Konnichiwa! (A new chapter begins)

Only a few weeks after returning from a year-long stint in Afghanistan, I’ve received orders to serve in Misawa, Japan.
Only a few weeks after returning from a year-long stint in Afghanistan, I’ve received orders to serve in Misawa, Japan.

(For my Facebook readers, Facebook is horrible at displaying pics with it’s matching blog post. Please click the “view original post” link below to see pics properly.)

Prior to my leaving McGuire Air Force Base to serve in the ‘stan, I ran the base’s Public Affairs Shop as the Chief of Public Affairs.

I was not the only Air Force Officer to leave his office to deploy. Many of the officers I served with were also in charge of their respective offices in the US, and had to leave them to serve in the ‘stan.

This situation causes a problem for military bases across the US, because while the bosses are away, the offices are left to fend for themselves (as a far as leadership is concerned.)

To make matters worse, it’s no secret that servicemembers are tackling multiple deployments with only a few months of rest time in between. It’s not uncommon for someone to spend a year (or more) deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, return to his family in the US for about six months, and then be ordered to RETURN for another deployment elsewhere.

In fact, during the last few days of my stint in the ‘stan, two members of my team received orders to RETURN to the ‘stan for a future deployment. They received these orders WHILE THEY WERE STILL SERVING IN THE ‘STAN! (Can you imagine looking forward to going home, but KNOWING that you were already ordered to return?)

So, knowing that military bases in the US will not likely have stable officers to lead their sections (because they’ll keep leaving every few months,) US Base commanders have begun to take matters into their own hands. They’ve begun replacing military leaders (who keep leaving the office to deploy,) with Department of Defense Civilians (who, as civilians, are less likely to deploy.) They’re hoping that by having civilians in charge, they’ll be able to develop the continuity that is repeatedly lost each time a military officer is tasked to deploy.

That’s the scenario that played out with my position.

I returned to the US to find that my position as Chief of Public Affairs had been filled by a civilian. I was a little disappointed at first, but I can’t deny that it’s best for the office if they have someone they know can stay put for a while.

Still … what about lil’ ol’ me? Am I out of a job?

We received word this week that the 35th Fighter Wing, home of two F-16 squadrons, needs a Public Affairs Officer.

Misawa, Japan, here we come.

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