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Chad Pearce - Signed Articles of Agreement April 29,  2020, 108th Learner

United States Air Force

This is my beginning to My Life, My Lineage, My First Paperback Book. I invite you to read my journey as I compose each chapter of the 14 Level Reintegration Program. My success is your success and our community's success. Thank you for your courage and support. To post comments you must register with our community. You can view this outline I am using to map out my progess. Thank you for your comments, I value them

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  • Wednesday, June 24, 2020 17:16 | Anonymous member

    Are my interviewing techniques up to par?  A GREAT question for any separating veteran preparing to enter the workforce. 


    Before your palms get all sweaty and you feel your stomach turning in anticipation just thinking about interviewing, explore these 4 tactics in your interview preparation.

    1. Inquire about who you will be interviewing with:

    YOU are most likely being looked into by your prospective employer.  As a veteran, you know all about gathering intel and doing your recon prior to a mission.  So, put those skills to work and learn about your interviewer! LinkedIn most likely has some great information about the individual you will need to impress to land your job.  On that note, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to par as well! Learn more here: 20 steps to a better LinkedIn Profile in 2020

    2. Practice, Practice, Practice:

    Many jobs require someone who can think on their feet.  As a veteran you have been put in similar situations!   Maybe you were like me, a former Air Force Security Forces Member and had to give a “Post Brief” to the chain of command at any time.  Like an old supervisor once told me, you don't need to get ready, if you STAY READY!  Check out these example questions and answers to commonly asked questions during an interview: LinkedIn Interview Prep  OR Guide to Answering the Most Common Interview Questions

    3. Consider your non verbal communication skills: 

    It sounds basic, but at times it can be challenging to remember  basic nonverbal communication factors like smiling, posture and eye contact.  Studies have shown that 55% of communication is body language or non verbal communication. You aren't speaking to a Drill Sergeant when interviewing so don't be afraid to show off your non verbal skills! Just like practicing the questions you might get thrown your way, put some time into practicing your non-verbals. For more info review this video: 7 body language tips to impress at your next job interview 

    4. Dress for Success:

    In an interview situation, you're marketing yourself as a product, and you want and need to have the best image possible. With that in mind, it's ok to ask about the company's dress policy when you are first contacted about an interview. I wore a uniform to work for 20 years!  When I prepared for a job interview for the first time and peered into my closet, I felt panic.  I did a little research and found an organization in my local area that supported veterans by offering professional attire services. I would also suggest checking out a recent article by Indeed, What to Wear: The best Job Interview Attire

    Lastly, be confident! You got this! 

    Have more suggestions, lessons learned, tips and tricks?  

    I invite you to comment!


    Chad 


  • Monday, June 15, 2020 06:30 | Anonymous member

    Having a network goes deeper though than just the number of followers you have on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.  To make your network provide results it's imperative to get out of your comfort zone, learn and contribute. 

    20 years ago, I was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.  If you know of that base, you might understand that the base is basically in the middle of the desert, far from society.   It was there that I first learned the importance of having a network.  We leaned on each other almost like we were stationed in a foreign country.  We supported each other like a family.  Most of us were away from family so we became like a second family. Those were the days prior to social media and social distancing.  We spent all day at work together and followed that up with most of our off duty time together.  I met people from around the country, all who had a story to tell, I engaged with them and learned in the process. Countless times we would support each other and our families without question.  I keep in touch with people from that time period still to this day and if one of them needed me, I would be there for them.  

    Fast forward 20 years and I am back in California transitioning out of uniform and into the business world.  I may not be at Edwards Air Force Base any more, but my brothers and sisters in arms still continue to be a vital part of my network. I recently expanded my network with a fellow military retiree and “vetrepreneur”. He came from the generation before my time in uniform but never lost touch with the veteran network.  His mentorship and guidance have inspired me to follow my dreams.  I hope to do the same for the next generation of veterans.  

    I am also expanding my network far beyond the typical connections I have been accustomed to making. This new network has opened my eyes to all that I do not know. It can be intimidating at times stepping outside your comfort zone, but it can also pay huge dividends.  Just recently I met two fellow entrepreneurs who had no military affiliation.  We spoke a different language at times but we had similar experiences.  We shared knowledge and “joined forces” so to speak in order to help each other.  They opened me up to new ideas and opportunities. At times, my head was spinning...in a good way!  I shared with them the strategies and tactics I had honed over a 20 year military career, I think I might have made their head spin a bit as well!  Our collaboration showed me the power of networking. 

