I am sitting here a little amazed that today is actually the 20 year anniversary of the day I signed out of Active Duty Army. What is cool about it is because yes, I actually got out on Leap Day and it was in 1996. Of all the days to get out or have a significant event, it is crazy to think it was on a day that technically only happens every 4 years.
Yep, today was the day that was the culmination of an exciting Infantry career with the last 4 years being on jump status ands all that I had accomplished. I will never forget getting those orders for Bragg and me refusing assignment as a fast-tracking E6 who went to HQ to do a records review for the E7 board and me telling them “this is a waste of time, because I am getting out” and the look on that young E3 or E4 admin clerks face. I knew my time was done, and I made sure everyone else did too. They even had me go get counseled by a 1LT about what this means to my career. I looked at this guy who had probably half the time I did in the Army trying to tell an NCO what this meant, like I didn’t know. The funny part was it was my previous Battalion Commander who was the one who planted the idea in my head to get out. He and I had gotten to know each other well enough, even though he was a quiet and reserved man who had come from the deepest, darkest corners of the Special Ops world to do this command time. Anyway, he knew I was bored in the Army at that point and saw my excitement of fixing computer and networking (something I was doing for many at their homes and for the unit on their official computers), and had suggested I get out and do that as it was obvious I really enjoyed doing it.
At the time LTC Ray Melnyk (now retired) had started me on the path that I am still on today. Neither he, nor I could ever predict how good this would turn out. I had the luxury of running into him a few times at military conferences over the last few years and I always reminded him of the seed he planted.
Granted I didn’t totally leave jumping out of planes or the Army as I went into the National Guard the day after officially separating, but on this exact day (Leap Day) 20 years ago, I signed out from almost 10 years of active Army Service……