Sipping the Kool-Aid -- or Roger’s adventures in the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Cmdr. Roger Curry
  • 8th Flying Training Squadron
You'll forgive me if I get a little nostalgic. This article marks my last chance to communicate with the people of Vance and the Enid community. 

As I rapidly approach my 20th year of naval service, it occurs to me that I've spent over 11 of those years working with or for the Air Force. 

My first close contact was at VT-3, a Navy training squadron that is 50 percent Air Force. I served for several months at Joint Task Force-Southwest Asia, working for an Air Force major general. 

Later I lived on Andersen AFB, Guam, where my squadron was permanently based. In my next tour at the Joint Staff, I served under an entirely Air Force chain of command, beginning with my branch chief, then the division chief, deputy director, director and for a time, even the chairman. 

These experiences, combined with my time at Vance give me a unique perspective of being a Sailor who knows "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder" better than I'll ever know "Anchors Aweigh" -- which as far as I can tell is a college drinking song. 

So, now that I've established my credentials to intelligently discuss the Air Force -- what do I like most about the Air Force? That's simple -- the people! 

I've been so impressed by the dedicated professionals that I've had the pleasure of working with in the Air Force. From the most junior Airmen to our senior leadership, each and every one of them has impressed me. 

Despite whatever challenges I've faced here at Vance, it's the people that made it worth coming to work every day. If any of my three children ever come to me and say, "Dad, I'm joining the Air Force," I won't be even a bit disappointed that they didn't choose the Navy. 

One of my favorite duties as the senior naval officer here has been taking time to meet with each new batch of Navy and Marine Corps students while they are in Phase I of training. 

These discussions follow a fairly standard script and I usually finish by telling the new students to enjoy their time at Vance, but don't get used to air conditioned crew buses, aircraft shelters and plasma screens in every room. They won't have these luxuries back in "the Fleet." I tell them to "sip the Air Force Kool-Aid -- but don't chug it." 

As I prepare to leave Vance and the Air Force to head back to the Navy, I'm a little concerned that I may have done a little more than just sip the Kool-Aid. While I've never taken to pointing with my elbow, I'm trying to break myself of the "so to speaks" and such. I need to return to referring to hats as covers, walls as bulkheads, windows as portals, stairs as ladders, etc. 

Despite the difficulty I'll have relearning how to speak, the outstanding examples of leadership I've witnessed here at Vance have undoubtedly made me a better officer.
Thanks Air Force!