    I am no longer Chief Master Sergeant Chad Pearce, top of the enlisted force structure.  I am Chad Pearce, Retired United States Air Force who still engages with the network he established through 20 years of relationships.  I am Chad Pearce, Co-Founder Wingman Recruiting Solutions who is meeting new clients, candidates and fellow entrepreneurs daily and learning from them. I am Chad, the next door neighbor who is willing to network in my neighborhood and engage with my local community to contribute in any way I can.  It's a different landscape post military service, but with a vast network behind you, there isn't anything that you can't accomplish. 

    A few takeaways from my networking experience:

    1) Get out of your comfort zone! Don't be afraid to engage with new people, they can help you grow.  At the same time, stay engaged with the people you spent all those years in uniform building connections with. 

    2) Contribute! Networking isn’t about finding opportunities for you or “sucking up” to someone to get ahead in life. It’s about finding opportunities to contribute. That was a truth taught to me 20 years ago at my first duty station and it’s still true today.

    3) Learn, unlearn and relearn. The 21st century requires veterans who can master this concept. As futurist and philosopher Alvin Toffler once wrote: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

    Will you support me by becoming part of my network? Can I support you by becoming part of your network? Lets get out of our comfort zone, learn and contribute together!

    You can tap into a network by being a part of an organization like Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center.     REGISTER

    You can join my network directly: JOIN CHAD'S NETWORK

    Thank you for your support!

    Chad 



  • Wednesday, June 03, 2020 16:47 | Anonymous member

    Membership in local/national groups are  important to me post military service.  I've wanted to invest my time in areas like this for a while.  What's been stopping me you might ask??? General life issues I guess. But, no excuses moving forward.  I have a lot to give and a lot to give back! I'm also motivated by the networking aspects and staying in tune/getting involved with what's going on in my local and national communities. 

    I am registered with the VA but I don't have much of an affiliation with local and national groups.  I intend to take full advantage of all of my VA resources and get involved with the VA for volunteer opportunities. 

    I am currently a member of the Air Force Sergeants Association. I would like to grow outside of that membership into other groups. 

    So with that being said, I'd like this post to be more of a call for feedback and first hand information from my network who has first hand experience with local CA groups or national groups.

    I am considering the following but I am open to any others I am not aware of.  Please let me know your thoughts, experiences, and feedback: 

    WHAT SAY YOU COMMUNITY? 


    Next post up: What does my network look like? Is it providing results? 

    Chad 

  • Monday, May 25, 2020 11:24 | Anonymous member

    As I rise to the surface of my deep dive into the 14 Levels of Reintegration Blog, I discover that I am in somewhat uncharted territory.  107 others have started this blog but few have made it to the halfway point (post 7 of 14).  The difference though in my situation is that I am participating in this blog as part of my DoD SkillBridge internship with the ARRC.  So, I am still on Active Duty and fortunate enough to be going through a program that allows me to “decompress” some prior to rising to the surface that is my next journey post military service. 

    I feel that the design of this blog program focuses on supporting and empowering a veteran as they navigate the myriad of possibilities in front of them post service. The Blogger is forced to both look in the mirror and look out the window as they navigate through the blog topics.  All the while, the blogger must engage their existing network and grow their network in the process. Seems easy enough, but 107 others would probably tell you that's not the case.  The Founder of this blog/ The 14 Levels of Reintegration, is a Marine.  An old school Marine. Easy does not compute, that's why part of my training for this program was to study the refuse to fail landscape.  If it's easy, everyone would be able to do it right? Well, nothing worth having comes easy.  So, let's continue to rise to the surface!

    What do I need to do to network with all existing resources? 

    Existing Resources: 

    -Veteran Affairs (VA)

    -American Legion             

    -Mil Retiree Associations       

    -Disabled American Veteran (DAV)     

    -Small Business Administration (SBA)

    -Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

    -Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center

    -Numerous Veteran Entrepreneur Programs

    - Local Church, Family and Friends, Fellow Veterans 

    There are so many more resources than this, I know.  What do I need to do to network with my existing resources? Honestly, start engaging with my resources.  I need to learn what I don't know. No better time than the present! 

    I would also say that I need to change my mindset some.  Adopting a mindset of a lifelong learner is something I aspire to embody. Things in our world are changing daily and require us to constantly learn, unlearn, and relearn.  

