-03-2013, 02:56 PM
I'm gonna guess gay stripper. If that is way off, my number 2 guess is gay prostitute.

Everybody funny, now you funny too. (Lonesome George Thorogood)

Gonzo432
08-03-2013, 03:02 PM
Great topic...as Yogi Berra said "When you get to a fork in the road, take it."

Halfway through basic I was told I would be on AFI status for 6 months waiting for my original AFSC tech school, I chose a different AFSC (still in electronics).
Tried to extend a second time at first assignment to complete more college to apply for ROTC, denied.
Applied for instructor duty, denied.
Applied for first term cross-training, got third choice...if cross-training didn't happen I was going to separate.
Always wanted to go to Europe, got assignment to England...turned it down for a Green Door assignment.
Offered Green Door extension, turned it down to return to regular AF.
Applied again for instructor duty...approved this time.
New MSgt, applied for First Sergeant duty...did not pass the Command Chief's screening panel.
CMSgt-select..."warm" for assignment as a surplus Chief...volunteered/accepted for less than glamorous location...next cycle had 3 openings where I was before.
Volunteered/accepted for short-notice overseas accompanied short...to get out of previously noted less than glamorous location.

Life is full of what-ifs, you never know for sure if what you choose (or is chosen for you) is really "the right thing". Talked with a lot of Airmen over the years who were pretty pi$$ed when they didn't get what they wanted...of course sometimes what you wanted may not have been right.

In 20-20 hindsight I would have to say everything worked out pretty darn good.

Yogi Berra is a genius.

Green Door? Haven't heard that in a long time. We had a bunch of those secret squirrels at Eglin.

jshiver15
08-03-2013, 04:18 PM
I was the only person in my tech school class to get an "overseas" assignment (Hickam). I often wonder if I would've gotten that assignment had I not left my stateside dream sheet blank. I literally put bases on my overseas list that I couldn't get.

I don't know if I would have stayed in had I gone to Barksdale or Scott.

Rainmaker
08-03-2013, 04:22 PM
While reading the responses to "Advice To New Airmen" thread I began thinking about many of the pivotal decisions I've made throughout my Air Force career.

The process for me to get into the Air Force took the better part of two years. My optic nerve was elliptical in shape and the Dr. Bizer's Value Vision doctor MEPS sent me to said I had to have a brain tumor. So I was denied, I battled with the Surgeon General of the Air Force and ultimately wrote my Congressman. I was in the process of applying to a junior college when I got the call from the recruiter. What would've happened if I said thanks but no thanks?

During Tech Training I was one of four offered to attend CATM school, I declined because I wanted to one day become K9 and went to Minot North Dakota instead. What could've happened?

Years later I put Kunsan ROK on my dream sheat and got orders there, I did this solely to stay overseas and not risk going back to a missile base. Didn't know that three years later I would marry someone I met while working.

My follow on assignment from Korea was Lajes with a follow on to Iceland. During my tour at Lajes, Iceland was closed so I put in for K9 instead of going somewhere else. If I didn't go K9 and head to Hurlburt would I have married the woman mentioned above?

Have any of you thought about how things have panned out during your career? Have any of you thought what if?

Yeah sure but, it's a waste of time. If my Aunt had nuts she'd be my uncle.

DWWSWWD
08-03-2013, 04:39 PM
In tech school, got an assignment to Ellsworth. I beat a guy down for weeks to swap with me so I could go back home. He finally agreed. It was past time where we could swap without seeing the Shirt. He agreed we could swap and then pulled out his big roster book thing with the green and white striped computer paper stuff. He said, "Where do you think you're going again?" The guy said, Pope, sir? Shirt said, Nope. You're going to the Philipines. You want to go to the Philipines, DW? I said, Nope. This guy ended up offering me $1,000 to swap. If I'd have know what Clark was about, I surely would have gone and my life would be very different. Probably not in a better way.

Measure Man
08-03-2013, 05:05 PM
I had an opportunity to go to language school and join the task force that searches for remains in Vietnam.

