Well, later today I'll be attending my last unit drill as an active reservist, although I expect to go in a couple of more days to wrap up a few odds and ends like NCOERs and PBO issues.
I first went through Jackson Gate at (then) Fort Devens in the fall of 1973 as an ROTC Cadet from Northeastern University. It's been an interesting adventure since then. I ended up serving in the USAR, the National Guard and on active duty. I was on the front lines of one Cold War and in the rear during one hot war.
The only time I've been downrange of live ammunition was as a reporter for a daily newspaper, despite being in uniform for so long.
I got to ride in some UH-1s and CH-47s, a C-17 and a C-130, among other aircraft.
I got to see Germany, Crete, Romania and Iraq.
I met many really neat individuals, along with a handful of not-so-neat ones. All-in-all, though, I'd have to say that America is fortunate in that it really gets some top-notch people to defend her, despite the fact that America rarely shows its appreciation. Being a media person, I've gotten to know a lot of people who have, er, generally negative feelings about the military. (A feeling that's reciprocated by military types towards the military). I wish there were a better bridge between the two, because they have more in common than they might think. Both military and media people have an idealistic and principled way of looking at the world that's not really shared by the general population, in my opinion.
But this month I'm closing the chapter on the military side. I think I'll be with the media a little longer. I'll do my little bit to help bridge that gap.
It's been a true pleasure to serve.
Tomorrow I'll pass down that same road from 1973, although the MP gate is long gone and Ft. Devens is now just "Devens," with the Devens Reserve Forces Training Area taking up just a tiny part of what the old post did. The uniforms have changed a lot, too. Back in 1973 we still wore the green fatigues. For most of the time since then I've worn BDUs, but now we're in ACU's. The body inside the uniform has changed a bit, too. There's rather more of it than I'd like, actually, but the years will do that to you.