I Joined the Navy 23 Years Ago and Retired Last June...AMA

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1MechEng's picture

What was your favorite port of call while on board ship (besides the home ports)?

Trust me! I'm an Engineer.

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BuckeyeChief's picture

As a single guy? Curaçao. The island was great, food was great, clubs were great. I met a beautiful lady and had a blast until her husband showed up.

Married? Cobh/Cork Ireland. A lost of history there, and I got to go in 2001 and 2014.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Fatpants's picture

“In the Navy” by The Village People: accurate depiction of life in the USN or just a darn good song?

PG <3 PG

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Darn good song, lol.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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1MechEng's picture

Second question - did you ever participate in a "Line Crossing" ceremony?

Trust me! I'm an Engineer.

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BuckeyeChief's picture

YES! I carry my card with me 24/7. Best part of my time on CARR.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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xbuceye's picture

Congratulations on the retirement Senior.

I've been out since the mid 90s and still miss it everyday.

I'm surprised you were only on 5 ships in 23 years. I got to spend time on 13 ships in 6 years. Many of them multiple times.

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BuckeyeChief's picture

I was stationed on 5; I rode 38/39 at ATG.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Gratefulbuck's picture

What was your best marathon time?

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Marathon time sucked, I didn't prep for the hills and only attempted one. 1/2 was 1:46:59 at the Silver Strand in San Diego; the Clydesdale medal is in my shadow box.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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BurningRiverBuckeye's picture

Will Braxton throw this year?

Thank you for your service!

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BuckeyeChief's picture

No and thank you.

As someone dealing with a possible shoulder injury, I definitely don't blame him.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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BuckeyeChief's picture

God Shamgod? no. But the one time NIKE king of the court, Erron Maxey, his older brother was in my bootcamp division. Solid dude, good life advice and I should have listened to him a bit more...he was close to 30 when I was a young 18.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Umm...wow...I see what you meant.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Buctor's picture

Congrats Senior Chief!  Hope you enjoy retirement and do not miss the Navy too much.  Do you plan to stay in touch with any of your shipmates?

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!

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BuckeyeChief's picture

I do stay in touch, but mostly with my guys. The guys from my last two commands, especially the junior guys, I contact a lot to see how they are doing, motivate them and stay on their ass.

My last command was rough, but I am in touch with a ton of folks from my last ship.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Buctor's picture

My father was a WWII army man.  He attended reunions late in life.  Appeared to wish he had started going much earlier.  Went along once because it was out west and he was not sure about the drive.  When together, they behaved pretty much like the kids they were back then.  Lots of love for one another, but virtually nothing about the war.  It was heart warming to see!!

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!

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BuckeyeChief's picture

I will say this. My last ship was rough. The CO was a maniac and everyone was miserable, but I love those fuckers like nothing else. To my point, I had a ton of guys from that ship at my retirement ceremony...dudes came from out of state to be there. Pure love. I don't think I'll ever be in a situation like that again. 

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Buctor's picture

Unfortunately there are some strange people that somehow rise up the ranks, in and out of the military, but there are usually many more good one!  Remember the good, forget the bad!  Easier said than done though!!

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Oh he was smart a could have been a good CO but he was insane.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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High St Heismans's picture

Buctor 

Unfortunately there are some strange people that somehow rise up the ranks, in and out of the military, 

There are quite a few of those in a local school system.In public they're pleasant in private they are the plague.Actually shocking there in't mor work place violence

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Buctor's picture

Forgot, spent a week at Naval Station Norfolk twenty, twenty five years ago.  Visiting our son.  Having worked a WPAFB for most of my life, Imhad seen military post up close.  But Norfolk was pretty impressive.  

Again the contact stuff.  Just this week my son made a call out to Oklahoma to the only person with the right name he could find on the internet.  It was his old shipmate.  He was both shocked and elated he found him.  It was fun to watch him tell the story of their conversations.  

Been retired for about ten years, the thing I miss most is old friends.  

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!

HS
BuckeyeChief's picture

Definitely and thank you for your service! What was your rate/ job?

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Buctor's picture

Apologies, I usually make it clear I was not in the service.  I was a civilian in both the Air Force and Army labs.  I too had a couple of miserable supervisors.  Both also had some amazingly great ones!

I am a Materials Science and Engineering major.  Went to grad school on the Air Force's dime.  Worked primarily electronic materials growth for the AF.  And gave basic science research funding to university professors for the Army.  Have great, great memories; work with great, great people.  Again, maybe a few not so great, but most were incredible.  While I miss the work a bit, I miss the people a lot more.  