If I had that opportunity again, I would jump at it...probably my #1 career regret was not taking that.

Absinthe Anecdote
08-03-2013, 05:11 PM
I had an opportunity to go to language school and join the task force that searches for remains in Vietnam.

If I had that opportunity again, I would jump at it...probably my #1 career regret was not taking that.

I have always thought that would be an interesting job and tried to build a resume for one of their civilian positions last year.
No dice.

Slyoldawg
08-03-2013, 06:08 PM
With more of my life behind me than I have ahead of me I don't look back much anymore. I always tell my son that when I came to a fork in the road during my Air Force career I simply flipped a mental coin in my head and made the decision. I came into the AF during the cold war and took the assignments that came with a very strong organization. I never looked back and wondered what if I'd gone off in another direction. I started off as a reciprocating engine aircraft mechanic and was lucky enough to become a flight engineer when that career field was in its heyday. My assignments came along haphazardly and it always worked out for the best.

My first assignment after tech school was Eglin AFB in FL. I loved it there and after only about nine months there I walked into the flight line coffee shop and saw my first sergeant having a cup. He motioned me over and asked if I'd like to go to Spain. Seems the guy he had selected to go needed to cancel out so off to Spain it was for me. That was before the bases were even opened and I spent a total of eight years in that beautiful country.

The next big event was becoming a flight engineer. A buddy I knew was a FE and told me I should apply for the job. I did and those years of sitting at the panel of large cargo aircraft were some of the best of my life. When the C-5 ame out I really wanted to switch to that aircraft in the worst way. I knew though that being the youngest and lowest on the totem pole that I didn't have a chance. Late one night I got a call from the Chief Engineer on the C-5 and was asked if I could leave the next day to attend FE school on the C-5, because the senior NCO who was supposed to go had an emergency and could not make the class so off I go to do a job I wanted badly.

That's just about how my entire 26 year career worked out for me. When I came to a cross road I took a path without looking back and never regretted a decision that I made or refused a chance when it was handed to me on a platter as many things were during my career. I am glad I did not lose any sleep or had difficulty making a decision. I simply made my choice and plowed on straight ahead.

With the comfort of hindsight, looking back over my entire career I would not change one choice of all the decisions I made. Those choices led me to another 26 year career in the civilian airlines after retiring from the Air Force. Judging the same job in the military or civilian world it would be the Air Force where I was the happiest and most satisfied. The people I worked with in the Air Force were so much better than the people in the civilian world.

A strange thing is that after being retired from the Air Force for 32 years I am still in touch with many people I served with and even some who came along after I retired yet, I know no one and have no contact with anyone I worked with in the civilian airlines for the same amount of time. Basically aviation in both the military and civilian worlds were the same, but the people were much different.

WeaponsTSGT
08-03-2013, 06:15 PM
I had the opportunity to make TSgt the 2/3/4th time I tested but decided that my priorities didn't include studying. Missed it all 3 years by less than 8 points when you combine how much I missed it for all three years. Other than that I've had no regrets. 9 assignments, 3 remotes and 3 deployments. I do wish I had been able to spend more time overseas, I'm currently in Alaska but would of loved to have been picked up for Europe, but it wasn't due to lack of effort. PS....I take it back, I would not have been a recruiter if I had it to do again.

garhkal
08-03-2013, 06:16 PM
I think we wonder at times what would have happened if we did B instead of A. That’s the beauty of hindsight though. You think back, one little decision would have altered everything else. Sounds like the Butterfly Effect.

Yea it does.. Though it can make for some interesting dreams.. Such as some i have had where i DID decide to go nuke (so when out can work powerplants) or medic/doc rather than electronics tech.

