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April 30, 2005

Random Remembrance

Over the 36 years, 10 months and 29 days Iíve spent going from a brown two-piece flight suit to a grey one-piece flight suit to a cammied two-piece flight suit, I did a couple of things that Iím really proud of, a bunch of things that scared the daylights out of me, a few things that Iím embarrassed about, several things that I regret not having done and nothing that Iím ashamed of having done.

Iím conversant in a couple of foreign languages and can make myself misunderstood in several more.

Iíve been to four continents and have made friends on each of them. I have been made keenly aware of the fragility of life on three of them.

Iíve eaten things that most of you would consider household pets and eaten others that any of you would stomp on in a heartbeat.

I learned early on to differentiate between a man and his rank and, slightly later on, that the life of a buck private is worth as much as that of a two-star general--and sometimes more.

Iíve led men in combat and taught others to do so. Iíve taught new pilots to fly new aircraft and Iíve taught old pilots a couple of tricks that have enabled them to become older pilots. Iíve repaid Uncle Sam for his considerable investment in me by saving five aircraft that, by all rights, should have ended up either as sheet-metal mulch or as smoking holes in the ground--although the fact that I happened to be in them at the time may have made my motivation somewhat less than altruistic...

I have lost a lot of friends, but have made many more. I have learned to be a friend and have learned, sadly, that not all who claim friendship are deserving of it.

I have learned that it is futile to try to pin an eel into a bowl of Jell-O.

And, after 36 years, 10 months and 29 days, itís time to move from flight suit and helmet bag to business suit and attachť case. Or flannel shirt, jeans and a hammer.

Yesterday was my last duty day. I complete outprocessing on Monday--if they find my %$#@! medical records.

Note to the YaYa BlogSisterhood: I called in a couple of favors and scored a one-piece flight suit. Heh. The 27Ē zipper ainít goiní anywhereÖ

So, you can call me CW4(Ret)BillT, or Bill the former Rotorhead or just plain ol' Bill--the beerís been on ice since yesterday and the barís open!

Par-tay!

[Armorer sneaks in, nails this up - copyright image, used with permission!)

Welcome to the All Service Semi-Old Farts Battalion, Bill!