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I am truly blessed this year..

Old 12-16-2006, 08:45 AM
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Default I am truly blessed this year..

While I don't think anything can really compare to the birth of my daughter Meghan back in July, last night was quite a high about bringing this man to tears and making my wife the proudest I have ever seen.

For those that don't know me, I am a 17.5 year active duty Air Force member.

The setting - Last night was my unit's annual Christmas party. Caroline and I get there, we're hanging and having a few drinks before everyone is called to the dining room.

My friend Todd was the MC for the night and he started off with a few words of welcomes/introductions for the VIPS and then invited the Chaplain to come up to provide the invocation. Todd stepped back up and pointed out a CHRISTmas tree in the corner. It had a lot envelopes attached and each was filled with a number and that number corresponded to a present (or another envelope filled with some form of cash or a gift certificate). Next, Todd grabbed a basket filled with everyone's ticket numbers and names.

He calls out Chief xxxx! Chief xxxx jumps up, runs to the front, grabs an envelope and won a $100 bill right off to bat.

Now, I am not one for being "lucky" in these types of events. Keep this in mind as you read on..

Next Todd says something to the effect of, we have one more special gift we want to give out this year and this person will have to wear this uniform all night long. Everyone was already anxious to see who received the most votes for the elf and reindeer contest where people purchased votes to get other people on the list. The top 4 votes became elfs and the next 12 were Reindeer - luckily I was 3 positions down from the reindeer so no dressing up for me - at least not that I thought..

Everyone was anxious not only see what the costume was, but WHO was going to wear it!

So, Todd asks my commander to come up front and pick a name from the basket.

They call TSgt Christopher.....

THAT'S ME - Holy Crap!!! As I think, God only knows what this costume is going to be...

So I get up there and my commander tells me to lose my blazer. Then he tells me since I have an undershirt on, go ahead and lose the button down too - I am saying to myself, "uh-oh where's this going???" My Senior Enlisted Advisor walks over with a nice big present, about the size a jacket would come in.

He hands the present to me simultaneously saying something to the effect of, "Oh no, you're wife has to be up here too...She's got wear this too!" Caroline comes up and stands by my side (as she always is).

So we commence to tearing off the wrapping and opening the box only to find another box inside. We open that box and there's another box - about the size of a 10 DVD box. Still not having a clue, but thinking "what the hell is in here, what am I going to be wearing???" I reach in and kind of flick the edge of the box open and over the next few seconds, Caroline realizes exactly what it was but is speechless. My stupid butt is still going "huh, I don't get it" as I pull out a set of MASTER SERGEANT STRIPES!

I was promoted on the spot and I am now a Master Sergeant in the USAF!


Now, many of you guys might ask what the process is in the Air Force because we don't promote like the other services? Well, there is the traditional cycle testing where you test against your peers for the next grade and they select a certain percentage to maintain manpower/rank levels - 100% of the Enlisted Air Force promotes this way.. and then there's a commander's program called Stripes for Exceptional Performers, or STEP for short.

Here is the nitty gritty of STEP I copied from google -


Each year, the Air Force releases a limited number (usually less than 200, Air Force-wide), slots for a STEP promotion. The slots are usually distributed to the various MAJCOMS (Major Commands), who then usually distribute them to the Wings (Installations). There are generally only two or three STEP allocations given to each Wing (Installation/Base) per year.

I cannot stress enough that the allocations are EXTREMELY limited, and is not something that one should count on in the promotion process. The stated purpose of the STEP system is to allow Wing (and above) commanders a method to promote individuals who are outstanding performers, but do not score well on promotion tests.


I am truly blessed man...

With a 5 month old, lack of sleep and pretty ambitious projects at work; I have not studied nearly as well as I want to and I really was beginning the likelihood of me making MSgt this year were getting pretty slim for the upcoming Jan-Mar testing cycle. You see, I can make A's in college, but I pretty much suck at military promotion tests and this would have been my third time to test... Then even if I did score well on the tests and make it, I would still have to wait for my promotion line number to come up which would still be many months away. Basically, even if I had made it, I just got promoted a year early and the pay increase is pretty significant as militray pay goes. It's no secret either, if you're curious just google it..

While I may have typed a lot here, I am really speechless and kind of adrenaline pumped about the whole thing. Typing is even a little difficult since my hands are still a little shaky..

I will say this, I have learned a lot on my journey and my accomplishments are what won it for me, but the people that work around me, that work for me and those that I work for made this happen.. I thank them as I cannot do anything without their help or support..

