Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 7/15/2022

by Just Juan

The 15th day of the 7th month has historically been a day of historical beginnings for me. in 2002, after a 3rd date in 4 days, I found myself in a relationship with a woman who would go on to become my first love. The following year, in 2003, I started my military career with my arrival to basic military training. On this day 2 years ago, I made my debut in Bogotá to report for my first diplomatic posting. Interestingly enough, those 3 July 15ths don’t hold the most significance to me. The one from 2013 does. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: my first day at USACE.

How I first came across this moment? This all started in August 2012, when I decided to apply for separation from the military at the expiration of my contract in July 2013. From the moment I submitted the application to the Air Force’s notoriously horrible virtual MPF platform, I began my search for a post-military career. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career as a Federal civil servant so I applied for close to 4 dozen vacancies on the USAJOBS platform. I was unsuccessful in all except two: the GS-11 Facility Operations Specialist position for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Opelika, Alabama and the GS-11 Facility Operations Specialist position at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. I chose USACE because they offered first.

What it meant to me then? It was my first day as a professional facility manager…at the Robert Mardre U.S. Army Reserve Center. During that first day, I took my first oath of office as a GS civilian, got introduced to the people that worked at the Mardre, got my first office with a window, and found out my area of responsibility as a traveling facility manager. All of that meant a lot to me. But most of all, Day 1 as part of the USACE Charleston team ushered in life after the Air Force for me.

What it means to me now? That first day at USACE will always be a grand moment for me. As I sit here today as a Foreign Service Facility Manager, I know that I would not be in my current position if not for my first day with USACE.

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