21 years ago today, Bryan held up his right hand and swore to uphold the constitution of the United States as a member of the U.S. Air Force.
Last year on 01 December 2019, Bryan retired from the USAF after 20 years, 7 months, and 3 days of service and I figured it was finally time to share about it.
Bryan originally wanted to retire at 20 years 3 days (all retirements fall on the first of the month) but had incurred an ADSC (active duty service commitment) due to our EFMP move here to San Antonio. So, 01 December was the next best thing. You know, people always talk about kids getting senioritis well, he had shortitis…big time. One good thing about our crazy lives plus all the retirement out processing tasks, there really wasn’t much time to be idle once he pressed the button. The ceremony truly seemed to creep up out of nowhere.
A couple of guys in the squadron took the lead, but if you know me, you know how type-A and OCD I am. This proved to be a challenge for all parties involved. I ended up taking the lead on the program, reception, and video tribute while they tackled the script, staffing, reservations, and shadowbox. Although there were moments I think we all wondered if it would come together, it did in a classy, low-key way, like the man we were honoring.
Of course, that I not to say there weren’t a few hiccups. After not using photoshop daily for a few years, I had to reteach myself that to put the program together.
I dilly-dallied and procrastinated on my end and then suddenly had 4 days to go through 20+ years of pictures and make the tribute video. All this while Bryan was out of town for 3 days immediately preceding his ceremony.
After doing the initial venue walk-through with Chief, I requested that the missing and stained ceiling tiles be fixed/replaced. Well, they accommodated that request. Only, this is what I walked into the morning of the rehearsal.
The same morning I was going to do all the rearranging of the room and decorating. To make it even more interesting, the only vacuum we could find in the entire gigantic squadron was old, decrepit, and had a full bag.
Oh, and a class was having a briefing in the auditorium, during our booked rehearsal time.
The reception area got cleaned up and decorated, the rehearsal got ceremony issues ironed out, and we had a few drinks that night at dinner to celebrate. The only thing left was to attempt sleep, get dressed, bring in the food, and pray.
Oh, and gear up.
We were honored to have our dear friend Taz fly in from Vegas to preside over the ceremony and be surrounded by family and friends. The ceremony was short and sweet and Bryan managed to hold it together (there were bets on how long it would take him to get emotional). I think he dodged that bullet because he got a sneak peek of the tribute video on rehearsal day. Bets should have been placed for that morning.
I could not be prouder of this man and his commitment to this country. Only 1.4 percent of all living Americans have served in the Air Force and of those, only about 17% stay until retirement. It takes commitment, a commitment most cannot comprehend. I am so thankful to have been a part of this journey and here’s to another life on the other side of retirement!