    Furthermore, I am realizing more each day that so much can be learned about our resources if we actually take the time to slow down and listen to the people who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge.  One of the best parts of my internship so far has been meeting other Veteran business owners who share so freely their knowledge.  Each encounter with another Veteran business owner uncovers a nugget of knowledge on how to utilize a resource. 

    For those of you who have followed me and supported me through each post, thank you.  I am humbled that my network would take the time to provide feedback on guidance as support on my journey through the 14 Levels of Reintegration.   If you feel this blog could benefit anyone in your network, please share and invite them to engage. 

    What are other resources of any kind that you can recommend? 

    NEXT TOPIC: Am I registered with the VA, local groups and national groups? 


    Stay tuned. 


    Chad



  • Thursday, May 21, 2020 15:44 | Anonymous member

    The first phase of my assigned blog topics as part of my internship through the DoD Skill Bridge program have led me down a path of self reflection and personal growth.  That's been a solid foundation to my transition out of the military after 20 years of service.  I've appreciated very much all the great comments and support. 

    The next phase of the blog focuses on analyzing my resources, benefits and network.  Knowledge and connections are both important and should continue to grow throughout life. 

    With this post I seek to SHARE information and SEEK information from my network and hopefully my network's network.  There are so many benefits and resources out there that I need to discover and I know I am not alone.  I challenge all who read this blog post to engage by adding information, even if it's as simple as a link to a website that details a benefit or resource. 

    The focus of the information I would like to share and seek is for the benefit of the those looking to join the military, transitioning military and overall veteran community and their families.  

    A few stats about the transitioning veteran / veteran demographic:

    • Each year, approximately 200,000 to 250,000 military members transition to civilian society

    • There are roughly 18 million veterans in the United States today representing 7.1 percent of the U.S. population

    • The majority (91 percent) are men 

    • Half of all veterans are aged 65 or older

    • Twenty One percent of veterans served in the military on or after September 11, 2001 – we refer to them as post-9/11 veterans 

    I recently used the VA home loan and it was a tremendous benefit! The overall savings from this benefit made it possible for me to move home to California.   

    Benefit:VA Home Loan 

    Overview: A Veterans Administration (VA) loan is a mortgage loan backed by the federal government. No required down payment, no PMI, highly competitive rates, and lower closing costs are all great reasons to take advantage of this benefit. 

    Eligibility:  

    • For those currently on active duty 90+ days of continuous active service 

    • Active Duty Veteran eligibility is based on service dates and length of service

    • Guard and Reserve eligibility with 90 days of active-duty service or if you had 6 creditable years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard and meet certain criteria. 

    * Full eligibility matrix can be found on the VA website 

    Process: 

    • Determine eligibility

    • Select a VA-approved Lender. Only lenders approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can originate VA mortgages

    • Apply for a certificate of eligibility (COE) through the eBenefits site. Usually, a COE can be acquired online instantly through a lender’s portal or through the eBenefits portal on the va.gov website. Those servicemembers or surviving spouses whose COEs cannot be obtained online will have to get theirs by mail. A VA lender or the VA can help direct you to the right resource for your specific situation. Depending on your current status (AD, Guard/Reserve, Surviving Spouse) you will need to gather certain documents to apply. 

    • Your lender will process your application and VA appraisal 

    • Note: Working with a real estate professional who specializes in the VA process may help you get the most out of your benefits. This is true because the VA allows certain fees and costs to be paid by the seller (if both you and the seller agree), and a knowledgeable agent will know this and help you negotiate seller-paid fees.


    Bonus: Many states offer property tax reductions for qualifying veterans. 


    Community, I am SEEKING information from you! Join me in SHARING  information about a benefit or resource by commenting and sharing this post!  


    Chad 



  • Saturday, May 16, 2020 09:53 | Anonymous member

    Many of you reading this blog have a military background.  Goals and objectives are very much a part of what we do.  In my last role in the military I was deeply involved in the organization's goals and objectives. It took its toll over time, but it taught me so much.  I am thankful for the foundation the military gave me in this area. As I mentioned in my last post, I am seeking to adapt my approach and execution of my goals post service.  Balance is key. 

    I understand the importance of lining out the goals and objectives for my future.  Statistics show that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if they are written down.  Interestingly enough, a recent Harvard Business study showed that only 3% of Americans actually had written goals.  