LogDog
08-03-2013, 06:53 PM
In the mid-80s, while assigned to Han (Happy Hahn) AB, GE, I got to attend the NCO Academy at Vogelweh AB. Hahn was a rough assignment for me so the time at the academy was like a vacation. During the last week of the NCO Academy, I and about five others were called into the Commandant's office for a meeting. We were recommended by our instructors to be PME instructors at Vogelweh. According to the Commandant, if we accepted the offer our current assignment would be curtailed and we would go to PME instructor school. I gave the offer an honest consideration and although I would have like the opportunity I decided I would only be running away from my current problems at Hahn and I didn't want to start down that road so I turned down their offer. I PCSed to England a year later and the situation was similar to Hahn but I stuck it out. After that, the next five assignments I got were still challenging and I was able to excel at them. One assignement, in England (my second tour in that country) was under the senior Chief in our career field and I learned a lot about management and leadership from him.

Had I accepted the NCO Academy offer, I doubt I would have been able to handle my future assignments as well as I did or make it to SMSgt. I probably would have gotten out at the 20-year mark instead of lasting 28 years and having to work in my retirement. Looking back, I think I made the right decision.

retiredAFcivvy
08-03-2013, 07:19 PM
I began my civil service career as GS-4. Early on I applied for opening at Duluth IAP. Not selected. Then I applied for a civil service job in Military Personnel. Wasn't qualified (guess 4 years as a miliary personnel specialist wasn't enough). Never applied again for anything off base or outside my career field and spent the next 30 years in a rewarding career.

wildman
08-03-2013, 07:40 PM
I began my civil service career as GS-4. Early on I applied for opening at Duluth IAP. Not selected. Then I applied for a civil service job in Military Personnel. Wasn't qualified (guess 4 years as a miliary personnel specialist wasn't enough). Never applied again for anything off base or outside my career field and spent the next 30 years in a rewarding career.

Interesting. I was a W73270. You may or may not be familiar with that AFSC. I retired in 1988.

Always,
Wildman

retiredAFcivvy
08-03-2013, 08:53 PM
Interesting. I was a W73270. You may or may not be familiar with that AFSC. I retired in 1988.

Always,
Wildman

I was a 73250 (1966-1969) but not sure what the W prefix was for.

zeke7142003
08-03-2013, 09:59 PM
I was an A1C at my first base (Kadena), working a job that was usually manned by SSgt and above, and enjoying life when an assignment rip came down (Clark AB, PI). I had been TDY and even took leave in the Philippines and really enjoyed it there, but this job was so great. I did not know what to do so I asked the Chief for advice. He told me to take the assignment and have fun....so I did. I had been there for about a year and was invited to a party off base. I was hanging with my motorcycle club and didn't want to go, but for some reason, I went. I spotted a young lady in the kitchen who was friends with the wife of the friend renting the house. I never believed in "love at first sight" but I was just about knocked over right there by this cutie. I have been married to this cutie for almost 23 years now.

imported_AFKILO7
08-03-2013, 11:56 PM
I had an opportunity to go to language school and join the task force that searches for remains in Vietnam.

If I had that opportunity again, I would jump at it...probably my #1 career regret was not taking that.

If I had the opportunity to do this I would jump on it too.

wildman
08-04-2013, 01:35 AM
I was a 73250 (1966-1969) but not sure what the W prefix was for.

The W indicated Personnel systems manager it later became it's own AFSC but I forget what that was. From your post, I believe you guys were phase one CBPO's. In 1971 when I joined the U.S.A.F. we were switching over to phase two CBPO's. I got into the automation function. Was there at the end when they once again phased out the CBPO's and turned everything back over to the individual squadrons. For today's folks CBPO stood for Consolidated Base Personnel Office this included both military and civilian personnel.

I spent 3 years in the U.S. Army (1966 - 1969) and 17 years with the U.S.A.F. (1971 - 1988).

Always,
Wildman

Ripcord
08-04-2013, 07:01 PM
No regrets to how my AF time has gone thus far but there are always those what ifs...

