View Full Version : I finally did it.

SGT Rock
2007-04-17, 17:53
Today I submitted my retirement packet. It should take until about the middle of next month to get it approved.

It wasn't exactly what I planned for this, but I could see the writing on the wall of what is coming in my near to mid term future if I do not do this. I've had a great run with it, but time to move on.

So if this gets approved (and I believe it will) I will start clearing after Christmas and then start my leave about 25 January. Between now and then I get to spend a few months in Wisconsin mobilizing another reserve unit for Ramadi. I still have to work out the details of what I have to do for me prior to this happening.

Anyway, 25 January is probably too early to start a thru-hike. So I plan to knock out sections between then and 20 March as I can get to it. Then where ever I have left on the trail at that point, that is where I will start my thru-hike.

Officially I will still be in the Army until 1 May 2008. That means for a few months I get paid to hike. After that I am on half my base pay with savings, and maybe a job for my wife while I finish. After that, then a J-O-B.

So if you know of any good jobs in the Knoxville area, drop me a line.

2007-04-17, 21:31
Wish I lived in Knoxville. Glad to here that all you've talked about over the last couple years is coming to fruition. See you on the trail someday, Sarge.

2007-04-17, 22:42
Congratulations! I don't see why you couldn't just wait for nice weather and start the BMT at the end of January and go as far as you can before we have our usual cold snap. You might want to add some bottom insulation, maybe one of those JRB sewn-throughs in addition to the one you have. Maybe a white gas stove until it warms a bit.

SGT Rock
2007-04-18, 04:36
Well the good news IMO is I own all that sort of stuff. I can hike with multiple styles. I have an MSR Simmerlite (among other gas stoves) as well as a tent, other JRB underquilts, bigger pots, warmer bags, parkas, boots, etc. I've also hit some of the sections of the AT around here over the last 10 years and really do not have to repeat those - plus I can hit a few more before I start next year (I have 30 to burn before 1 Oct in the use/lose). And since I live within a 3 hour drive of 25% of the AT and 100% of the BMT I do not have to do a traditional start here, walk there, and do it all cut off from my home and family. Once I started thinking like that, I started coming up with a new plan.

This is the plan:

Between 3 Feb and 21 Mar I will section the BMT and AT using my house as a base basically. So I'll have a week between when when I actually start my leave until I plan to get on the trail. This way I can get home and look at the weather forcast from here - pick the gear and supplies (with spare food for winter) I need and the entry/exit points for a week of hiking. Once I got that done my wife and I drive both cars down and park one at one end of that section and then drop me off at the other. That way I walk to my car. When I get done, I drive home and spend a couple of days cleaning gear and picking my next section while hanging out with my wife and kids.

I figure it can go something like this:

1-6 Feb - 90 miles of the BMT in GA.

7-10 Feb - home

11-17 Feb - 90 miles of the BMT in NC/TN.

18-21 Feb - home

22-28 Feb - 90 miles of the BMT in the Smokies.

29 Feb - 3 Mar - Home

4-9 Mar - AT from Newfound Gap to Erwin.

10-13 Mar - Home

14-19 Mar - AT from Partnership Shelter to Bland

20-23 Mar Home

24 March start the AT from Sinking Creek Valley which leaves me almost 1500 miles to go at that point.

Note that is just an example of how I could do it, not the exact way I'll do it. If the forcast says it won't be good at all during a specific week, then no sense to do that section that week or even the entire section I have planned. But I can pick up the gear I need here and make gear changes I need as I go along. I also eliminate the need for paying for hotels and give myself a good break in period for my trail legs. That way I still get to enjoy winter hiking without all the hassle of planning a thru-hike with winter gear.

I probably do need to look at somesort of light showshoe for the short times I need them, and maybe some instep crampons.

2007-04-18, 07:59
Congratulations and thanks.

2007-04-18, 09:04
Outstanding Top, don't forget about the NC mountain dream job the Game control project. You should be a shoe in for it.

2007-04-18, 19:34
Congrats on the retirement. My brother will be doing the same in about 3 years. Good luck with the hike too. I plan on starting my AT hike when I get my CIS degree. About 2 years, with luck. You'll have to keep us all posted on your progress!