Have felt for years, I am a most lucky fellow.  It is a too long story, but I just fell into the opportunity, dumb luck.  I might deserve credit for being smart enough to enter the door, but only did that because of my wonderful wife telling me I was nuts to turn it down!!

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Gotcha! That's awesome though. Were you in the same general area or did you move around a lot?

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Buctor's picture

Was at WP for 27 years.  Did travel to west coast a lot.  Our type of work lent itself to working current materials issues as well as doing research on new materials.  But it was all TDY, not permanent change of station.  Then the last seven or eight years was in the Research Triangle Park area for the Army.  Travelled even more in this position.  But mostly to universities and sometimes to military bases or D.C.  Again, all TDY.  These jobs allowed me to work with absolutely the best and brightest, this sure keeps you humble!!  But it also enabled meeting the same type people from all over the US and the rest of the world.  It was fun on so many levels.  

There are times when it is hard to have faith for the future, but meeting all these amazing folks renews that faith.  There are incredibly brilliant people out there.  One of the neat things about the Army job was meeting a very large number of grad students.  You can't help but believe in a better future after interacting with these kids!!!

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!

HS
Hovenaut's picture

How much has Naval Station Norfolk changed/grown over the years?

For context - I separated coming up on 25 years ago, and last made it down there about 15 years back. The noticable difference in just that time was the security protocols post 9/11, but also drawdowns and BRAC activity throughout the years looks to have changed the scenery base-wise, with what seemed to be a good bit of growth in the Hampton Roads area overall. 

Thanks for this, Senior - good to have a fresh AMA around here again.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Man. The piers (finally) got re-numbered a few years ago! (No more pier 24 and 25). Also, there is now a random Wendy's in the pier 6 parking lot. The Exchange is huge, commissary is the same. A few new gates, but also familiar, like going back home. There is a somewhat new gym by the carrier piers. 

The old furniture store by the main gate is now SURFLANT. lol.

Lastly, when I checked onto COLE, there was like 2 DDG's, a TON of FFG's/CG's/DD's. Now it's damn near all DDG's. It still blows my mind.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Hovenaut's picture

The parking lots...searching for your car after returning to port...that takes me back. 

I vaguely remember some of the civilian business off  the main gate/Adm Tausig Blvd - there was a strip club across the street from the Hampton Inn...short on cash, long on time. 

Early on, underage, spent time at Va Beach - there was also a bar on base that served 18 and up (active duty). Once legal, I remember hitting spots downton - Granby had/has a good number of bars iirc, also hit some around ODU campus area (shot a shit ton of pool at Friar Tuck's). 

I'm way overdue to get back there, want to take the lad down to see some boats...sounds like there are still plenty of them.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Surprisingly, Hampton Blvd has cleaned up a LOT. That, you wouldn't recognize at all. The Hampton Inn is still there.

Friar Tuck's and the 4400 club are gone...that is where ODU's new basketball arena is. 

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Hovenaut's picture

4400 club...

Yeah, I remember you mentioning those spots were gone. Man, good times.

Just remembered Peabody's in Virginia Beach...what a shit show that was. I used to frequent a spot called Hurricane's - gone now, but believe it was down Pacific going towards the inlet. 

Top ports for me also include Curacao...along with Ibiza and Nice, France. 

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Peabody's is still there. LMAO. F that place...long story i'll discuss elsewhere, lol.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Also, I spent my 21st bday at 4400.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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osu78's picture

Trip down memory lane. I was in the Tidewater area in early 80's. Met my wife at Sing A Long with Pappy Walsh at Little Creek. Her dad was stationed their with NATO and she was a student at ODU. ODU was still a small school downtown. My (illegal) radar detector always went off going through the tunnel between Norfolk and Newport News.

Top Ports: Lisbon and Wilhelmshaven.

Fair winds and following seas, Senior Chief.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Thanks boss. The Germans are awesome. We deployed with them as part of my 2014 NATO deployment.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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BuckShotGinn's picture

Congratulations!  I only did the 6 year stint in the early nineties based mostly in Charleston, SC and refitting out of Kings Bay, GA.

Sometimes, I think back on how nice a pension would be at a relatively young age had I stayed the full 20.  But I realized how impatient I was to leave the service and doubt any scenario or other wisdom would have convinced me to stay.

Definitely had some great times and memories, but the little things like getting a 2 week delayed radio message out at sea that Buster Douglas had beat Mike Tyson (unthinkable at the time) , Holiday's away from family, etc. was why it didn't end up a career for me.

