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A satisfying feeling

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- During the November UTA, I traded my CAC card for a retired ID, received a letter from the White House thanking me for my service and took off my ABUs for the last time.  I'm retired.  I've told many people that the closer I get to retirement the happier I am.  Not because I'm disgruntled, absolutely not!  I'm leaving with a big smile because I'm extremely grateful for everything military service has given me. 

It's a satisfying feeling to look back at the years in the Air Force and the Air National Guard.  Selfridge and the 127th Wing has been an absolute gift in my life, provided me with opportunities and benefits that enabled me to thrive and succeed.  That's one of the best things about Selfridge; it has provided so much opportunity for those who chose to take it.  Though I must say, it hasn't been easy.  Service, commitment, and the demands that come with the uniform have been very challenging; and not everyone can handle it. 

Being in the Guard is a lot harder now than when I first came off active duty and reported to the 107th Tactical Fighter Squadron in September of 1978.  No computers, lax standards, easy going ops tempo, and "We're the Guard" was the answer to the active duty requirements.  Of course, along with that, the respect and benefits were just a fraction of what we have today.  In my first 20 years in uniform, I can't recall anyone thanking me for my service, now it's a regular occurrence.  Education, Tricare, and other benefits we take for granted were for active duty only back then.  The Guard has changed; the respect and benefits of Guard service has grown tremendously. 

Selfridge has changed: 20 years ago it looked old and worn out and now you see renovation everywhere.  With every change, I've seen a new set of opportunities come with it.  I'm not alone with this observation; so many fellow retirees have expressed the same appreciation about their career at Selfridge. 

Twenty-plus years of service isn't easy, not everyone can do it, but the reward is so much more than a retirement check for those who persevere.  My retirement letter from the White House says it well "take pride in the accomplishments and contributions you have made as part of the greatest fighting force the world has ever known."  For the rest of my life I will be proud of my service and all of those who served with me.  I'm very thankful for that retirement reward.

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 97th year of continuous military air operations in 2014.