Over the the past twenty years, I am humbled to have worked with some of the best and brightest that America has to offer. I am proud of my time in service–the places I have been, the things I have done–but I am more proud of the people that I have affected and the changes I have made.
She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.
~ Elizabeth Edwards
Of course I would not be here without my beautiful wife of 21 years. She sacrificed much more than I did. Throughout our dozen moves, she probably did half of them alone. She spent a total of about four years raising one or both of the kids herself. She gave birth to my son while I was on remote tour, then saved every penny from her measly paycheck to fly him out to meet me. I could spend another 20 years explaining all the great things she has done to make my career a success, and to raise two wonderful kids. I may be retiring as a captain, but she has always been captain of this ship that we call home.
You shared Dad’s joys and sorrows as you lived wherever the military bid,
For you Dad was a soldier, and you a military kid.
~ adapted from Caroline Franklin Berry
To my kids, now an adult and teenager-almost-adult. I cannot apologize for making you what you are–military BRATs. Your life experiences to this point have been shaped by something that not even I controlled. Like nomads, we wandered around the country every six months to four years. I know how it feels. I was in your shoes nearly a quarter century ago when my father retired from the Air Force. Thank you for being strong, resilient, and supportive. Continue to kick ass in life. When you become famous, go easy on me in your biography.
We never know the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
My parents instilled in me a relentless work ethic and drive to become the best. Oddly enough, they could not make it here today, because they are both working and could not get time off. For those of you who know me, this might not come as a surprise. “The apple does not fall far from the tree” when it comes to the Kilar work ethic.
Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the earth.
My first mentor: Army Master Sergeant Frank Roush, a teacher at Meade High School, Fort Meade, Maryland. He was the first man to believe in me, to push me towards a military career that did not necessarily need to be in the shadow of my father.
A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.
My second mentor: Navy Lieutenant Heidi Jewell, a teacher at Escambia High School, Pensacola, Florida. She helped me get together with my wife, and she has always been a role model for me. I made my critical decisions to join the military under her mentorship, even though I chose not to go into the Navy.
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
That quote is inscribed on a bench next to where my grandfather was interred at Barrancas National Cemetery. The bench is there in remembrance of A1C Joshua Woody and A1C Joseph Rimkus. Woody and Rimkus were Nomads from the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. There is a memorial on Eglin Air Force based dedicated to the Airmen who died on June 25, 1996 that reads, “Our Nomads have ceased their wandering”. There are too many Airmen to thank in my twenty-plus years, so I will leave you with that one Bible passage and say goodbye to this great Air Force. Twenty years ago I answered my nation’s call, and now it is time for this Nomad to temporarily cease his wandering.