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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 11:21 AM   #41
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Great article, enjoyed it immensely.

I'm saying the 'crashed out on the sofa' ought to be your new avitar....

Looks like we joined the military the same time, '78, but after two tours, I had to decide whether to "Do twenty" or not, because once you have eight plus four more in, pretty much over the hump.... of course, when I got out, no GI bill for me, VA benefits pretty much 'nil, as I was a peacetime 'tweener'. My dad was a 33 year Army guy, and while that worked terrific for him, I am glad I went the other direction, for me.

The thing I did do, which I would encourage everyone in military to do, whether you intend to retire from military or not is take advantage of huge opportunities to finish degrees, get professional certifications, attend advanced technical training, even cross-train to different career fields. I had the opportunity to retrain either as a navigator or as a physician's assistant, and I often wonder what would have happened had I taken one of those chances.

As it is, I got lots of training in my career field, and also did a stint as a technical instructor, so got training on speech-i-fyin', and other book-larnin' stuff like making up training material, lesson plans, tests and objectives and doing counseling.... that was a fun time, but I did learn that while often extremely rewarding, it was not a good long-term match for my temperament -- the students who were already motivated were a dream to work with and I got a huge kick out of watching them grow and become confident, but I had little tolerance, empathy, or ability to change those who were not already self-motivated... we used to have a term 'wall to wall counseling'...

It's dated now, but the old AF recruiting motto used to be "It's a great place to start!" and for those who can fit into a regimented lifestyle, it is indeed.

Anyway, great write up and good luck with your writing!
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 12:22 PM   #42
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
...We'd be up in your area this summer if there's a small college (5000 or fewer) with a good engineering (mechanical or aerospace) program and a women's basketball team...

But I'll be in West Point, NY on 26 May to help my nephew the Army Ranger move himself back to Fort Campbell.

I've been meeting one ER at a time... Laurence on a couple of his trips, Deserat last year, REWahoo! in San Antonio, Trombone Al in Waikiki on Thursday... when's your next Hawaii vacation?
Will be in San Diego in May, Toronto area in August (at a Lake), Mexico in Jan/Feb. Maybe we need to try for Hawaii in November? Any suggestions for an apartment to rent for a month. We also do selected home swaps (alpine skiing here in November).
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 05:31 PM   #43
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Nice interview, Nords. DH and I are hoping that we can follow in your footsteps. We still have 9 years in the military. If we can hang on for the retirement and continue to save above and beyond, then we have a good shot!!
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 06:31 PM   #44
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
before stumbling upon this forum, i had no idea as to the great benefits of government jobs. but just wondering, in particular, concerning military service. it looks like you entered service a few years after the vietnam war. would you have made that same career choice if you were of age during the vietnam war or would you make the same decision now during the iraq war?
Good perceptive question. The short answer is "I don't know, I was a 17-year-old kid with raging hormones and incipient substance-abuse issues". I doubt that much has changed at today's recruiting offices... your tax dollars at work, folks.

I've talked about Vietnam with quite a few USNA grads and I met several of the POWs. USNA in the 1960s/early 1970s was a very different place with physical hazing (today we'd call it "assault") designed to separate the "real" future officers from the draft-dodgers. Oliver North & James Webb (both USNA '68) are very much the products of their environment and Webb's books are very much occupational psychotherapy as well as autobiographical.

When American troops began to leave Vietnam in 1971, the USNA Class of '73 was getting ready to start their junior year and facing an imminent commitment to obligate for five years' service after graduation. When Nixon started Vietnamization, 25% of that class immediately resigned and total attrition at graduation exceeded 40%, which gives you an idea of how many were dealing with the draft through an institution of higher learning. Today many of '73 are taking the military's leadership reins, but that class still has the dubious distinction of one of USNA's highest resignation rates in the 20th century.

But from those talks and because of the huge challenge that USNA was during those years, I suspect that I would've found it irresistible. Remember the scene in Stone's "Born on the 4th of July" where Tom Berenger marches into the auditorium in full Marine dress uniform, impresses the heck out of the high-school boys, and they all race to the recruiting station as fast as they can? Or the USMC recruiting commercial a couple years ago where the slacker is climbing a mountain peak against a background of famous Marine battles, and gets saluted at the top by a fellow grunt? Back then I would've been leading the charge to sign up, and I felt that way again last summer when I saw USNA's recruiting video "To Lead And To Serve" with my daughter. Even my spouse, hardly a Navy shill, felt the tug.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
outside of patriotism, what do you have to say to yourself to be able to put your life on the line for a lifetime of benefits?
It's not about the money or the benefits-- that was the furthest thing from my mind when I was that age, although it gave me almost enough money to take care of my beer problem. I'm not sure that I was emotionally or mentally mature enough at that age to plead patriotism, either. It was about being able to challenge yourself to limits you never even knew existed, about being part of an elite group with an incredible history & traditions, and about getting laid seeing the world. Probably the same reasons that my 14-year-old daughter is so excited about joining USNA Class of '14 in a few years.

