Hi, my name is Donald and this is my first post to this blog. I would like to summarize some of my experiences retiring from the military and some lessons and insights I have learned along the way. My job in the Air Force was a crew chief working on F-15s and A-10s. I have multiple deployments to the Middle East and recently Afghanistan. So when I retired in 2014, I thought I would stay in aviation since it was what I knew and I thought I could find employment in that career field also. Well, I was able to find employment easily, aviation mechanics are in high demand and companies value veterans and the training we bring. Civilian aviation is different in some ways from military but not a whole lot. Of course, revenue is the main focus of commercial aviation. Companies want their airplanes flying and if they are on the ground broken, it’s revenue they are losing. You can imagine some of the pressures that are placed on the mechanics. Not to mention the hours are terrible and working in the weather in Anchorage, AK can present very big challenges. So after trying out that career field for a while, I have discovered that aviation is not my passion, at least in the maintenance field.
I started volunteering at the Red Cross and Equestrian club recently and I have discovered new avenues that I never thought about as I talk with different people and get to know them. Helping people has always been my passion and I am finding tons of opportunities. Additionally, I am volunteering to be a mentor at the military youth academy. I now work part- time and volunteer in the community and do humanitarian work. When I first retired, my focus was laser-like on networking to find employment, resume writing and interviewing with companies. What I am discovering is that I can work part-time to supplement my retirement income and do what I really feel passionate about which I spend time with my family, and volunteer for my community. My perception is changing and I like the journey. My job no longer defines me as a person and I feel like I am contributing to my community in some of the same ways I did when I was in their service. There is nothing wrong with being passionate about work or trying to advance. Serving a cause bigger than myself has always given me my true purpose and passion and I am discovering ways to do that after life in the military. I look forward to contributing more to this group.