Preface: I served 6 years in the Unites States Air Force; Honorably discharged
Why you did, why you didn’t?[/quote]
Wanted to be the first in my family (on my dad’s side) to go to college and couldn’t see paying it for it out of pocket or taking out loans. This was the answer.
Didn’t want to fall into bad behavioral patterns such as shirking responsibilities and smoking weed all day with my loser friends (we were losers … a lot of them have grown up and turned out ok … some not so much). Had to separate myself from that environment.
Wanted to travel and see things on my own. Needed to grow the fuck up.
What did it do for you? [/quote]
Aside from my parents doing their best to raise me to have respect and discipline, I just didn’t have any for the most part. I didn’t “get” the real world or what it meant to truly work hard to achieve something. I was an average student in high school and never really tried. The Air Force whipped me into shape and improved my mental toughness. Opened my eyes to the real world and what it took to succeed.
What did you do for it?/[quote]
Gave my best and went over and above what was expected of me - something I had really never done in my life up until this point. Helped create and organize junior enlisted clubs at two of the duty stations I was at. Became a PTL and helped a few senior ranking (enlisted) members retain enlistment by helping them meet training goals.
Would you go back and do it again knowing what you know now?[/quote]
I wouldn’t just go back, I’d do a lot more than I did. I’d volunteer for a lot of extra duty and experience more of what the military had to offer. I’d get a lot more schooling done as well and put myself in as many leadership opportunities as I could. I tend to gravitate towards these roles as it is; learning from these people can only help me succeed.
Does it make you more patriotic?[/quote]
No, it doesn’t. It DID give me a better understanding of what it means to be American and a better love for my fellow humans, both foreign and domestic.
Do you like it or hate it when people say “thank you”?[/quote]
It’s very awkward. Most of the time I feel like people are saying it because they THINK they should. Not because they really want to say it. It was a very personal decision and experience to serve, for me. After I moved back home after separation, a good friend of mine (I was probably a year removed from separation and kind of having trouble adjusting to how different civilians are compared to servicemen and women) invited me to his house to celebrate Memorial Day and watch my town’s parade from the top of his street. I felt very uncomfortable with this (at the time) and flaked out. I felt it wasn’t just uncomfortable for myself, but for everyone else who was there. I didn’t like the attention.
My attitudes changed a bit now since I’ve been out for 8 years (jeezus … I can’t believe it’s been that long).
Regrets? Things you wish you did differently?[/quote]
I wish I hadn’t been caught underage drinking and got an Article 15 when I was a young airmen. Moving past that, I was nominated for Airmen of the year a few years after and probably could have achieve a lot more had I not been young and dumb.
Again, wish I would have volunteered for a few deployments. Wish I hadn’t been as selfish as I was.
It’s been probably the single most positive experiences in my life and has helped shape my work ethic and general world outlook about multiple issues. I wouldn’t be where I am today, who I am, had I not joined and that’s something I tell everyone who asks these general types of questions.
I truly and deeply respect and appreciate every serviceman and woman for putting themselves out there with the knowledge that they are putting their lives on the line. I’m proud to have served and I, quite honestly, think most young people should experience this if nothing but to gain perspective, direction and discipline - I would probably be aimless and have not accomplished anything had I not joined.