Right now a few infantry veterans are thinking "Heh, if I wanted a career of safety, luxury, & boredom then I would've joined the Navy too!" They need to compare the combat losses of the WWII submarine force to whatever the Marines & Army were doing. Those numbers were thrust in my face almost daily when I started submarine school and again when I was training to launch ICBMs on my first tour, just as Reagan was ramping up the Cold War against the Evil Empire.

As a young LTJG back then my motivation for risking my life was being able to retaliate against whoever was threatening us. Kinda like the Defense Language Institute students who wore t-shirts saying "We're learning to speak Russian-- so that you don't have to."

Remember 1986's Gulf of Sidra air strike, where Libyan air-defense systems shot down Navy aircraft and took POWs? I was on a deterrent patrol then and when the news rolled across the submarine radio broadcast our CO called us to battle stations. As we got ready to ripple-launch 16 POSEIDON C-3 missiles toward their targets, I realized that I didn't really care much about where or what or even who. I was just severely pissed off at 2:30 AM, very short of sleep and scheduled to take the morning watch in a couple hours, and hoping to quickly accomplish the destruction of the Soviet command & control infrastructure (probably along with a large portion of the rest of the world) so that I could get some sleep before I went on watch. (I'd certainly practiced it enough to be able to get it over with in a hurry.) I trusted that the "National Command Authorities" knew what they were doing in giving me the launch keys.

We were well into the launch routine before I realized that it was a drill. But the MAD logic of those days is still in effect, although more safeguards have been placed on the launch systems. If it's any consolation, exercise statistics from those days indicated that only about 75% of the boomer forces would launch, even upon receipt of a valid order.

I'd like to think that today I have a more subtle & nuanced appreciation of the military, especially since our kid has turned into such a wannabe. (Warning to parents-- apparently they really do listen to you.) I'd like to think that I joined the military to protect my family and my way of life. Today I think that a lot of my military experience is the teamwork, the camaraderie, and teaching the people I worked with you how to accomplish the mission. If I had to be recalled tomorrow, I'd report for duty just to be able to exert slightly more of a measure of influence & control over my fate (and the fate of others) than I'd have as a civilian. But the emotional truth is that when those bugles blare, I still get chicken skin.

Talk like this pretty much persuaded my nephew the Army Ranger to enlist, too, and he's done Afghanistan 2x plus Iraq. He doesn't talk about patriotism or money or benefits either-- in his case he wasn't ready to go to college and he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. He's graduating from West Point in May and all he wants to do now is take care of his platoon sergeants the way that they took care of him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I'll have to photoshop one of those pictures to include the klingon ridges...
Shouldn't be too hard, just reverse the process that Billy used to remove them...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRiP Guy
I'm saying the 'crashed out on the sofa' ought to be your new avitar....
Good point, it cost me a lot of money to buy that negative from my XO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRiP Guy
The thing I did do, which I would encourage everyone in military to do, whether you intend to retire from military or not is take advantage of huge opportunities to finish degrees, get professional certifications, attend advanced technical training, even cross-train to different career fields. I had the opportunity to retrain either as a navigator or as a physician's assistant, and I often wonder what would have happened had I taken one of those chances.
As it is, I got lots of training in my career field, and also did a stint as a technical instructor, so got training on speech-i-fyin', and other book-larnin' stuff like making up training material, lesson plans, tests and objectives and doing counseling.... that was a fun time, but I did learn that while often extremely rewarding, it was not a good long-term match for my temperament -- the students who were already motivated were a dream to work with and I got a huge kick out of watching them grow and become confident, but I had little tolerance, empathy, or ability to change those who were not already self-motivated... we used to have a term 'wall to wall counseling'...
Absolutely. I only had one shore duty when I wasn't a student or an instructor, and I dearly regretted being on SUBPAC staff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcowan
Maybe we need to try for Hawaii in November? Any suggestions for an apartment to rent for a month. We also do selected home swaps (alpine skiing here in November).
That's great weather, although it can be the start of snowbird season.

