USAF and the military
I cried in my car after work.
I realized (it's fact and I know it, but I try repressing) leadership doesn't care. They'll take everything. Your time, your happiness, your friends, your relationships…anything they can get their hands on and abuse it to their benefit.
Once you're an unmotivated husk of a former airman. One without dreams or aspirations, no wants or desires. They'll throw you away in disgrace and move on to a fresh airman.
I hate my career, my job, most of the people I work with. I don't like myself anymore. I don't look forward to the next day. I hate waking up.
The ungodly amount of unnecessary stress and duties is phenomenal. I cannot fathom how it can become this way without someone stepping in to make a change. I think about suicide too often, but ill never actually do it. Although I still see happiness in not existing.
I rarely see friends, and all of my romantic relationships have failed due to service before self (not voluntary, required) . They're usually busy too, so I can't fault them.
I'll see some airmen who've had amazing careers and great opportunities. Multiple deployments, training, schools , friends, they're proud and happy…I get so jealous and angry when I see them. Some never even worked a day In the "air force". They stayed deployed, followed the president, worked as ravens, or fast teams, black ops duties, green door jobs…things I never got an opportunity to do…
Even Ranger qualifications…our base is so poor, we can't send qualified individuals to ranger school. IT'S a FUCKING PLANE TICKET!!! and we can't afford it. Fucking pitiful. They'll make you do a ranger pre-test (very physical and almost always requires many months of training). And then when you pass, they say "sorry, we can't send you." Then why even do the fucking test in the first place!?!?
Once the air force finds out you've turned to substance abuse (almost always as a coping mechanism because it makes you feel better)…your done. Just done. Article 15, demotion, no benefits, shamed amongst your peers for being a "disgrace to the squadron."
Think I'm joking? Our colonel, in front of the flight, days after my friend committed suicide (we average 2 suicides a year at Aviano) said "This airman failed us and the air force."
…A dead man who killed himself literally just days prior (probably from work related depression) kills himself and you say "he failed the air force."
Are you fucking kidding me? I wanted to attack this man, put my hands around his neck. No matter what context you meant to put it in, you just don't say shit like that. I felt anger, I hadn't felt that in a long time.
Talking about suicide is a quick way out of the air force. They don't want "broken" airman. Even discussing suicide is a ban on the official AF reddit, did you know that? Go check it out. They pretend it doesn't exist. Chaplains are our only way to talk about what's on our minds. Talking to anyone in the air force about your issues is risky, as they may report you, and again, you're done after leadership finds out.
Getting past a 3 on an EPR is always bullshit. Are there people who put in work and deserve it? Yes, totally i'm sure. In my two years of service, i'v only seen a small handful of people who deserved above 3.
The way EPR's are written…there is no accountability. Meaning, I can write practically any scenario down on paper, and it'll magically become true. All an EPR is, is who can write and "wow" the viewer the best.
I personally looked over many EPR's after coming back from deployment (because they save all EPR/LOE's to an unsecured virtual drive anyone in the squadron can view…).
Tell me. How does a security guard who does nothing but stare at grass for 12+ hours a day…shoot down a missile? The PATRIOT system on base was run by SPAIN!! Not even AMERICANS!!! The defense system was never fired and we were never under attack by enemy missiles or aircraft. This guy went on to get awards and a 5 EPR because of his "accomplishments" in a combat zone (the base was never attacked nor we're we remotely threatened).
I just don't understand. I try to, I really do. I know the supervisors regularly ride their airman's hard work for personal benefit. Pretty troops = superb supervisor, regardless of their actual accomplishments.
I don't hate the air force, we genuinely do good things (on occasion). I feel like I'v been shafted and neglected since day one. I'm salty. I'm depressed (I'm taking depression medication under the table) any type of "mental disability" is a quick way out of the air force.
I joined for a family. I could've gone to any college or trade school. I wanted to serve and do good things. I still go to bed every night hoping the next day will be better. Giving it another chance. But I'm always disappointed, but I just repeat the cycle.
I don't tell anyone about my issues because i'm afraid of losing my career. Being disgraced, feeling like a failure to my country.
I'v had the opportunity to meet others like me. Some young. Some older and in senior management. They feel the same way, but we're so heavily regulated we can't do anything about it. Officers have a mission, and that's their priority. They don't care how it's done.
That's at least the AF Security Forces mentality.
I had an army colonel I looked up to while I was in JROTC. A role model. I miss him all the time. I haven't had a role model since joining the air force. He was a great leader…nothing like these air force officers.
After taking too many responsibilities for too long early in my career, I ended up eventually faltering and failing at a task. I was shamed in front of my unit and peers. In my life I had never felt so much pain. Every NCO pulled me aside separately to scorn me, one in particular called me a failure and that it should've been one of "his" airmen to attempt the task instead of me.
I ended up hiding for a few hours just to process what I had done. How I had failed the unit and let everyone down. I was reported by some concerned airmen to the Msgt. He pulled me aside and asked what was happening.
I couldn't focus on anything, the pain in my chest was excruciating. The feeling of failing and letting my peers down was too much. I actually cried in front of the Msgt. It took awhile to regain composure.
I didn't blame any NCO or anyone else for my failure. I kept all the blame on me. It was my task, and I failed. I fully agreed with every NCO that briefed me.
Feeling like a failure is one of the worst pains I can imagine. Letting down others is number one. The Italians generally dislike us. Not without some reason. Our airmen are constantly getting drunk and wreaking cars off base. We'd feel the same if in the opposite scenario in america.
I don't know how to end this. I do have options in the civilian world. I have schools and experience that transfers over. I have offers from companies…but I'm so hesitant to pull the plug and get out.
I trained and waited for 8 years to join the air force…i just feel let down in a way. I still have a love for the military…it's like an abusive relationship you keep coming back to over and over again. That's the best way to explain it…
*Cheers, if you read this far. I wanted to say something..no need to comment but feel free to discuss if you want.
Be safe people