I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day because she mentioned that it seems like I had gotten myself into a line of work where I would be saying a lot of good-byes. Good-byes to family and friends in Chicago because since there are no AF bases there, as long as I’m in the AF, I’ll never live there. Good-byes to the friends I went through a debatably rough 5 weeks within COT. Good-byes to my fellow green JAGS as we all graduate from JASOC and move on to our new bases. And in 2 years (or so) I’ll be saying good-bye to all those I meet at Grand Forks. At this point the pattern is obvious. A life in the military means a constant stream of new friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and mentors coming in and out of your life. So why on earth would a person put themselves through that? Well, after much thought, I guess my answer is that if the price of having these people in my life is that I have to say good-bye to them from time to time, that’s a price I’m willing to pay. There’s a chance I may never see some of the friends I made in JASOC again. There’s also a good chance their our paths will cross again. As we’re often told, it’s a small Air Force. But either way, I feel lucky to have had them as a part of my life for even the limited time that I did.
So with that mushy stuff out of the way, let me get down to the nuts and bolts of graduation. On Thursday night we had our JASOC dining out. Now I’ve put lots of pictures up about dining outs and I think I’ve done a good job of explaining what they are like. But something I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned (TJAG can attest to my inability to accurately remember what I’ve said on this blog) is that every dining out has a Madam and Mr. Vice who act as part entertainment, part officiants of the mess (another name for the dining out). Think award show host. I was asked to be Madam Vice for our dining out and I reluctantly (and I really mean that, I did not see this being a good idea) agreed. Mr. Vice was Michael O’Brien who has made appearances in previous posts and who is a fellow JMLS alumn. We stumbled our way through the evening with arguably witty banter and some skipped or premature lines. But we were far from the highlight of the dining out. The spotlight definitely belonged to the real enterntainment – the skit and the Thunder JAGs. Now it’s impossible to describe either of these phenomenon so I won’t even try. But here’s a picture of the Thunder JAGs just to give you idea. This if from the D.C. Dining Out.
Now it might not look like much from this picture but trust me, plastic briefcases and some fancy marching make an awe inspiring sight.
The next bit of entertainment was the skit which made me almost pee my pants infront of a crowd of about 200. The skit ended with a song written and sung by my very musically gifted classmates. Now this I don’t even have to try to explain because luckily it was recorded and can forever be relived simply by visiting youtube.
Some of it might not be easy understand because of the sound or because they’re inside jokes but again you’ll have to trust me when I say it was very clever.
Dining out was followed by the obligatory game of crud. My parents were lucky enough to see me in action for the first time. It probably scarred them. For good crud playing pictures, check out Johnny Utah’s blog.
Some how we managed to get home at a reasonable hour and drag ourselves to our pre-graduation breakfast the next morning. Shortly thereafter we graduated. A simple shake, take, and salute and it was over. Here I go…
Phew, I didn’t mess it up. Then it was time for some final pictures in the courtroom at the JAG School:
And then it became time to say good-bye. This pictures says it all:
Well, I’m not actually positive what this picture says. I see some confusion from Amber and Joni and I look sad but in a creepy way. But we were sad but as I said before, it’s ok because this is not good-bye for good. This is good-bye until we next call to get help with something we’re working on (Amber and I already had that conversation today) or good-bye until our paths cross again and we can sit down for a beer and catch up (Joni and I will be doing that tonight) or even good-bye until I have something silly I need to text to you (Kurt gets more than his share of those). So it’s not good-bye for good. Far from it.