Enjoy your new life adventure!

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Thanks...I deployed a lot and missed a lot, but only 1 Christmas and three straight Thanksgivings. 

SCPO, USN (ret)

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RubixTube's picture

Sadly I don't have any questions but I wanted to stop & thank you for your service. 

Never before in the history of man have lives less lived been more chronicled. - Dennis Miller

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Thank you!

SCPO, USN (ret)

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NHBuckeye's picture

Thank you so very much for your service, Chief!  

The question that everyone needs to answer:  is a hotdog a sandwich?

Fields of Dreams

 

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BuckeyeChief's picture

No. 

I basically skipped every class to hang out at Larkins. When I did go to class, it was to flirt with TA's or girls in the class. I ended up in some girl's room whose boyfriend was an OL at Penn State. One WR's girlfriend was always asking me to hang out. It was a blast and San Diego was just a bit better.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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NHBuckeye's picture

One of my new regrets in life is that I didn't get to cross paths with you in Columbus.  You sound like someone I would have liked to hang with.  

Fields of Dreams

 

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Or you might have said "this dude is an immature jerk", lol! I had a blast though, but I really, really needed the Navy to grow up. Thanks though. I really need to get back and hang out with you guys.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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McBane's picture

Get out your crystal ball, Chief.  What will the Browns record be a the end of next season?

You used to be cool.  What happened to you?

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BuckeyeChief's picture

12-4 and at least Division Champs and one playoff win.

I'm 100% over the Giants ownership, GM and fanbase and I'm getting ready to totally free agent myself to the Browns (my second team) until Gettleman is gone. I just picked up my first Browns hat since '99. 

A fanbase example of the Giants: "Haskins sucks and was only successful because of all the talent around him/ the Big 10 is weak/ anyone could have done it". I asked on a message board if anyone there actually watched College Football or just made shit up.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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McBane's picture

My man!  

You used to be cool.  What happened to you?

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Beantown_Buckeye's picture

I'm an Eagles fan and am terrified the Giants will draft Haskins and I can't root against the guy. The weird thing is I have a bunch of Giants fan friends, and like you said, almost all of them don't want Haskins even though they are sick of Eli. It's bizarre. They do all hate Gettleman though. That seems to be universal.

Thanks for your service!

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Thank you!

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Weave77's picture

What was your favorite Ohio State game/moment that you experienced while at sea?

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BuckeyeChief's picture

At sea? No doubt the bama Sugar Bowl. I watched it crossing the pond with Kyle E (who sometimes posts on here). We chugged coffee, smoked a pack of Newports and stood up all night watching with a bama buddy. Most of the Mess got up at halftime and watched. We literally watched the game all night, showered and went to quarters and worked a full day.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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BuckeyeSki's picture

Being a fellow G-Men fan (and 11W OG since around 2006) are you sick of hearing all these Browns fans celebrate getting OBJ for a bag of chips and a Valtrex Rx?

Leave one wolf alive....and the sheep are never safe

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BuckeyeChief's picture

See above...the Giants will always be my favorite team, but ffs, I can't pull for this regime. I can't blame Browns fans.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Also, jeez the majority of the Giants fanbase drives me insane. I'm defending Haskins like he was LeBron vs gsw.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Seattle Linga's picture

Life's biggest regret ????????????????

Go get'em Cal Poppy - we are behind you !!

It's not a rivalry .............. it's a wreckoning.

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BuckeyeChief's picture

SO I could go with pissing away my scholarship or failing out of OSU, but I won't for a few reasons. If I hadn't done those things, I may not be alive, I would not have met my wife nor had my kids and I wouldn't have been able to mentor a lot of the guys and girls that I did...some of those kids had no one in life and I was able to provide a positive influence and show them that you can overcome the odds and people's perceptions of you. Without a doubt I had several people in the Navy who saw a spark in me and believed in what I could become, even if I fought it for a long time...some simpy pushed and pushed and pushed until I caved in and others coached me. I feel like all the shit I went through and every mistake I made helped me relate to junior Sailors and young Officers. 

So, my biggest regret was over-extending on my current house before the market crashed in 2008. I am finally over the hump on it, but it crippled me for years.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Also, my wife was not happy when she found out I could be a JROTC instructor and keep mentoring young people and I chose not to. She said I was wasting my talent, but I countered with my daughters need me more. 

