TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Less than two percent of the U.S. population serves within the armed forces. They raise their right hand and swear an oath to serve the country they love. They wear the uniform with pride and fulfill their commitment with honor. When their service to their nation has ended, many re-enter the communities from which they came. For a select few, they trade in one uniform for another. They take on a new look with a familiar feel.
One former Airman is rolling up new sleeves these days. With similar surroundings and the same sense of pride and duty, she is-still serving.
Amanda Regan, 325th Communications Squadron communication focal point help desk technician, and former U.S. Air Force staff sergeant, has come full circle and now serves as a Department of Defense civilian contractor.
Though many of her duties remain unchanged, her transition from a military to civilian lifestyle has brought on some welcome changes to this former Airman and mother of two.
“I decided to come back because I still enjoyed the military, what it does and what it stands for,” Regan said. “However, with being a civilian, I know that I will have a more stable lifestyle and can be in one place and not have to worry about deployments and all the extras with hours changing.”
While some say familiarity breeds contempt, Amanda Regan embraces this not-so-fresh start as an opportunity to build on her already vast career experience. Her familiarity bred success, and she is looking forward to continuing her growth as a leader and technician.
“One of my goals is to definitely earn more certifications so I can move into other areas of communications. The ones I obtained through my years of service were a big factor in landing a civilian job on this base. Many employers with whom I interviewed were looking for someone with the proper security clearance,” Regan said.
Life in the military presents numerous yet difficult challenges and high operational tempos can lead to long days and short nights. While her tireless efforts have helped mold her into the professional she is today, she said she can appreciate the differences between civilian life opposed to the 24-hour, worldwide availability status of a military member.
“My family has noticed my reduced stress level compared to when I was active duty,” Regan said. “Honestly, coming to work as a civilian, a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders, knowing I still have a job to do but with a more set-schedule and knowing I’ll be there in the late evenings for my family.”
For many non-prior service employees, taking a civilian job in the military presents new challenges, some at times, may feel pretty overwhelming. Long-established traditions and cultural nuances that are common to military personnel, typically require deep immersion. Learning to effectively communicate in those environments could take a long time, it can be like learning a new language.
“Coming in ‘prior-military’ as a civilian to the military world, there is no learning curve,” Regan said. “I already know what people are talking about. I don’t have to learn acronyms or the mission. Having already worked here at Tyndall, I know the mission and what needs to be accomplished. Additionally, I still feel the comradery and the need to look out for the person to my left or right.”
The U.S. Air Force attracts and recruits talent worldwide from all different backgrounds. With veterans like Amanda Regan still serving, the continuity and familiarity they bring back to the table can be the perfect complement to the mission.
While bringing back this long-time veteran and all of the experience she brings might sound like a no-brainer, that’s not to say there aren’t some new difficulties and adjustments to be made.
“One of the biggest challenges I would say I have faced since coming back as a civilian, is finding out what I should wear to work every day – I’m not kidding.”