And the age-old question, "where did the time go?" I passed a personal milestone this week that I thought I would share here, as the time arrived for a bittersweet goodbye to one phase of my meteorological career. As some of you are probably aware, I began my professional life as a meteorologist as a weather officer for the United States Air Force, with twelve years' active duty beginning at Pope AFB right here in our viewing area, and winding up a few moves later at Tyndall AFB in Florida. Thus started another chapter during which I became a full-time part of the WRAL WeatherCenter team, but continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve, with assignments at Tyndall AFB as a part of the Air Force Civil Engineering Support Agency and later Air Force Research Laboratory.
In 2004, I was reassigned to 2nd Weather Flight (now called Operating Location K, Air Combat Command) at Ft McPherson, GA, where I have since held a "dual hat" position as reserve staff meteorologist to United States Army Forces Command and to Third Army (U.S. Army Central), which included five months away from TV-5 back in the summer and fall of 2005 to serve as deployed Staff Weather Officer for Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) in Kuwait.
It seems like yesterday that I was an ROTC cadet at NCSU across the street from where I'm sitting as I type this, but retirement time arrived officially yesterday, June 1st 2008, and as of today I join the "retired reserve" with no further training or deployment obligations. It's definitely one of those moments that passes with both joy at the accomplishment and a bit of sadness to leave behind the service that's been such a big part of my life. I imagine it is a feeling well-known to anyone retiring from a career that they found enjoyable and rewarding. On the other hand, since my full-time job here at WRAL continues on as before, the transition may not seem very jarring.
Although the official date arrived this weekend, my unit at Ft McPherson held a small retirement ceremony for me several weeks ago when I was there on my final set of duty days. They sent up some photos taken during the ceremony, and I've attached a few of them here. In a bit of "full circle" karma, after starting in the military as an Army ROTC cadet and training at Ft Knox ("the home of Armor") the ceremony to retire from the Air Force was held in front of a tank display outside Third Army Headquarters!
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