Once my PMP and Master's are complete, I may get back into the mentoring realm. I do try to help out some of the folks I collaborated with at Toledo who are 22-23 years old and still finding their way.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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McBane's picture

Memekus:  creative poetry, or shameless attempt to earn helmet stickers?

You used to be cool.  What happened to you?

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BuckeyeChief's picture

both, lol.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Top o' th' Mornin' to ya, Chief!

So, what was the most unusual thing you witnessed/experienced while you were at sea? If there's more than one, give me the top three.

Go Bucks.
 

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Mornin!

Hmmm...my first Gulf deployment was wild, seeing the animals that were abandoned floating around (dead cows, etc) and we picked up a dead body on that one, as well as the crazy boats everywhere.

Seond would be the Panama Canal. That was quiet and experience, and believe it or not, a lot of guys just stood around topside with no watch just to see it. I have video somewere that I'll post.

Third? (PLEASE NO POLITICAL COMMENTS!!!) Was when I was Command Advanced to E-5. It was a bit of a shocker, and this was when the Vieques bombing range was a huge issue. I had just got advanced and I got a phone call to come to a space. A bunch of the Puerto Rican guys onboard where having a meeting and wanted my thoughts on what we should do to prostest. My response was something like "I don't fucking know but I just got capped so I don't give a fuck about Vieques!" the protest ended there.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Gratefulbuck's picture

That first view of Panama City is a sight to behold and seemingly comes out of nowhere. 

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BuckeyeChief's picture

We were only supposed to be there for a month, but we were there for about four and a half. I spent a lot of time in the downtown area.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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OSU56's picture

Chief-congrats on retirement and THANK YOU for your service!!! I as well as many others appreciate all that you and the others have done for our country!

Enjoying daily the 62-39 ttun beatdown.

 

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Thank you!

SCPO, USN (ret)

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

Chief- a followup question:

I noted that you spent the same amount of time in the Navy as I did as a full-time public school teacher- 23 years*. I don't mind admitting that I struggled somewhat with the opening months of my retirement from the profession in terms of reorganizing my social routines and work and spending habits.

What was the hardest thing you had to adjust to as you transitioned to civilian life?

* Actually, 22 in a re-read.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Finding a job, for sure. For what I attempted to do, I had the knowledge and skill-set but not the contacts or Engineering degree. The job that I did start off with was way off-base in terms of salary with how the West Coast and other realms of the Navy paid. (For example, San Diego and the Sub community pay way more that the Norfolk Surface community for the same job). Also, working out and staying in some sort of shape was tough. No one cares if I'm in shape or not and I have to force myself to lose weight and stay in shape...plus my knees/ back/ shoulder aren't in the best shape so it's a struggle. 

I seem to have found my way, but I need my MBA now to keep moving up. (I got the job I mentioned a few weeks back, but the Contracting Officer wouldn't let my company promote me).

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Mean Mr Mustard's picture

I was surface but I currently work for a sub defense contractor.

I got an engineering job right out of the Navy w/o an engineering degree with another defense contractor.

There are head hunters that specifically look for veterans.  I'd concentrate on defense contractors myself

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BuckeyeChief's picture

What was your rate and where are you now?

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Il_Padrino's picture

Mind shooting me a note about your company and/or any other companies you may suggest?  I am about to wrap-up a 33-year career and want to go contracting vice government service route.  Thanks!!!

Living the life!  Go Buckeyes!  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!

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BuckeyeChief's picture

How about you? How was the transition?

(I also noted that it was a bit of a shock from the military side in someone is responsible for you 24/7 so you can't just screw off, but when you are retiring, no one gives a shit. It's almost as if no one really cares because you are not a useable body. It was pleasant, however, when I realized that I can do essentially whatever I want after work/ on weekends, go where ever I want and as long as I'm back for work, i'm good).

SCPO, USN (ret)

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

How about you? How was the transition?

It was rough in spots. Had to realign spending priorities to focus on the essential as opposed to frivolous. Had to find hobbies and routines that were challenging and stimulating and keep me out of my wife's hair. I've also embraced the role of house husband as my wife works toward her PhD. All in all, a change in philosophy of living in my so-called Golden Years. I'm on an even keel for now.

Thanks for asking.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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BuckeyeChief's picture

It is different for sure. I took up fishing again, even though I only got out a few times last year. I have also been able to watch more sports than I had since 2005 or so.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Also, you are welcome!

SCPO, USN (ret)

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KBonay's picture

How are the Hemorrhoids?

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Terrible, but Ikea's cool.