The best approach may be to look for rental condos in Kailua or Waikiki. (North Shore will be too expensive and too crowded with surfers.) There are also a number of condotels coming on the market, and by this November there may be a few discounts. Or maybe one of those home swaps will open up here? Personally I wouldn't go north of the 33rd parallel in November but maybe someone else misses the cooler weather...
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 08:26 PM   #45
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

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Originally Posted by Nords
When Nixon started Vietnamization, 25% of that class immediately resigned and total attrition at graduation exceeded 40%, which gives you an idea of how many were dealing with the draft through an institution of higher learning.
Nords, this is a little counter-intuitive to me. I thought it should be the other way around? When Nixon started Vietnamization (and troop withdrawal as well) in 1973, he basically removed the risk from officers-to-be. These Naval officers-to-be knew that they would most likely be sent to Vietnam as soon as they graduated, if not for that 73 policy change.

What did I miss?
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 08:33 PM   #46
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
Nords, this is a little counter-intuitive to me. I thought it should be the other way around? When Nixon started Vietnamization (and troop withdrawal as well) in 1973, he basically removed the risk from officers-to-be. These Naval officers-to-be knew that they would most likely be sent to Vietnam as soon as they graduated, if not for that 73 policy change.
What did I miss?
In 1971, the class of '73-to-be was two years into a four-year college program. If they'd started their third (junior) year, they'd be obligated to serve five years' active duty after graduation (up through 1978) plus three years of Reserve duty.

But if they got out before starting their junior year, they would've had two free years of college (with pay) and no service obligation-- plus they felt they were no longer in danger of being drafted. Their USNA college credits would have transferred to just about any school in the country and they could start college life all over again (with longer hair).

Maybe their upperclass midshipmen (classes of 70/71/72) were too hard on them and they quit when they got to a decision point. But the opinion of more than one '73 member was "draft dodgers".

During my midshipman cruises ('79 & '81) I learned all about the "hollow force" caused by the lowering of recruiting standard and poor retention. It wasn't as bad as it had been 5-10 years earlier but it still wasn't pretty.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 08:45 PM   #47
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Duh. Thanks.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 08:51 PM   #48
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Liked the part about Nords and his wife question regarding time together. Sounds like my wife and I. We enjoy each others company and love every minute of it.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 09:03 PM   #49
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Quote:
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Good perceptive question. The short answer is "I don't know, I was a 17-year-old kid with raging hormones and incipient substance-abuse issues". I
Nords: I enlisted in U.SM.C. on my 17th. birthday. I was afraid that they'd pull the pin on Korea, if I waited much longer.

Different mind-set in those years. WW2, and the "Greatest Generation" were only 8 years in the past.

I didn't miss Korea, and they didn't miss me. But I survived, and ended up with a life-time of "keep things in perspective" outlook.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 09:14 PM   #50
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

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Originally Posted by Jarhead*
I didn't miss Korea, and they didn't miss me. But I survived, and ended up with a life-time of "keep things in perspective" outlook.
Yeah, you crossed my mind when the recent scandal broke about Walter Reed hospital. Of course I'm not implying that Balboa Naval Hospital would have had anything like that happen in the last 50 or so years...

My standard for a "bad day" is relative to being the submarine's command duty officer during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Apparently I need to go talk to the VA about the long-term health effects of acute inhalation of volcanic ash.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 09:31 PM   #51
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Nords
Quote:
I'd like to think that I joined the military to protect my family and my way of life. Today I think that a lot of my military experience is the teamwork, the camaraderie, and teaching the people I worked with you how to accomplish the mission. If I had to be recalled tomorrow, I'd report for duty just to be able to exert slightly more of a measure of influence & control over my fate (and the fate of others) than I'd have as a civilian. But the emotional truth is that when those bugles blare, I still get chicken skin.
And this is why we are indebted to you and those like you who have chosen to serve our Nation. Iím serious about this. We have a great country, and we love our way of life, our freedom. we couldnít have the life we live with all the choices we have, if we had been born elsewhere. Billy and I are most grateful. Thanks again, Nords.

Quote:
I'll have to photoshop one of those pictures to include the klingon ridges...
Quote:
Shouldn't be too hard, just reverse the process that Billy used to remove them...
Although I have been to Hawaii (early 1970ís) Billy never has.. (Can you believe it?) He said to me this morning Ďuh, I guess I cropped out something important?í Gotta love that guy!

