September 15, 1997 to September 15, 2007.
A lot has happened in 10 years.
On September 12th, 1997 I received a letter from the registrar at the University of Tennessee stating that I had completed all requirements to receive a Bachelors of Science Degree in Social Work. I took that letter (it was a Friday) to the Army ROTC Department which confirmed my Commissioning on Monday, September 15th, 1997. That began my Army career. I spent the first four months in the Army working at the ROTC department awaiting my Transportation Officers' Basic Course. I worked for a great boss, Mark Grazdan. I reported to my class on January 6th, and spent 4+ months there until I went back to Tennessee, picked up Jane Anne and moved to Colorado. Jane Anne and I were so naive about what we were supposed to do to buy a house that we walked up to a real estate agent and said that we would like to buy a house in the next 3 weeks. We drove into Colorado on June 2nd and found and closed on our house on June 19th, 1998.
We spent three great years in Colorado, had a great time in our church (Heart of the Springs Baptist Church), and had our first baby. We really miss our friends from Colorado. My brother moved to Colorado after we did and met and married his wife there as well. They had their first child a few (4) months after Jonathan was born. When we left in August 2001, we were really enjoying our time in the Army. We were looking forward to seeing where we would end up next. The next 6 months was spent in Virginia where I spent about 1/2 the time at our house at Fort Lee and Fort Eustis and Kansas. Jane Anne moved back to Tennessee because I was heading to Korea.
So Korea was a lot of fun. I felt like I was really doing my job as a transporter. I left for Korea on April 29th, 2002 and spent a year living about 12-13 miles from the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone). It was great. Jane Anne was able to fly over there about 4 months after I got there. She spent 2 weeks with me and then I flew home around Christmas and spent 2 weeks in Knoxville. I left to go back to Korea and a few week later Jane Anne called me to tell me that we were going to have a second baby. I flew back home for good (from Korea at least) on April 24th, 2003. the next day we celebrated Jonathan's second Birthday. We sold Jane Anne's Saturn and drove to Washington with a pregnant wife, a two year old and two dogs.
We drove into Washington on May 10th, 2003. We found a townhouse in Puyallup, WA to rent. I was about to sign a year lease when Jane Anne and I decided to just sign the 6 month lease. We were so happy about that. The place was not the best. But, we lived just a few miles from a church that we found the second week we were in Washington. Bethany was an amazing place to attend church. Absolutely perfect. The friends we met and made there will last a lifetime. In September of 2003, David was born. Born isn't really an accurate description. He was taken through a C Section. If it wasn't for our friends at Bethany, I don't know what we would have done to get through that time. Then we moved onto Fort Lewis and lived there for about a year. Then Thomas was born. Through this time, I took command and had a great time for almost three years. On October 19th 2004, I and 227 of my Soldiers to Iraq for a year. Jane Anne led the Family Readiness Group for the entire time I was in command. The families enjoyed great support because of her hard work. I was pretty happy to fly back with my company on October 6th, 2005. When the plane's wheels set down at McChord Air Force Base in Washington, I almost lost it. A year worth of stress and worry washed away immediately on that cloudy Sunday morning.
I gave up command on March 2nd 2007. I hated doing it. I loved commanding. I loved the Soldiers. I loved being there.
On March 15th, I put my paperwork in to resign my commission effective September 15th, 2007.
Saturday is my last day in the Army. In ten years, I have lived in five states and set foot in six different countries. We met and still hold close plenty of friends in those places. But now it is time for the next chapter . I don't regret joining the Army and I don't regret popping smoke and getting out. I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would be like if we had missed all of the great things that have happened because I was in the Army. Thanks Uncle Sam.