    So, I can see why this particular blog post assignment is important as a part of this internship with the DoD SkillBridge program.   It's a great way to capture what my goals and objectives are and sharing those goals with my network is a healthy accountability measure. 

    It's an interesting time to capture goals and objectives.  COVID-19 has thrown quite a few things into a tailspin in most all of our lives.  Our health and the health of our family and community is a major concern, followed by our finances, job security and a slew of other things that we once felt so confident about.  Through it all, I am reminded to be thankful for my life.  I lean on my faith and family for strength as I am sure most of you are doing as well.  

    So many of us are going through a “shift” in everything we do.  I'll be honest, this is probably the least ideal of situations I was hoping for in terms of timing to separate from the military and transition into my next chapter in life.  I'm reminded of a quote I once heard; “ you can't stop the waves from coming, but you can learn how to surf!” Guess it's time to break out the surfboard and get after it! 

    Just yesterday, I had a call with my team.  We were discussing the new business plan for our company and having some tough conversations.  Things are different in the world right now when it comes to business. We were accepting the reality that the way we did things before wasn't the most effective way going forward. Our focus was on looking at ways to “adapt and overcome” with the current obstacles in front of us.  Honestly, COVID-19 or not, you have to be able to adjust.     

    This might not be the full mapped out SMART goals or a detailed strategic plan that those who know me are used to...but you know what, I'm good with that.  KEEP IT SIMPLE.

    GOAL: Prioritize My Faith 

    OBJECTIVE: Start and end each day with prayer/scripture 

    OBJECTIVE: Find a new church family in our community (Post COVID-19)

    OBJECTIVE: Step outside our comfort zone as a family and participate in activities that grow us as Christians 


    GOAL:  Maximize quality time with my family

    OBJECTIVE: Volunteer together in our local community on a regular basis

    OBJECTIVE: Spend one on one time with my Wife, Children, Mother, Father, Siblings and Grandfather daily. 

    OBJECTIVE: Take trips together each month (short and long)  


    GOAL: Grow a profitable business that supports Veterans 

    OBJECTIVE: Seek out knowledge/training/mentorship from Veteran small business owners/organizations over the next 6 months to finalize my business plan/strategy  

    OBJECTIVE: Become procurement ready for federal/state/county contracting opportunities during 2020 

    OBJECTIVE: Attend networking events quarterly throughout the year.


    Thank you for those that support me on this journey.  Your comments provide great strength.


    Chad 



  • Wednesday, May 13, 2020 10:23 | Anonymous member

    The assigned topic for this blog post: "what are my goals".

    In the military we subscribe to the “adapt and overcome mentality”.  It is imperative to assess the situation and determine where course correction is needed.  When it comes to my goals and how I pursue these goals, some course correction is needed as I transition from 20 years of military service into what this next phase of my life will be.  

    A priority for me as I navigate through this Learner Blog and internship as part of the DoD Skillbridge is self reflection.    

    Self-reflection is a process by which you grow your understanding of who you are, what your values are, and why you think and act the way you do.

    Just last week I was driving with my almost 14yr old daughter to our drop off point at the end of our weekend visit. If you are a non custodial parent, you probably can relate to the many hours spent in the car with your child dropping off and picking up.  The plus side to this situation is that we have had many long conversations that helped the two of us bond as parent and child.  Our most recent conversation was about her pursuit of her goals, primarily school and sports. 

    If you understand teenagers, you know that most of them are just trying to figure out their place in the world.  My daughter is no different, but she is a driven young woman who attacks her goals with a focus and determination that sets her apart from most people her age. I see myself in her. 

    Now, this is where the self-reflection sets in.  Our conversation this day on our drive to the drop off point was about how she feels her drive sometimes creates issues in her relationships with others.  She also feels extreme self induced pressure and anxiety.  She struggles with balance. 

    My heart sunk….. I have struggled with all these things in my lifetime. I had to fight back my emotions as we talked through many things on that drive, much of it was uncharted territory for us.  I shared experiences, spoke from the heart. We connected in a way that i'm not sure we have ever connected before.  I believe she helped me more than I helped her through that conversation.  

    So, yes, I have goals. I've pursued goals with all of my heart and soul through 20yrs of service. Some of these goals were individual, some were organizational and some were for others.  Some I chased for years before I realized they weren't worth chasing.  

