Last week I received bittersweet news: Human Resources Command approved my “Request for Unqualified Resignation from Active Duty”. What do all those words mean in English? That, on the 22nd of July, 2011, I will no longer be an active-duty member of our armed forces.
A civilian I will be.
This brings up several questions. First, why? Most immediately, my wife is finishing graduate school in California, and we didn’t feel like waiting another year to live together.
The next question, so why not make the Army a career? The simple answer is that the Army was never a career for me. It was a way to serve my country during a time of need. In return for my service, I gained valuable leadership experience and a pretty healthy pay check. In July, On Violence will also host an entire month of posts about why, after serving in the Army, I still don’t want to make it a career. In addition, expect some more guests posts around the interwebs explaining my issues with the Army’s culture.
What will you do? At this point, I haven’t solidified a plan. The long term plan is to attend graduate school a year from this fall. In the interim, the possibilities are varied, from writing a book to joining the reserves. I do know I want to keep serving the country, hopefully by helping our veterans--either disabled or homeless.
So how does this affect On Violence? Hopefully, it shouldn’t. If anything, it will free up one of the writers to express himself more. For the foreseeable future, Eric C and I want to keep publishing at On Violence.
The final question, will I miss it? I will. You can’t devote five years of your adult life to an organization without good memories slowly crowding out the bad. The memories of smoking cigars with a group of guys in Afghanistan, talking about nothing and everything has replaced the memory that one person in that group will never join in another BS session. Regular emails and facebook updates remind me of the good times, but can’t erase the image of a girlfriend/fiance/wife in tears every time I had to leave again.
Come July, though, the next stage begins. Stay tuned.