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Hasta La Vista...Baby

Last week I received bittersweet news: Human Resources Command approved my “Request for Unqualified Resignation from Active Duty”. What do all those words mean in English? That, on the 22nd of July, 2011, I will no longer be an active-duty member of our armed forces.

A civilian I will be.

This brings up several questions. First, why? Most immediately, my wife is finishing graduate school in California, and we didn’t feel like waiting another year to live together.

The next question, so why not make the Army a career? The simple answer is that the Army was never a career for me. It was a way to serve my country during a time of need. In return for my service, I gained valuable leadership experience and a pretty healthy pay check. In July, On Violence will also host an entire month of posts about why, after serving in the Army, I still don’t want to make it a career. In addition, expect some more guests posts around the interwebs explaining my issues with the Army’s culture.

What will you do? At this point, I haven’t solidified a plan. The long term plan is to attend graduate school a year from this fall. In the interim, the possibilities are varied, from writing a book to joining the reserves. I do know I want to keep serving the country, hopefully by helping our veterans--either disabled or homeless.

So how does this affect On Violence? Hopefully, it shouldn’t. If anything, it will free up one of the writers to express himself more. For the foreseeable future, Eric C and I want to keep publishing at On Violence.

The final question, will I miss it? I will. You can’t devote five years of your adult life to an organization without good memories slowly crowding out the bad. The memories of smoking cigars with a group of guys in Afghanistan, talking about nothing and everything has replaced the memory that one person in that group will never join in another BS session. Regular emails and facebook updates remind me of the good times, but can’t erase the image of a girlfriend/fiance/wife in tears every time I had to leave again.

Come July, though, the next stage begins. Stay tuned.

ten comments

I’m excited for what this means for the future of the blog.


Congratulations – Is defense contracting in the horizon? If so, the blog will have a new reincarnation.


I hope you end up at UCLA for grad school. There’s a student veterans group that’s been started here that could use your leadership.


Congrats! Make sure to pay good attention during ACAP, take notes, seriously.


Civilian life isn’t so bad. Though, if you want to go to the range, now you’ll have to buy your own ammo.


- No idea if I will become a contractor. Right now, I am open to all options. – UCLA is a possibility for grad school, Vicki. I am also going to start emailing ROTC commanders in the SoCal area to see if any jobs are open for ROTC instructors (CPT level, either contractor or reserves) cause I would love to train new leaders too. – Will do Chris.


Congratulations Michael.


Be a civilian instructor for MICCC B1 block, let your students out out by 1200 every day.


Good luck with all your future endeavors, Michael. I’ve really enjoyed your writing. Also, as someone who is contemplating an entrance into the Army’s Medical Service Corps as a psychologist, I’m really interested in your future posts on Army culture.


Nice one Stahlke.