Introducing Trent Ruble, whom we met on the Facebook page for the Military Writers Society of America. In an upcoming post on WoW – Words on Wednesdays, Ruble shares how he came to write his first books.
Transition – his from the US Air Force, early in his military career and by choice -is the topic of this post. As his life story unfolds you’ll see that his military training found him not straying too far from uniformed duty. Now.. in his own words.….
What follows is based on my response to Helena Kaufman, editor at Military Success Network to questions about my transition from military to civilian life, and the process of writing my books.
My transition from military life to civilian life occurred many years ago in April 1984 after a nearly uneventful peacetime enlistment.
Please understand that I am fully aware that my transition was quite easy and should not be compared to the difficulty experienced by wartime veterans, especially those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
At the time of my military separation I was 22 and married with a little girl. As I look back on it, I really had it made as an aircraft loadmaster, traveling the world. But, at the time, I missed my hometown and felt like all the practice missions we flew weren’t “real life” like back home.
So, I made a stupid decision that turned out OK.
I decided to leave the Air Force after four years and head back to Indiana. The only job I had waiting for me was at the drug store where I’d worked as a clerk before I left home.
That certainly wasn’t a career and wasn’t even sufficient for supporting my family, hence a “stupid decision.” But, after about a month, a friend helped me get a job in a factory and then, after another year, I was hired as a police officer in my hometown.
As I made the transition from the military to law enforcement, I encountered a problem in my marriage. My wife and I had only been married for about two and a half years.
While in South Carolina, where I was stationed, all my friends were her friends and vice versa. But, once we got home, which was her home as well, we had separate sets of friends. When we would have a dispute, it seemed that her friends validated her feelings while my friends supported me. After we were home for about a year, we divorced.
Another issue related to my transition was in my expectations of my fellow police officers and the department as a whole. As a paramilitary institution, I thought it would operate much like the military with the same respect for superiors and mission, etc… But, I was wrong.
There were, and are, some very good officers. But, it seemed the ranking officers carried much more responsibility without the respect that should have come with it.
In addition, there were several officers just there for the paycheck, which wasn’t an issue in the military because we were paid so little.
Now, after 25 years of police work, I’ve found that the way I do my job has changed, with much more emphasis on people and their problems than on their compliance with the law. Now, I wonder if I would look on those officers of 25 years ago differently.
In the end, I became accustomed to civilian life. I married a wonderful lady after I’d been divorced for three and half years and we’re still happy together. We have four children, including the little girl born in South Carolina, plus the four grandchildren she’s given us.
It’s a wonderful life.
Stay tuned for WoW Words on Wednesdays and see what happened when Trent Ruble turned his on-the-job experience and his hand to writing as the next phase of his transition.
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