When a military person retires, it takes 90 days for his paperwork to go through. They usually give the retiree time off to sell his home, take his kids out of school and find a job.
In my case, with a top secret clearance, I would need time for them to debrief me of all the classified material I witnessed during my 27- year Air Force career.
From the very beginning, my department was having a hard time finding a replacement for me. He would have to outrank the other four master sergeants in our department, and be able to know everything about printing, Message Control Section, Message Distribution Branch, Headquarters Tele-Communication Center Activity, and Communication– Electronics Operations Division.
They would need outstanding managerial skills, administrative ability, and personal military leadership for successful accomplishment of our 2044th Communications
Group mission to headquarters, United States Air Force and other governmental agencies in the metropolitan, Washington, D.C. area.
All assignments had to be completed on time and operations results had to conform to plan.
When they could not find anyone to replace me, it was decided that one of our shift leaders would be the next non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC), and that I would train him during my last 90 days there.
This master sergeant knew nothing about printing and when the equipment broke down, they were going to be in a lot of trouble. No outsider was allowed in our department. (I did not get one day off.)
My last day at the Pentagon, President Nixon handed me my retirement papers, and I left the Pentagon for the last time.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.