As anniversary’s go, for me the fall months are a very special time. Not only did I start with ActioNet in November 2014, but also retired from Active Duty with the Air Force in 2012 after serving for 24 years, starting out when I was just 18.
I compare military retirement to that of a professional athlete. I strongly believe those of us honored to retire young enough from military service have to unique opportunity to reinvent ourselves for a 2nd career. Concerning my fellow military colleagues, I feel this transcendence is sometimes a struggle for us as blending-in and being a “normal” civilian has its challenges. Let me briefly digress. For the most part, the military is overly disciplined, very ridged and extremely check-list orientated…only to name a few. Everything else is quite the opposite. I understand why we do it and the dark shadow and reality of “loss of life” is justification enough for me. Conversely, it’s bitter sweet that this stage of my life is over, but still, like many other veterans I find myself always looking over my shoulder.
For me, this recent transition from military to civilian life may have been a little more seamless then some others as my Air Force specialty adapted with technology and the times from Information Management to Communications & Information to a Cyber Operations & Warfare Officer…which were all IT based/focused/related. But still, my extended military career was no different than others and peppered with tours and deployments to places we’d all prefer to forget.
As I reminisce on my 5th year into military retirement and my 3rd year with ActioNet, life does come full circle as I continue to reinvent myself with ActioNet. As I view the road ahead I’m optimistic and humbled to share my 24+ years of military and IT experience and look forward to many more successes with ActioNet and our Government customers at DOT.
In closing and on this Veteran’s Day, I offer a quote to ponder from one of this country’s true heroes from times past……
“I’ve learned that the freedom I sought and found is not always freedom in the common sense of the word. As I see it, men fight for the right to give their independence to those who love and respect it.” Audie Murphy
Lt Col (r) Shawn O., USAF