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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 09:39 PM   #52
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

I was a year ahead of Nords at USNA. I recall the late 70's as a really miserable time to be in the military. It was unpopular and those who were on active duty were viewed with pity if not disdain or active hostility. When I was on summer cruise in 1978 on an amphibious command ship in San Diego, I learned that many, many sailors were on drugs much of the time. The captain spent every day administering non-judical punishment to sailors who were busted for doing drugs, and I was warned which parts of the ship to avoid because that is where the crew smoked pot and they did not want even midshipmen around.

Perhaps the principal motivation for me to go in the military was for a college education. My parents, who never graduated from high school, had no money and no idea how one could go to college without money. The only two colleges I applied to were USNA and USAFA, because they were free. If my family had had money (or a clue about college), I am not certain how things would have worked out. That said, I certainly felt that I was part of a special group and I was proud that I survived a very challenging experience. Many did not -- of my entering class of 1323, only 969 graduated.

Going through USNA and my subsequent service in the submarine force has certainly given me perspective on life. The worst days of my life were Plebe Summer 1977. It has only been better since then. And having served on submarines, where if you screw up, you and 120 other guys could die, has certainly modified my definition of "serious consequences". If I screw up now, people might lose money and I might get fired and sued, but no one will die.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 09:59 PM   #53
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Great interview Nords! Very interesting reading from an "almost submariner".
Back in 1972 I finished second in my class at Submarine School in Groton Connecticut.
When it came time to pick our duty stations I looked at the list of choices and saw the numbers AS32. I asked the instructor what that meant and he said "you don't want that. It's a sub tender".
And you know the rest of the story!
Really enjoyed the 6 years in the Navy and I admire you for sticking it out. Good luck to you and I'll start saving up now to purchase your book.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-21-2007, 11:51 PM   #54
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Great interview NORDS. I hope the interview does bring military early retirees out of the woodwork. And hopefully you do write that book in the future because most military just go straight to second careers. I plan on following in your footsteps I have done 11 years active so far 9+ more and I will have the oppurtunity.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-22-2007, 09:14 PM   #55
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Gumby:
Quote:
I recall the late 70's as a really miserable time to be in the military. It was unpopular and those who were on active duty were viewed with pity if not disdain or active hostility.
I was in High School/college during that time and was generally confused over the war. It wasn't until Billy and I visited Viet Nam a couple of years ago (Viet Nam Travel Page: http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/...travelinfo.htm)

and had a South Vietnamese travel guide take us through the Cu Chi Tunnels http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/cu_chi_tunnels.htm

that I felt I finally got a handle on what happened and why. He gave us his side of the story and pieces of the puzzle finally fell into place for me.

Gumby:
Quote:
And having served on submarines, where if you screw up, you and 120 other guys could die, has certainly modified my definition of "serious consequences". If I screw up now, people might lose money and I might get fired and sued, but no one will die.
That does give you a useful perspective...

Thanks for serving, Gumby!

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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-23-2007, 10:27 PM   #56
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

I discovered this board via google about 3 years ago. I was searching out info on the internet on RE because over the previous year it began to dawn on me that I could and should plan on being finished with work before I'm 50. I don't remember what the specific search criteria I used were but it had something to do with military and retiring. Anyway the search led to a post by Nords. I have read here a lot since then (yea I lurked a long time before ever posting). As he has observed, we in the military donít regularly run into any of our kind that have done anything other than continue to work, work, work after retiring. Nords is a good role model and a natural mentor who is pretty generous with well considered and helpful advice and observations. Definitely a pillar of the FIRE community.
Thank you Nords. You look like a very happy dude in those pictures. May it always be so.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-23-2007, 10:50 PM   #57
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Nice interview Nords. Thanks!

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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-24-2007, 07:22 AM   #58
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

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As he has observed, we in the military donít regularly run into any of our kind that have done anything other than continue to work, work, work after retiring.
Well, career military is not known as a path for people dreaming of being slackers I do know of one guy who matches you and Nords. On rec.windsurfing there was a retired AF guy who lived in a small place near Hood River and was out on his board almost every day in the summer. He was living the life of Reilly and credited it to Uncle Sam. You guys contributed more than your share -- enjoy.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-24-2007, 07:39 AM   #59
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Excellent Nords.
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military
Old 03-24-2007, 10:44 AM   #60
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Re: Exclusive Interview with Nords!! Early Retiree from the Military

Nords,

Enjoyed the interview. I think you have your priorities straight regarding family versus service. Thanks for your service.

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