I don't know how the other services do it, but every quarter the Bureau of Naval Personnel sends us retired guys their "Shift Colors"
newsletter. Page 3 is always a short note from the Chief of Naval Personnel telling us how much he honors us (unlike when we were on active duty and treated as fungible depreciating chess pieces).
Here's VADM Hoewing's verbatim musings:
"I wanted to share my thoughts with you on the transitions that occur during a Navy career and why I want to stop using the word "retirement" to describe the final transition in Naval service.
I have long felt that there are three major transitions during a Navy career, each marking changes that bring new challenges & opportunities, all linked to create a career and a lifetime of service.
The swearing in when you put on your first uniform [...] is the first transition. (Skip a few sentences.)
The second transition is the career decision point... it's the waypoint where your job either becomes a career... or you take the education, experience, fond memories, and put them on your resume as "military experience." (Skip more text.)
The third transition is going ashore, an expression full of meaning to those of us in the sea services. Those who have never been in the Navy may look on this as simply leaving a job, but for those of us who have been at sea the term "going ashore" conjures images of bringing the ship back to port, sounding liberty call, and walking down the brow to our families. Going ashore for the last time marks the transition out of uniform. We may no longer wear the uniform every day, but the Navy remains in us and lives in that special bond between shipmates. Many of you continue direct service by supporting Navy organizations and therefore directly supporting the men & women in service today.
That is why 'retirement' is not the right term to describe the transition in our service. Retirement implies the end, and transition describes the passage from serving in uniform to a life guided and formed by your Naval service."
While I agree with the penultimate paragraph's sentiments, I don't know how his staff let him get away with his conclusion. He just finished 34 years of service
and he's probably in his mid-50s. If he retired transitioned tomorrow, VADM H would immediately start drawing a $110,000/year pension that includes a COLA and TRICARE Retired healthcare. Any bets on whether he'll ever REALLY transition... or just find another job?
If you're wondering why I read this rag it's for the reunion announcements. But now I'm eagerly anticipating the next edition of "The Newsletter for Navy Retirees Transitionees".