When it was over at March AFB, I would seek transfer to McChord Maintenance. I had left maintenance in good standing at McChord in 1991. I had left March maintenance in good standing in 1990. They had seen how I worked hard to earn my 5-level in minimum time before transferring to the 728th. With 15 years time in grade, the maintenance folks at McChord actually showed me that they were putting me in a Master slot. They were bending over backward to welcome me.
My last road trip from March would go through Death valley to see the golden bloom of flowers that show themselves once in decades. I would then spend a few days in Babbitt, Nevada with friends from grade school. We would spend the night on Walker lake and see the August supermoon rise above the end of the massive lake.
The first drive down the long McChord road to maintenance was Pavlovian. My BP would rise, I would get an ache in my heart, and the feelings of 313th rejection would invade my mind. I was a piece of shit to them.
My supervisor at maintenance was one of the best trainers and NCO any organization had to offer. I had known him since 1989. Instead of going with the flow, I would mentally implode and engage in the final destruction of my military power base. He would attempt to help me resolve my demise, but it would be to no avail. I would give them the dysfunctional person that the fucking 313th fancied me as. It would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In return, the Squadron Commander would block my ability to stay at the maintenance job. Hell, I hadn’t even gone to get uniforms or do any sort of base check in. Moreover, the manning folks would later only allow me to work pushing on cargo, given that maintenance was now in full on rejection mode. They did not want me around their precious C-17. They would also give me the opportunity to go back to March. but I declined.
My retirement ceremony was sitting by myself in a hanger with a C-17 watching some Chief retire and a maintenance monkey showing everyone how he could turn on power on a C-17.
At March AFB, with 15 years time in grade, I could have been promoted for a day and retired. The rules would change. Not only would I have to stay 2 years after C-17 training, I would have to endure 3 years as an E-7 for the retirement aspect. Everybody else was promoted to Master and then left. I would have to play the game another 3 or 4 years just for $300 a month in retirement pay. The final kicker that set off my final mental demise was observing one of the Senior masters that I would be working for. He thought he was some kind of C-17 Gawd and would sit there in self-absorbed silence. He would not acknowledge a person when they came in the room and thought his shit did not stink. He showed that he did not value human equity or even the most rudimentary requirements for communication sustaining or nourishing interaction. No smile. No handshake. No kindness or professional courtesy. I wanted to shout out, “You are a fucking ass hole aren’t you, too good to say hello? Fuck you!” There would be no way in hell that I would lower myself to this level of crap interaction skills. I had worked with the best people in maintenance at March, and this fella’s professional demeanor smelled like an outhouse rotting in the Arizona sun. I would rather fuck a pig than work for a fella like that. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me.
By August of 2005, I was making $250,000 a year in rents and equity growth not counting my wife’s $120,000 a year NIKE income with stock options. I had built a building and a business from scratch and run a successful business until I was activated. I had a 4-year college degree in technology, education, and training. I had an A&P license and FE tickets. Above all, I had decades of aviation experience from Boeing to operations and maintenance. Had I been mentally healthy, and been able to muster the professionalism that had been presented to me at the 452nd, I would have run the 446th flight line. This mother fucker had nothing on my me except functional mental health. By August 2005, my blood pressure was 160 over 120 and my military moxy was completely gone. Instead of self-managing so the organization would tolerate me, I could not tolerate them. I would retire January 2006. I blew off all the bullshit retirement classes and the exit physical and told the Wing to simply put me in the Retired Reserves.
The loss of status would be atrocious. At one point, the associative anxiety disorder and loss of military affiliation would make me feel like I was having a heart attack. I would have to go to the VA emergency room and be put on BP meds along with a mental evaluation. Of course, there would be nothing wrong with me and as a conservative in the fight, I would never ask for a handout. After seeing all the patriot wounded, I would be ashamed to ask for anything save happiness and contentment. I had way too much dignity to ever ask for any sort of military welfare. Claiming any level of stress disorder would have been a cop-out and an insult to the troops that went door to door in Iraq.
I would email an ART at the 729th asking for a slot and he would say yes on my very last day prior to going to Retired Reserve. God bless you! You do not know what that meant to me at that time. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.
The next 5 years would be hell as I repeatedly fixated with being in uniform again. I had lost status. I had lost a business. The less than spectacular camaraderie was replaced with zero communication. Even though I was a multi-millionaire, that status would mean nothing next to the loss of status as a C-141C Flight Engineer.
At night, I would have fitful dreams about being in the Air Force uniform. My wife and all my friends would stand by as the desire to serve would rise and fall for years. I was going to do this and I was going to do that. They would stand by me and nourish me back to full strength.
The transition after service from 1978 to 2006 would be horrendous. Brodheads had been serving in uniform on the North American continent since 1664. In addition, I was conditioned to love the military by a father that spent 22 years in SAC and was exposed to Agent Orange for 6 months in the jungles of Vietnam. My entire life was a strict schedule of patriot conditioning.
Lastly, My great plus Granduncle would be the Commander of the Western department during the American Revolution. He had also served with George Washington through many battles as well as Valley Forge. He would almost be Court Marshaled for using military recruitment appropriations to feed his starving troops versus recruiting more men. He would be stripped of his command for the remainder of the war after putting his life on the line for close to a decade. George Washington would promote him to general as well. We were among the Founding Fathers and supported the troop’s tooth and nail. I would be stripped of my military affiliation after diligent service to the country. I honored my family name and did what I had to do. Mental derangement and incompetence would force me from the field. Brodheads rose up against British Tyranny before George Washington even got out of bed. This Brodhead would help recruit folks from McChord only to be shit on by a few. Brodheads would serve during 8 long years of the American revolution only to be shit on by the War department.
You see, in order to remove myself from the Air Force and enjoy the freedom that I had fought for, I would have to murder my status. That was the only way out for me. It would have to be a dirty divorce. No, if and of butts. I would burn the bridge at both ends and let it fall into the Potomac. There was no other way out.
Today, I am entirely healed up and a very happy person. Instead of retiring a Master, I bought another rental and promoted myself. In lieu of a $300 a month retirement increase and dealing with McChord assholes, I can look forward to $1500 more a month and none of the bullshit. I am my father’s son and I learned from his mistakes. Brodheads took care of the troops at Valley Forge under the direst circumstances. I would take care of the troops flying air evacuations out of Iraq. The Founding Fathers were our “Band of Brothers”. The 730th would be mine. That’s all I have got. Now if you will excuse me, I have to count through these Benjamins and head to the bank……..I love you all !!!!!!