American Southwest Family Vacation

We followed historic Route 66 on our way to see the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, plus much more in New Mexico and Arizona.

End of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Here are our stories from two and a half years of living in Saudi Arabia while exploring the region.

Excursions to Oman

On two different trips, we strolled Muscat, hiked Wadi Shab, and sailed a dhow through the fjords of Musandam.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Our Adventures in Sri Lanka

Safaris to spot leopards and elephants, swimming in the Indian Ocean, sipping tea in the mountains, and several more!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Air Force Experience: An extended metaphor (1 of 11)


My career in the Air Force is best summarized as the extended metaphor of taking a flight from one place to another. Let's represent my AF career as a DC-3 Dakota and me as the pilot. I boarded the Air Force as a Second Lieutenant, filed a flight plan that would last 20-years and deliver me to my retirement destination as (at least) a Lieutenant Colonel. I went down the checklist to ensure that I did everything necessary at the right time to ensure my safe arrival, the so-called ‘checking the boxes’ for appropriate levels of professional military education, deployments, staff tours, and advanced academic degrees. With everything squared away, I took off into the wild blue yonder.


I followed my flight plan from the US to Korea and then on to Germany, with a couple of pit-stops in the Middle East along the way. And while I had several other destinations planned, it became necessary to declare an in-flight emergency about 8 years in and start running down that checklist. The problem was that on my approach to a promotion board in December 2010, some gremlins started a fire in my starboard engine and fanned it with a missing performance review. In real terms, what happened was that a single piece of paper was misfiled, and therefore was not included in my promotion recommendation file.


Normally, this wouldn’t be very critical because you normally need to have done something wrong to not get promoted. But 2010 also happened to be the first year that the opportunity for promotion dropped from 95% to 90% for those eligible, and the board was looking for any reason they could not to select someone that might otherwise be eligible or "fully-qualified". You know, like not having their paperwork in order. So, the previously mentioned paperwork oversight and failure to be selected for promotion forced me to pull out and follow the non-selection checklist (the military loves checklists). The remedial action I had to take to get that engine up and running again was to file an appeal, one that hinged on the fact that my entire record was not reviewed due to an administrative error by the filing clerk.

Uh oh...
To read my Military to Civilian Transition mini-series in chronological order, Click Here.
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End Of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We spent two and a half years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State. As you migh...

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