Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Could Have Been A Big Day For Me

While my resignation from active duty wasn't effective until September 15, 1990, I started burning up my accrued vacation time--"terminal leave", in Army parlance--when I signed out on August 1, 1990. What interesting timing, as the next day Iraq launched its surprise invasion of Kuwait.

That's how long I've been out of the Army. Imagine how jolting it was to receive the following email today:

USMA '87 60 day terminal leave retirees:

As your scribe / historian, I am responsible for keeping track of "history". Well, today is a historical day for the Class of 1987!
Today I think we ought to take a minute to recognize and thank those of you who have honorably served 20 years in whatever capacity and who are beginning your 60-days terminal leave (yes, May 27th is fast approaching). We've received several notes today about classmates that celebrated their retirement ceremonies and started "terminal leave" so I know you are out there. Congratulations and Good luck!

Odd, I don't feel old enough to be retiring. I guess that's a good thing, because I have 20 more years to go before I can retire!


Anonymous said...

It’s scary.

We met when we were both LTs and now I’m going to hit my 20 on May 17th. I’m still wondering how long after that date will I say in. Assuming I make the LTC board in September, I would like to stay in long enough to retire at it. However, one thing will make me put in retirement paperwork real quick…President-Elect Mrs. Bill Clinton!

Anonymous said...

You say "resignation from active duty," and as I know next to nothing about the military—are you still technically in the Army as inactive? Or whatever the correct terminology is.

Darren said...

No, I'm not.

West Pointers owe 8 years of service after graduation, but not all of it has to be active duty. When I left active duty, I was placed in the "inactive reserves", which means they *could* have called me back if they truly needed me. Eight years after graduation, I resigned from the inactive reserves and released from all federal service.

I could have joined an Army Reserve or a state National Guard unit, and then I'd have been in the "active reserves" or in the guard--which, as you know, can be activated and federalized when needed in time of war. I opted not to take either of those options, though--although I do have one (and only one) interesting story.

When I left active duty in 1990, it was the start of a recession. I spent 6 months looking for work--in Colorado, then Sacramento, then the Bay Area. I finally got a job. Just a couple weeks later the army called me (out of the blue) and said they needed someone to go to Iceland for 6 months, and my name was on the list. Would I like to go? If I hadn't just gotten a job, I'd have been on that in a heartbeat. Go check out how much just a week-long vacation to Iceland costs! Talk about timing.