In 1999 I came into the AF to be a combat controller. A year earlier I saw the cool pamphlet in the guidance counselor's office with the special ops guy and all his gear. I was hooked. Well once I was there and saw what it was really going to be like I decided it wasn't for me and "rang the bell". I probably wasn't ready anyway maturitywise but looking back it was the right decision. There isn't a year that doesn't go by that I don't look back and wonder what if? Would I have really enjoyed that stuff? Would I have my picture in the PDG now for being KIA in the GWOT? Would I still be single and alone or one of the 90% divorcees in that community? Who knows.

Another what if that comes to mind was when I was stationed in Turkey. I had been dating my now wife for a while and we both decided to cancel our follow-ons at the time and extend for 12 months to see if it would work out. I was supposed to go to Eileson AFB in Alaska. After almost 10 years of marriage and still going strong it was the right decision...but again who knows?

The latest what if recently struck me. I had applied to be a first sergeant last year and tested for Senior before I attended the academy. Totally didn't think I had a shot and had already accepted no E8 for a few years but when Feb rolled around I found my name on the list. What if I had stayed in my careerfield? I would still have a line number but a totally different short term career path. I wouldn't trade it for the world though. Being a first sergeant is by far the best experience and duty I've had in the AF. Love it almost every single day. I can't say that about my previous career field.

One of the reasons I joined the military in the first place was I really didn't know what I wanted to do going ahead. I did know it did not involve staying at home. The structure and possibilities the AF offered ended up being the best thing for me. Looking forward to the rest of my career however long it lasts...

wildman
08-04-2013, 08:28 PM
Not a regret but a what if. While in the Army I did a tour in Vietnam and the last six months was at a high ranking officers BOQ as a SP. A two star general stopped by my post an asked how would I like to apply for chopper pilot training and he was sure I would get approved. I declined this offer as it was not such a good thing at that time, the life span was real short. I know I made the correct decision but can't help but wonder what if.

Always,
Wildman

imported_wtrwlkr
08-05-2013, 06:10 PM
Back in 2008 I was deployed to Iraq from Yokota. I reenlisted in country and recieved my orders to Osan a few weeks later. I knew I was entitled to a followon due to my assignment but didn't know how to go about applying for it. The assignment RIP didn't have any instructions nor did I see anyting on vMPF. PERSCO in theatre didn't give me any answers either. At that point, I had only about a month and a half left in theatre, so I figured i'd talk to them face to face when I returned to Yokota.

Literally the next thing I did upon returning to Yokota after in-processing my unit was to visit the MPF. When I asked about my followon, I was told "so sorry, but you had 60 days upon recieving your assignment to apply" and I was basically out of luck. I ran the issue up my chain and recieved the response from the MAJCOM functional that the only way I could get my followon was to get the MPF to draft a memo admitting they were negligent in counseling me regarding my assignment. I decided not to fight it, as I knew it'd be a cold day in hell before that memo would be written.

I PCS'd to Korea and did my thing. I got my DEROS option RIP and was informed that if I extended in the ROK another year I could get a follow-on. At the time, I was just ready to get back to the states. I had enough of the constant MOPP exercises and PACAF in general. Don't get me wrong, I loved living in Asia, but I wanted to get back to somewhere more familiar. So the EQUAL overseas list came out and I filled my dreamsheet with bases in Florida, and the east and west coasts. When I was trying to fight Yokota over my followon, my chief said "Don't worry, you'll get top pick from the EQUAL list". If you look at my info, you can guess how that worked out for me.

Right now I'm miserable. I had a great job as a long-haul communications tech while I was in PACAF. I actually had to think about what I was working on. Here at Afcannonstan I'm working in an RPA Aircraft Maintenance Unit, in the support section. My days consist of looking over AFTO 244's, checking in and out tools, inspecting vehicles, and any other monotonous task leadership comes up with. I feel like a glorified autozone clerk. I think had I either fought the followon issue, or extended in Korea, or stayed overseas, I'd be alot happier. I still probably wouldn't have reenlisted, but at least then I wouldn't count down the days til I separate like a prison inmate counts down his sentence.