2007-04-19, 09:31
All the best in retirement, Sarge...and thanks much for your lengthy service.
Hope to meet you along the AT some day.

2007-04-19, 10:07
That's looks like a great plan for doing the sections close to home and family, and I think it makes even more sense for that time of the year. The nice thing about winter hikes is they don't need to be as long in either time or distance to get the same sense of serenity. I think it's almost like a dive reflex, how your heart rate and breathing seem to relax as soon as you walk into the winter woods on the frozen ground and hear the cold wind blowing through the empty branches. I think winter will actually be the best time for you starting this hike, coming at a time in your life at the end of one career; no not career; at the end of one life, and before the start of a new life, whatever that might be. Spring would be too sudden. Spring and Summer and Fall each have their purpose, but Winter is the time for certain things to come to a full rest, and pause, before new things can come to life. All the best. Godspeed.

The Winter Fields

Winds here, and sleet, and frost that bites like steel.
The low bleak hill rounds under the low sky.
Naked of flock and fold the fallows lie,
Thin streaked with meagre drift. The gusts reveal
By fits the dim grey snakes of fence, that steal
Through the white dusk. The hill-foot poplars sigh,
While storm and death with winter trample by,
And the iron fields ring sharp, and blind lights reel.
Yet in the lonely ridges, wrenched with pain,
Harsh solitary hillocks, bound and dumb,

Grave glebes close-lipped beneath the scourge and chain,
Lurks hid the germ of ecstasy—the sum
Of life that waits on summer, till the rain
Whisper in April and the crocus come.

- Sir Charles G.D.Roberts

2007-04-19, 16:15
What are you qualified to do?

2007-04-19, 19:28
Hey, SGT Rock!

Hope to see you at Trails Days '07. You know I will be "hanging" with the Hennessys. I wonder if we can hook up to hike a section over one of my school vacations next year, after you get out? Hmm! I would slow you down, so our "styles" may not work well. Maybe spotting cars for each other would work, though.

Next job: See if there are any openings with the National Park service, maybe? Back Country Ranger in the Smokies would be SO hard to take...NOT!



Just Jeff
2007-04-19, 19:51
Teach at one of the outdoor skills schools.

2007-04-20, 00:26
Could always become a merc. :biggrin: JK

Congrats on the retirement Top.

And thanks for the service

2007-04-20, 10:55

my best friend's son is an instructor at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls. He's a little over half way to his 20. He finished a BA degree in "Occupational Education" and is working on his Masters in education at the moment. He plans to continue teaching military as a civilian contractor after his 20.

SGT Rock
2007-04-20, 20:46
What am I qualified to do, well I am working on my resume. But what I am good at:

Instructor. Developed training for instruction of a wide variety of tasks including, but not limited to, outdoor skills, maintenance, supervision. Named as the best supervisor and instructor of Ft Bliss Texas over 3,000 other soldiers working at the same level. Trained over 4,000 soldiers in junior management techniques over a 5 year period.

Supervisor and human resources director. Supervised a 121 man organization with 6 departments over a period of 3 years. Daily duties included writing and reviewing evaluations and performance counseling, writing and reviewing award and reward programs, screening new employees for job positions within the organization, determining which employees should be promoted into management positions, maintaining employment and payroll records, firing of substandard employees, and general day to day operation of the organization in areas of maintenance, cleaning, and other operations such as supplies and transportation. In this position, my organization was selected in 2003 as the best out of twelve such organizations by our parent organization.

Human resources consultant. Selected to serve as the consultant of human resources of a 10,000 employee organization in Iraq for one year. While there I helped the organization develop policies and procedures for employee hiring, vetting, and training as well as payment, compensation, and firing. Recognized for excellence by the CEO of the organization for the efficiencies I created taking that organization from 4,000 employees to 10,000 employees in a span of 6 months.

Director of training. Served as the director of a management school for the period of 2 years. During this time I supervised a cadre of 22 instructors teaching a curriculum of junior management to approximately 150 students in a 30 day course of instruction conducted up 10 times per year. Recognized by the division head for exceptional results, graduating over 90% of enrolled students over the entire period.

I have other stuff, but this is what I am told is the most marketable of my skills. I am still trying to figure out how to make the things I did sound civilian.

