In January 1984 I came out on the Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col.) list. Shortly thereafter I was called into the Boss’s office after flying one day. I really liked my commander at the time, Nick A., so I didn’t think much of it.
“Close the door,” he greeted me with when I stepped in his office.
“Well, this is serious,” I thought to myself… He rarely did this with anyone.
When I sat down, he pulled open his bottom desk drawer and handed me a ‘long-neck’ Bud Light. Cool.
“Okay asshole,” he began, “making Lieutenant Colonel without either a master’s degree, or Air War College is cute, but what can we do with you now?”
I don’t know what the ‘percentages’ were at the time for making Lt. Col. without either a master’s degree, or War College, or both – but I knew I had beaten the odds. And I also knew my ‘luck’ would soon run out.
I knew at the time that I had a very high ‘performance’ index but that was only going to take me so far. To be viable for further job progression and promotion it was paramount that I had a master’s and/or Air War College on my record – preferably both. And I knew it!
We talked a little bit more, and I finally was able to read ‘the handwriting on the wall!’ The next day I enrolled in a Master’s degree program and Air War College – completing them both in the subsequent 18 months!
Life would be so much easier for me, if I wasn’t so damn hard-headed… but thank God, I have always been good at reading the handwriting on the wall!