SCPO, USN (ret)

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KBonay's picture

What started your fandom of Disney, and more specifically, your pin collection?

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BuckeyeChief's picture

We took a (entire) family trip in 2005, and then the four of us in 2007...as a whole, we just fell in love with the magic, the history, and it is a strong bond between us. My oldest and I love the Buckeyes, my wife and I trying new foods and traveling and my youngest and I eating...but all of us love Disney. 

Pins? I have no idea but it started off like, hey that one is cool, i'll just buy one...and it kept going. My coin collection is huge but as a retiree, it won't grow as much, so I can focus on shoes and pins. (I've actually thought of downsizing my coin collection).

SCPO, USN (ret)

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osu78's picture

Do you have the OSU Mickey Mouse Pin?

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Yes, I do! It is one of my favorites!

SCPO, USN (ret)

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scriptingwins's picture

Thank you for your service. Currently in Korea for the army. Definetly one of the best decisions. Definetly can relate to the toxic unit can relate to that, to many people trying to out piss each other. Can make service a bear. But drive on. Hope retirement is well. 

excuses are the nails that build the house of failure.

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Thank you for your service!!!

SCPO, USN (ret)

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SpaceBuckeye's picture

Not a question. Just two statements.

1. Thanks for your service brother!
2. Go Air Force!

Those who say they can and those who say they can't are both right. Which one are you?

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Thank you for your service!

are you holding out for a Space Force position?

SCPO, USN (ret)

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SpaceBuckeye's picture

Oh...I'll be in the Space Force if it happens. I was an MP but since reclassed. Now I'm a Space Operator in the world greatest Air, Space and Cyberspace Force, hence SpaceBuckeye.

Those who say they can and those who say they can't are both right. Which one are you?

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BuckeyeChief's picture

That’s pretty cool!

SCPO, USN (ret)

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Major H's picture

Again, late to the party, but I must say, "Thanks for your service." 

I'd rather be an hour early than a minute late.

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BuckeyeChief's picture

Thank you! 

SCPO, USN (ret)

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GunnerBuck's picture

I retired as a Senior Chief (E-8) with 22 years, but knew from the time I was a Second Class that E-8 was going to be my terminal pay grade. The Navy promotion system is weird.

 Yes it is. I was active for 5 years. From an early "age" (as in in the Navy) I was thrown into leadership roles and feel like I did fairly well with them. I made E4 in under 2 years ( started as an E1, that's why it took 2 years haha) and was thrown into an LPO spot a month after getting frocked. At around year 3, I was done. I was done getting fuc'ed over countless times and done with the lack of real leadership and worthy advancement system. I never took an advancement exam serious from that point on. 

"Come on, you sons of b!tches! Do you want to live forever?" -- Dan Daly, WWI

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Buck68's picture

Good morning, Senior Chief!

So many things could be said, so many more, cherished.

Thanks for what you have shared with us.

Thanks for your service.

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High St Heismans's picture

Thanks for your service,Jim Beam,Jack Daniels or George Dickel?

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Sanantonefan's picture

A bit late--thanks for your service and hope retired life treats you well.

I retired from the AF after 25+ years. Would've joined the Navy (dad's best friend was a retired Chief and my borther in law is a retired Chief), but had a 1 year old. No ragrets! (lol)

I was lucky enough to get a job back with the Air Force, so the adjustment wasn't as hard for me. 

It always seemed the Navy got to go to much cooler locations. Served with a few Navy Chiefs--talk about some crazy dudes. Enjoy!

You Got Barbecue Back There!?!?!?!

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Il_Padrino's picture

I made Chief Petty Officer 2-years after you joined the Navy and I am still active duty... Retiring 1 Sep 2019 with 33-years, 21-days of total service.

You never left Norfolk?  Wow.  Wish I had been so lucky as to stay in one place for my career.  My upcoming move will be #27 in my career - it is now a science to get packed up and unpacked.  Mrs. Padrino can get the house fully set up with pictures and curtains in less than 72-hours. 

Doing VA stuff right now - in fact this week I had most of my appointments.  I like the fact you can submit your claim while on active duty and have an answer before you retire.  At least a person knows their % from VA to better plan. 

Congrats on your career!!!  What are you up to these days?  I'm seeking contracting opportunities and plan to stay in Italy. 

Anyone thinking of going in the service or recommending your kid do it; don't think twice about it.  Great career opportunities, great pension, retirement comes with medical and dental for life, etc. 

Living the life!  Go Buckeyes!  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!

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