One shot



30 Years.

Had I stayed in uniform that long, I would have passed 30 years last week. What a life’s experience the military was. What memories! I, like thousands of others like me, spent the bulk of my adult life in uniform. The military made me grow up, to learn what it meant to have character, to take responsibility.

That’s why it is important to go out right, starting with a good retirement song. The tune that gets played when you get piped ashore for the last time is important – it tells your friends and family all they need to know about you, and puts an exclamation point on a career in uniform.

“God Bless the USA” is always a good one. “Take this job and shove it”…not so good.

If you’re looking for a poignant farewell song, try “It’s hard to say goodby to yesterday” by Boyz II Men.

“Beat it” by Michael Jackson…maybe not.

A Master Chief friend of mine walked off with “Free Bird” blaring through the speakers, which was a nice touch. I used “Mud on the Tires” by Brad Paisley.

Believe it or not, there are career military personnel who have refused to have a ceremony at all. They just signed a few papers and walked out the door.

What a shame.

There are a lot of do-overs in life, but not when it comes to retiring out of the military. You get one shot to celebrate a couple of decades of the best years of your life, so do it right. Go out in style. You deserve it.

On that note, I got an email the other day showing an officer going out with a bang. I don’t know his name, but people will be talking about his retirement for a long time.

Piping Ashore
Remove Shirt
Cut trousers into shorts
Remove shoes and socks
Ready to roll

This man is my hero.

His final song? Not a clue. But I’ll bet Jimmy Buffet sang it.


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1 Comment

  1. Good post! Thanks for your service. I remember your ‘toons in the Stars and Stripes. Dam we are getting old. I draw SS this month.

    All I could take was 4 Years in the AF. I was too independent to put up with the politics stateside that I encountered.

    I came close to re-upping when I was at Da Nang (1970) because we were really working hard with no BS getting in the way. We were working with live Ammo daily, so it was serious. I was in Missiles.

    I spent the last two years at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, and was marking time to separation. Almost everything was Pilot training, mostly with inert Ammo.

    And true, I was no longer a child when I got home.

    Again, Thanks Jeff


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