Today is the third anniversary of my enlistment in the Air Force Reserve – my Air Force birthday! It means an increase of $15.20 for each drill weekend. Seems like peanuts, but we’re moving forward and that’s always a good thing, right?
I only recently was reminded that this birthday also means that I will receive the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, for three continuous years of service in the Air Force Reserve. As a former Marine, DH tends to laugh at how easily ribbons and medals are handed out in the other branches, but that’s how we do things in the Air Force, so who am I to judge? In a way, I understand where he’s coming from. I haven’t “done” anything, at least nothing that feels special or extraordinary. I haven’t fulfilled my enlistment contract yet, so yes, I did sign up for this. I’ve just done my job for the last three years. I’ve shown up. Maybe this ribbon seems like a “Everyone Gets A Trophy!” occasion for others, but I’ve also watched those around me opt to go into the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) left and right, leaving behind their military careers. It’s not easy, balancing family, career, and service, but for me it’s more than worth it to serve my country. We make it work and I see the value in continuing my service, despite the sacrifice.
So, I’ll wear my new medal proudly and pat myself on the back for the three year milestone I’ve hit today. Only seventeen to go!
In all seriousness, my personal Facebook status read as follows: “Three years ago today I stepped out of my comfort zone with the belief of “Better Late Than Never” in terms of goal achievement. I never wanted to look back and wonder if I could have served my country, like all of the noble and honorable people in my life. So I did it, at age 30. It was one of the best decisions I could’ve ever made for myself and I would do it again in a heartbeat.” My message is simple, but heartfelt. Whatever brings you to that recruiter’s office, I hope that you, too, are filled with the same enthusiasm on day 1095 (hell, 7300!) as you are on day 1.