Jamie and I were talking the other night about the range of emotions we are both feeling about March 2018 being around the corner. We’ve had our eye specifically on March 2018 for two solids years.
If we can just make it to March 2018. I wish March 2018 would just hurry up. All of this will be behind us in March 2018. March 2018 will be here before we know it. When are you getting out? March 2018.
We’ve each said things like this 100 (1000?) times, and now… it’s here.
If you’re typically not a very patient person, you know that it’s often hard to wait for something that has a date that feels far away. Your wedding. Your baby’s due date. Your loved one’s return from a deployment or extended time away.
Your ETS date out of the military.
You feel stuck between wanting time to fly by so that you can get to that certain date on the calendar, but you’re also very aware that you should be soaking up the life that’s happening all around you in the meantime. It’s a weird balance. I’m sure you understand.
Jamie decided that March 2018 would be his last month to wear his active duty Army uniform because that is the earliest he can get out. He commissioned on May 22nd, 2010 (his graduation day from West Point) with a five year commitment, but he added on a three year commitment so that he could have the possibility to exercise the GRADSO option (basically an unmatched opportunity where he can pick any school in the country to get a Master’s degree, and not only will the Army pay for it, but they’ll also pay him his salary. It’s a crazy good thing.)
Signing the GRADSO eight years ago committed him to three additional years of service even if he didn’t exercise the opportunity (obviously he’s not). If he would have gone to grad school (something he would have started last summer), he would then have a 12ish-year total commitment. We’ve always known that if he’s going to exercise the GRADSO (a.k.a. 12 years in active duty), he’s doing the full 20 (to reach retirement benefits). Lots of parentheses in that paragraph. 😉 Just want to make sure you get it (as much as you could from a silly Army wife’s blog of course). There I go with the parentheses again. Anyway!
He has 60 days of leave saved up, which is why the end of March is it for him. He’s actually starting his new job mid-April, which he’s thrilled about. He is seriously so dang excited every single day to start his new job. I am so happy for him that he found something that allows him to go from Intelligence in the military world to Intelligence in the civilian sector, which is a true passion for him. (I kid you not, he listens to a podcast with daily Intelligence briefs just for fun each morning. #nerd #butahotone)
Once his commitment on the active duty side is up, he’ll enter the Reserves. This is a decision we’ve been hemming and hawing about for months and months, but things became crystal clear once he accepted his job and we compared benefits. Financially, his service in the Reserves is a no-brainer decision, at least for a few years (it’s a three year commitment). Plus, his new job is full of former military members who highly encouraged him to look into the Reserves. Jamie was (and still is) so grateful for that kind of support. Wow.
He’ll have to drill one weekend per month, but the site he’ll report to is 10 minutes from our new home. He’ll also have to go away for 2ish weeks every summer which totally bums me out, but as the old adage goes, you don’t get something for nothin’. If we want this transition to be a bit smoother and more predictable benefits-wise, the Reserves is an obvious choice for us. Also, he’ll technically be deployable between that second and third year with the Reserves. The idea of him leaving again gives me heart failure (someone hold me), but we know we’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.
Plus, Jamie’s heart still beats to the pitter patter of the Army song (march aloooooong…). His heart still deeply desires to serve, so the Reserves will allow him to gently ease out of the military and still put on his uniform occasionally (I’m not complaining about that part – ha). There’s a lot of jobs out there besides the military that involve traveling, so I’m trying to think of the Reserves that way. At least it’ll be somewhat predictable!
But let’s chat about how all of this “I want to get out of the Army” static started swirling around in our heads a couple years ago. I’ll share in Part Two of this series tomorrow. <3
PS: Just so you know, all of this is shared with Jamie’s permission and approval, considering he is the central figure. 🙂
To continue reading part two, click here.