2007-04-21, 08:17
That's very interesting because without having met you I thought you might be well suited for a human resources, because you seem to have a cool demeanor and a lot of insight into people and organizational behaviour. Civy street is different of course. My bitter and twisted experience is that the civilian world has a higher tollerance for office politics and interdepartmental politics and individuals and groups driven by self interests rather than the big picture. Of course that exists within the military also, but not so much down to the rank and file as it does in the civilan world. In the organization I have worked in human resources often gets caught up in the very center of it, and very often seems to work against the good of the organization rather than to improve it. This seems to be more apparent in older organizations that are past their prime growth period, or ones with less external competition, so they compete within themselves. Of course any organization is better when there are opportunities for growth and expansion, and human resources would be far more rewarding under such circumstances, but life isn't always like that of course. Anyhow, after Iraq, how bad can it be eh. Read up on Dilbert and I know you'll do fine. I heard Dilbert was also in the military as a first career, went by the name of Sad Sack. :biggrin:

2007-04-21, 08:27
Cant tell you how jealous I am TOP!

I'm trying to plan out an AT through hike now but I still have a few years to go. Hope that I get back in time to see you on the trail.


SGT Rock
2007-04-21, 08:35
I know how you feel jimtanker. Develope courses of action for your hike and retirement, that is how I have been doing it. If things change, at least you have some ideas to work off of.

2007-04-30, 16:03

Can you not just make it on your retirement alone? Reason I'm asking is I know a lot of retired military folks. Maybe WV is cheaper to live like that than TN?

In any event enjoy your retirement and hiking:adore:

SGT Rock
2007-04-30, 21:48
Well I could live on it. BUT, I am looking forward to doing something with my time. I already had one job offer. The cool job I wanted in the Smokies - probably not ever going to happen though. I went and talked to the personel section a couple of weeks back...

Can you say budget cuts.

2007-05-01, 12:28
Oh. I live on a farm so when I think of retirement it never involves setting around, more like only having one job and doing it well:biggrin:

SGT Rock
2007-05-01, 15:17
What I am thinking of doing is living off retirement and taking a part time job with an outfitter here in town while being a part time student. And while doing all that concentrate on being a trail maintainer and hiker as a profession.

That and I am thinking about creating a series of adult education classes about hiking and wilderness skills.

2007-05-01, 19:43
You need to use up that GI Bill, you earned it. Ten years will blow by before you know it, you are still young now.

2007-05-01, 22:59
OK SGT! Think multi media TV, CD, DVD,,,, Cable !!!!! I've got some free time, need an agent ????

Frolicking Dino
2007-05-03, 20:52
::: Dino looks forward to having Rock in town. Dixie looks forward to this even more and Dino likes to see happy Dixie :::

2007-05-04, 08:44
What I am thinking of doing is living off retirement and taking a part time job with an outfitter here in town while being a part time student. And while doing all that concentrate on being a trail maintainer and hiker as a profession.

That and I am thinking about creating a series of adult education classes about hiking and wilderness skills.

Or you could get a job for around $100K a year running an HR department for almost any field of business and leave the mud and bugs for the weekend.

SGT Rock
2007-05-05, 06:10
I can't wait to get back home again. I'm in Wisconsin for about 3-4 months. If this mission goes as we think it will, well it means a lot of time away from home. By the end of this mission I will have been back from Iraq less than 5 months but have been away from home on TDY 0ver 130 days. I hate to snivel, but after my last tour I was looking forward to some time home.

Anyway, I supposed I could do a real job after retirement, but I would sure like to just stay around the house and do a lot of hiking and trail maintenance.

Just Jeff
2007-05-05, 12:15
So take a home-type job for a year or two, then reassess - you might be ready for a "real" job by then. For some reason, I think you'll have a hard time just staying around the house like that. :D

Frolicking Dino
2007-05-05, 14:16
You haven't seen were Rock lives. I think he will be loving staying around. There are plenty of opportunities for day hikes and longer practically in his backyard and the scenery. And being close to Nebo Mountain, he'll even have the sound of gunfire in the distance :D

2007-05-06, 19:13
Hmm! If you can stand the cold, our school Principal is moving on. I would love to see you put the few whacko parents in their places when they show up to complain! Discipline should be a snap... You could even keep a of the teachers who need to "suck it up" on track. (Small %)

Eastern MA