Throwing my hat in the ring.

Hello everybody. I just wanted to post up and join the fray.

A bit about me (I’m trying this out on you guys):

I’m 40 years old, I graduated from CUCO in 1995 with an A.S. in Bio and a GPA in the mid-2’s. One thing led to another, there was some tragedy, I was ultimately dismissed from a state 4-year. They told me I should go to a community college for a while. Having already graduated from one, I decided I needed a massive change in my life, and went into the Marine Corps. I served 5.5 years as a UAV pilot and got out after the initial push into Iraq in 2003. While in the squadron I was a flight instructor, Assistant NATOPS Evaluator, Standardization Board member, operations NCO, Classified Material Control Center NCO, and a list of collateral duties a mile long.

After getting out I worked as a security officer in a hospital in VA Beach while getting qualified as an EMT-B. It was only a semester’s worth at Tidewater CC, but I did well. A personal/living situation disintegrated. My soon-to-be ex was a miserably stressed out psych resident and was not handling things well and I was again dismissed, as it were. During that excruciating process she managed to discourage me from becoming a doctor as well. As I was trying to figure out what my next move was going to be. I was miraculously picked up for a project flying for the Border Patrol. I flew missions in support of agents on the ground and developed Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP’s) that are still in use today. I was doing Great Things and Making Great Money (esp. for a guy with an Associate’s). I had drank the Kool-Aid and thoroughly banished medicine from my mind. I had gone from swearing that I would never get in a GCS again after I got out to being all in on a UAV career.

That project continues to this day, albeit without the involvement of the company I worked for, as they were a subcontractor to a subsidiary of an Israeli company and that’s how that goes. I then went to work for one of e major companies that builds unmanned aircraft systems for the U.S Army. In the next 11 years I would become an engineering test pilot, army flight instructor, training team lead, curriculum developer and eventually operations manager supervising 40 Predator pilots - six of whom would be in Iraq and Afghanistan at all times on a rotating basis - and a $2.2M payroll.

Last April, as I was setting my alarm for another 0230 wake up - I did some calculating and figured out that my Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits were going to expire and I had to make a decision. I was losing my eyesight to keratoconus (which will be remedied with Intacs, collagen cross-linking and conductive keratoplasty on May 14th) and if I stayed the current course, would be reduced to a purely management role within the year. Spreadsheets all-day-every-day doing monthly contract baseline changes and Earned Value Management System inputs and no more flying for this Toys R Us Kid, a fate worse than death. Thanks but no thanks.

I thought back to what I was trying to do before I joined the Marine Corps and realized that I still had the fire and wanted to be a doctor. Further reflection provided more clarity and the path was clear. I, as a veteran, should be at the VA helping wounded troops. Thus began a foray through the internet, which didn’t exist way back when, researching everything I possibly could about what I was about to do - including my chances at getting in. If I had the resources then that I do now…

I gave the bosses 8 months notice to prepare my team, the company and our army customer for the transition and left in December. I’m now an undergrad again, re-taking all the pre-reqs. Crappy grades aside those classes were 18 years ago and in order to complete a major and prepare for the MCAT I was going to have to re-do all that work anyway.

I expect I’ll be 44 years old by the time I finish my undergrad degree, take the MCAT and get into medical school. Even after the Post 9/11 GI Bill and loans I’ll have eaten into a good portion of my retirement. I don’t really care about that though. If it was about money, I could have stayed where I was, making 150K+ and year and skating through another 25 years of uneventful life before retiring to a beach somewhere.

So that’s where I’m at right now.

As the daughter of a Marine and wife of a former Naval Officer, I welcome you to OPM!!!

Semper Fi!!

Thanks! Glad to be here.

Welcome!! I look forward to having you join our ranks!!


Thanks! I look forward to any and all advice as I progress through this.

Welcome, welcome, welcome! We’re in the same boat with basically having to start over and re-take the prereqs.

Hi! Just wanted to thank you for your service.

Thanks man it’s much appreciated.

Welcome, welcome!!! I echo everyone above!! I will add my rally cry which is “NEVER TOO OLD!!”

: )