    Through self-reflection I now realize that balance, pace, perspective, consistency, faith and most importantly the journey itself are the key takeaways after a lifetime of being goal driven.  I've also learned that individual goals fade quickly while shared/team goals and helping others to achieve their goals last much longer and are much more fulfilling.

    My current goals:

    Prioritize my faith, family, and overall mental health first.  

    Support veterans by partnering with them to find employment post service.

    Many things are incorporated into these two goals. Much of which will be explored in the coming blog post.  

    Stay tuned.

    Chad 




  • Monday, May 11, 2020 08:21 | Donald Stukes

    I am a 2012 Learner alumni and US Navy veteran.  I have had lots of ups and downs during my journey which is not yet over.  I have had to learn to be a learner in addition and in balance of my other life's responsibilities.  I am a VA rated disabled veteran and have done work recently to improve my rating.  One person does not make a team, you need the guidance and support of others who have been successful.  Don't give up and don't forget to pursue both mental and physical issues.  Once I receive my latest rating, I will post again.  I wish I could figure out how to post the image of my 2012 learners certificate.

    Godspeed, 

  • Thursday, May 07, 2020 10:56 | Anonymous member

    What Industry am I interested in:

    As I navigate my way through my internship with the ARRC via DoD Skillbridge, I am tasked with exploring the industry that I am interested in post military service.

    That's easy for me. However, I am keenly aware that many people are interested in a new industry post military service. 

    I ask you this; how many people do you know that love the grind? 

    How many people can you think of off the top of your head that are truly passionate about what they do? 

    They truly love showing up to the office every morning and love doing what they do. They truly get fulfillment, excitement and joy from their work.  How many?

    With 7 billion people on this earth, finding people who actually love what they do is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. 

    A recent poll showed that 70% of people in the US do not like what they do . World wide only 13% of people actually like going to work (Gallup 2014).

    Ideally, shouldn't we want a craft that we love so much that we can't wait to wake up every single day and spend time working on our passion? 

    I feel blessed that God has shown me my purpose and guided me to my passion. 

    March 2007 I started in the industry of Human Resources, as a Recruiter.  Prior to that time I was one of the 70% who did not see work as a passion.

    For over 13 years I have been trusted by people to partner with them to find their passion.  Not a job, a passion.  I've been blessed to have done this in the military, government sector and private sector.  I am an entrepreneur with recruiting running through my veins, this is my passion. 

    Blood Sweat and tears have gone into this craft. So many stories of people I have interacted with, grown with and been a part of their story as they have been a part of mine. Fellow recruiters that I have made life long bonds with in the "trenches" of this craft together, supporting one another. I feel so fortunate to call recruiting my profession. 

    A few stories stick out along the journey.  Two of them come to mind that I would like to document as a part of this blog.  

    Jeff was a TV Weather Forecaster for a local news station.  I met him at a job fair.  He looked and sounded the part of the Weatherman for sure!  I'm not sure if I recruited him or he recruited me to recruit him....never the less, we connected.  I learned of his crazy journey through multiple past tours in different services and eventual medical discharge.  He pleaded for another chance to serve in the military but explained that nobody would help due to the waiver challenge.  His passion to serve ignited my passion to recruit!  We spent the better part of a year getting him waivers to join. He showed such passion to continue to serve.  We became good friends through the process and I will not forget our journey tougher.

    Glenn was retiring from the Air Force and on terminal leave. After 26 years he was hanging up the uniform and looking for his next journey.  He was the first person I recruited during my time moonlighting as a civilian recruiter.  I laugh now because I stumbled through our initial call....rookie jitters set in for some odd reason. We hit it off and I saw myself in him.  We came from the same era in the military and had been many of the same places.  He became the Program Manager of the project I was recruiting for. We worked together to find veterans from all across the DoD to fill roles on a government contract.  It was challenging work but and we had a blast doing it together. It was that experience that solidified that I wanted to continue to do this type of work post military service.  

    I have many more stories I could tell.....so many people and so many positive experiences, each one provided the fuel to keep me moving forward.   

    I aspire to have the next 20+ years of service in guiding veterans to find success in their chosen industry as Co-Founder of Wingman Recruiting Solutions.  This internship with the ARRC through the DoD Skillbridge is a key element in my purist of my passion. 