Well, I think I have said enough. I have a busy day ahead of me since I need to get some stripes sewn on my uniform today!
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Chris, I have always said that good things come to good people, but there must be work involved because I've never seen a lazy person get ahead. You have truly been blessed and should offer thanks to may people, beginning with the person that always seems to be at you side, you know who she is. And don't forget the highest power of all. His birthday is rapidly approaching.............. Congratulations................
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Awesome - and many many congratulations to you!

Sounds like you have some great friends there.

Thanks for serving!
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:05 AM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Bailey Boat - 12/16/2006 8:56 AM

Chris, I have always said that good things come to good people, but there must be work involved because I've never seen a lazy person get ahead. You have truly been blessed and should offer thanks to may people, beginning with the person that always seems to be at you side, you know who she is. And don't forget the highest power of all. His birthday is rapidly approaching.............. Congratulations................


Bailey--Well said!!!!


RW (Chris)--Congratulations! There is nothing better than the feeling of being recognized for all your hard work!!!

The extra pay is pretty cool too.
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:13 AM
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Default RE: I am truly blessed this year..

So does that mean I have to call you MASTER SERGEANT Woody from now on?

Seriously though Chris, I suspect you do everything like you built your shed out back and those action can not be overlooked. Congratulation my friend!

So how many bars would that give you? Three?

So does the promotion mean you'll have more time for THT?
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Thanks for the kind words....

Bailey, as usual you are spot on and we think a lot alike!

Garrett, just don't call me SIR! LOL ( Actually, I really don't care when people call me Sir - I just expect them to be professional and if that is part of their professionalism, so be it).

Seriously though, I don't have bars - we have Chevrons and this is what my ranks looks like now..

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Old 12-16-2006, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

congratulations Chris. I think thats a great promotion process and I would be very proud that I received that promotion in that special way.
Merry Christmas
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Chris we weren't going to tell you but ,Them Air Force fellows have been calling us THTrs all year [ there is 54000 + of us ] and it took them awhile to call everybody .
Anyway they were asking us , well , ugh ,ya'know , about you and they were taking a poll to what kind of person you are and we/I had to tell 'em.

CONGRATULATIONS , MASTER SERGEANT






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Old 12-16-2006, 10:43 AM
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Default RE: I am truly blessed this year..

Chris,

Nothing happens by coincidence or by mistake in HIS world. Congrats on the promotion. You've earned it. Enjoy it.
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Old 12-16-2006, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Way to go Chris!!!!!!

You have had a great year. Congradulations.
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Old 12-16-2006, 11:40 AM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Hey chris

One more thing.

The manor in which this honor was bestowed on you makes it all the more special, talk about a memory for the grandkids.
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Old 12-16-2006, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Congrats Chris. Sounds like you've had one heckuva year. Hard work almost always pays off - ditto devotion to friends and family.
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Well deserved young man. Congratulations from both me and Michelle!!!
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:13 PM
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Default RE: I am truly blessed this year..

Congratulations Chris! It's really great when those you work with and for recognize you and your accomplishments. Once again, Congratulations!




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Old 12-16-2006, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Woo~HOOOO!!!!!~~~ Way to go Chris!!

SO EXCITING!!!!

Very proud of ya ~

Enjoy the moment - that's what it's all about.

CONGRATS!!!
FJ
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Old 12-16-2006, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Congrats, Chris!

On both the promotion, and the baby!

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Old 12-16-2006, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Great story, good deal, and WE'RE ALL PROUD OF YOU.
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Old 12-16-2006, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Congrats Sarge. Great story! Merry Christmas to you and your family, and God Bless America.
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Old 12-16-2006, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: I am truly blessed this year..

Thanks (again) for all the kind words and Merry Christmas to all of you too..

Today was pretty hectic, but I am now ready for duty. My new uniform has all the patches applied, stripes sewn on and hand pressed - by me.

I must admit one thing. Today was a bit moving. You see I normally take all my laundry to the cleaners and pick it up the next day.

That wasn't possible today.

As I stood there putting the perfect crease in my stripes and removing all the stray threads I had flashbacks of when I was a young two striper sitting in my dorm room doing the same thing. I am glad things worked out where I had to iron my uniform myself. Ironing my uniform was pretty therapuetic for me and as I tell my troops all the time "Never forget where you came from" - now when I tell them this, I mean it in the sense of don't lose sight of taking care of those young kids, try to relate to their needs and remember we were there once too..
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:20 PM
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Default RE: I am truly blessed this year..

Congratulations Master Sergeant,

and Merry Christmas
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