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27 June 2009

Retirement (Surreal)

Well, had the retirement ceremony, so that chapter is all over with. It still seems totally surreal though. As I had said before, I didn't really WANT a ceremony, but I was pretty much ordered to have one. It was nice but in the end, maybe a little more stress than I wanted to deal with, and especially more stress than my wife wanted to deal with.

Had a couple of nice surprises though. My daughter did this very cool slide-show, and then my wife got a lady by the name of Phyllis Hasty to sing the National Anthem (she used to perform on Broadway). And my shadow box totally kicked ass! All I can say is that I am glad it's all over with.

Now to worry about finding a job in this economy... Wish me luck. Oh, I had promised to post my retirement speech. This is what I had written up before I went in to the ceremony. I didn't go too far off script, and obviously I didn't just read this, so the words may have come out a little bit different, but the gist is there:

Retirement Speech:
Thank you very much for your words Col Dantzler, and for dusting off your uniform once again to perform a retirement ceremony.

I would first like to start off by giving my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of you for showing up here to celebrate this transition in my life. I know this is high season for such events, and the demands on your time are many. I would especially like to thank my co-workers for putting in the time and effort to make this a memorable event. We all do important work up there in XR, and this was probably the last thing you wanted add to your plate. I’d like to thank the folks from around the base and community who are here as well. It means a lot to me to see you here. Especially those of you who traveled from far away, and had to deal with getting on the base.

I do want to make a special thank you to my wife and daughter. To my lovely wife of 17 years (although I was only home for 12 of those), Brooke. You are my best friend, and the reason I even managed to get to where I did. Words actually fail me in describing all you have done as the foundation of our family. Your service has been much more difficult than mine, since I was the one who volunteered for this life, and I dragged you along. It is for you that I am so excited about this next phase of our life.

Megan, like for mom, I just haven’t been around as much as I wanted to. I was doing what needed to be done; but now I hope we’ll be able to share more times like we did that weekend at Disney. You are smart, pretty, and just a lot of fun to hang out with, and I look forward to time that we’ll be able to spend together.

I know that we have kept you here for quite a while with all the letters, medals, Col Dantzler revealing my deep dark secrets, and the like, so I’ll try to be brief. As is normal at an occasion like this, I have reflected back on my career and am proud and humbled by this chapter in my life. Those who know me, are aware that I have aired frustrations with the Air Force’s ability to manage their rated officers, but I’d rather focus on how I served. If I had to sum it up in one phrase, I guess it would be, “Doing what needed to be done.”

Not for glory, or because it was the most strategic thing for my career, but because I felt that with my enthusiasm, skills, and personality I could have an effect on the direction of this world. Very few people want to be Protocol Officers, but it needs doing. I can’t think of a lot of people who actually wanted to be Tanker Toads, but it absolutely needs doing. Even flying C-21s, while probably a little more for me, let me do things that needed to be done, such as training younger pilots in the skills and techniques I managed to pick up in my career, allowing them to then pass those things on to others.

The last few years I’ve been involved in acquisitions. If there is any field that is far removed from war stories and glory, I would have to say this is it, but it is also the foundation of everything that the warfighter is ABLE to do. Sure, a lot of people are out there doing what needs to be done, but without this aspect, they would just be people with no tools. While the guys getting the medals and the heroes get the press coverage, and they humbly say, “I was just doing what needed to be done.” Remember that it is all of you who really make that possible. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many people from many countries and services, and while we pride ourselves in the training and education of our people, we must realize we’re all humans with the same basic skills and abilities, but the tools you all provide to the United States Armed Forces is truly and honestly what sets us apart.

And with that, I want to say that it has been my distinct honor, privilege, and most heartfelt duty to work with all of you. So, in closing, I just want to say thank you, and I hope that our paths will keep crossing so that I can keep working with all the folks who really are doing what needed to be done.

2 comments:

Ivan3man said...

Man, if I ever need a speech writer, I'll come to you; that was a splendid speech! Er... I hope that you did not fluff your lines like President Obama did at his Inauguration Day ceremony?

Larian LeQuella said...

Thanks mate! Actually, it was just a short and quick one. I threw it together in a couple hours. I didn't spend much time "crafting" it or anything.