     “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might” 

    Ecclesiastes 9:10 

    Chad 

  • Monday, May 04, 2020 14:51 | Anonymous member

    Who AM I 

    When I think of the phrase “Who Am I” certain titles come to mind.  I'm a Father, Husband, Son, Friend, Recruiting Agency Owner, Chief Master Sergeant (soon to be retired) and a Christian.  These help to get a sense of who I am but they don't exactly tell my story. 

    It’s a weird thing, telling your story.  As a point of reference, I'm the guy who has social media but never really posts.  Telling my story feels strangely selfish and also extremely personal.  However, the process of being a transitioning service member requires me to do some self reflection.  This blog and the Learner Program that is a part of my DoD SkillBridge internship with the ARRC are all tools in that transition.  I am grateful for this opportunity to grow and learn.  

    I was born in Olympia Washington February 12th 1980. I was the first born child to my parents Don and Renee.  They met in high school and married while my Dad was in the Army, stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington.  Mom grew up in Southern California and  Dad was born in Canada before moving to California  as a boy.  They were young, it didn't work out and they divorced when I was 5.  My Dad stayed in Washington and spent 30 years on the Washington State Patrol.  My mom moved home to California and started over with my sister Taylor and I.   

    I had a good childhood.  My mother and Step Father had two children together, there were four of us in the house, two boys and two girls.  We were an all American middle class family.  My Step Dad was a small business owner. My Mom helped him manage the business while raising us kids. He was a hard worker who was always hustling to provide.  My mother did her best to be the glue that held us all together, she was the ultimate CEO of the house. They were married for about a decade before divorcing.

    I stayed close to my biological Father throughout my childhood.  He would call every Sunday and send letters in the days before text messages and email.  He had remarried as well a few years after my Mom did.  They had a son together and my Step Mom had two children from a previous marriage who were close to the same age as my sister Taylor and I.  We would visit our other family in Washington each summer.  Bouncing between the two families was not ideal, but it showed my sister and I how to be flexible and appreciate two different lifestyles. 

    One constant in my life were my maternal Grandparents, or as I affectionately called them, Grandma and Pa Pa.  They were from the greatest generation and I learned so much from them.  My “Pa Pa” served during the Korean War and post service spent 35 years as an employee of Chevron.  Grandma passed in 2012, she was quite the character and I loved her dearly. Pa Pa is still kicking at age 91.  He reads two newspapers cover to cover each day and is still pretty darn sharp!  He calls me a few times per week, I cherish each call.  

    We moved to 1763 La Mesa Oak Dr, San Dimas California  when I was 7.  That was the street all my childhood memories came from  between 1987 - 1998. Those were pretty good years.  Days when kids played outside all day, drank out of the hose and played “ding dong ditch”.  When neighborhood sports, pool parties and late night roaming of the block helped to shape the interpersonal skills needed to evolve into young adults. Sometimes I'll drive by the old stomping grounds when I'm headed in that direction.  I make a habit to unroll my window as I drive through town.  The smell of the trees, sounds of kids playing at the park (although much fewer than when I was a kid) and sights of the places around town invoke memories of simpler times.  

    During the summer of 1997, I was visiting my father in Washington.  He had often told me Stories about his days as an Army Ranger. One story in particular sticks out to me; during his special forces training, he was required to chase down a chicken and bite its head off, crazy!  Although he was proud of his service, he told me “ Son if you join the service, join the Air Force, that's the way I would have gone if I did it all over again”.  I listened to my Dad and started the process to join the Air Force that summer, prior to my senior year in high school. 

    Life has a weird way of coming together sometimes.  As I prepared to ship for Air Force Basic Military Training, I stood in line at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).  I was nervous and a little worried about what came next.  As I peered through the line I noticed a familiar face! My Step Brother Ricky was about 5 spots ahead of me waiting to get his room assignment.   He had recently moved to California to live with his Dad and as luck would have it we were shipping out at the same time.  However, his father didn't give him the same advice as mine and he was joining the Army.  We ended up sharing a room that night and helped each other calm our nerves.  The next morning we both went our separate ways en-route to Basic Training.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that 20 something years later we both would have retired from our respective services. 

    Life also has a ways of working in cycles/evolution/chapters.  Those first 20ish years were my foundation. Those experiences and my faith I would lean on as I navigated challenging times through the next chapter in my life. Marriage, fatherhood and a career in the military would lay ahead.  It would be during this time I earned the titles of Father, Husband, Chief Master Sergeant and Founder.  

    Off we go, into the wild blue yonder……….

    Chad

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