Today, the Air Force published the list of those who will be promoted to the rank of Colonel. My name is not on that list. I was “passed over” for promotion, and thus, my Air Force career will end as a LtCol. While I am disappointed, I am not surprised. Promotion in the Air Force is as much about being at the right place at the right time, as it is about judging people on their performance. Unfortunately, I have not had any of those key jobs that are differentiators in this process. It wasn’t for a lack of volunteering for those jobs, but just as a result of the jobs the Air Force has offered me.
Barring any unforeseen effort of the Air Force to force me into early retirement, my plan is to retire in the Summer of 2015. That will give me time to complete my obligation for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and give me time to get some civilian certifications that may help me getting a job. The Air Force may try to force me into early retirement by selecting me for a deployment, or by simply forcing me to retire. If those happen, I’ll have to adjust my plans.
The good news is that the skills I have in the Air Force translate in the civilian world, so it should be possible to get a job. I am actually excited to get into the civilian work environment. I will finally be able to settle down and hopefully call a place home for longer than a couple of years. I do not know if I will work for a military contractor, or go for a job in the pure civilian world. I would like to keep in engineering, and probably with something in computers.
Looking back it has been a good 21 years in the Air Force. There has been good and bad times, but for the most part I’ve had a good career. I will look back fondly at my time in the Air Force. But for now, time to look forward. If you are looking for an engineer or program manager, and can wait until mid-2015, please let me know.