16th EWS Airman stepping out of the blue to become 'Army strong'

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andrew Leonhard
  • 53d Wing Public Affairs
Change is good, as one Airman in the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron, finds out as he changes from "Into the Blue" to "Army Strong."

Senior Airman Mike Goldman, 16th EWS journeyman, will become Specialist Goldman Dec. 28, as he enlists into the Army by using "Operation Blue to Green."

The new Soldier leaves the next day for a four-week Warrior Transition Course that begins at Fort Sill, Okla., where he'll undergo 'Army life 101' to make the change from blue to green easier.

"I'll miss the Air Force," said the six-year veteran. "I'll miss the people I've worked with and met; and also the fewer number of deployments I'd have done in the Air Force. But this is a good change for me and my family."

His family was initially hesitant about the change.

"I explained things to them, and my dad and father-in-law, who were both in the military, were happy I was able to extend my military career," said the father of two. "This change will take a little getting used to, but I'm glad I can keep alive my desire to retire from the armed forces."

His wife, Amanda, along with their children, Matthew, 4 and Emilie, 2, are also glad he's staying in the military.

"It's a sure paycheck and I'm glad we'll still have the medical coverage," she said.

"Operation Blue to Green" was designed by the Army, and approved by Congress in July 2004, to help retain men and women within the armed forces during times of force shaping and the downsizing of forces in the Air Force and Navy.

"I read about the program when it first came out," said the 24-year-old. "I thought 'how cool it was for people to be able to stay in.' Who would've thought, two years later, I would be one of those using it."

The Waco, Texas, native realized his dream of an Air Force career would end when his specialty code became restrained and his career job reservation was not awarded.

The Airman's first option was to retrain, but he was declined for a job he wanted - crypto-network switching systems. He realized although he'd no longer be a blue-suiter, his service to his country did not have to come to an end.

The next day he walked into the Crestview Army recruiter's office to find out more about "Operation Blue to Green."

According to Sergeant 1st Class Robert Welborn, more than 20 local servicemembers have used "Operation Blue to Green."

"This is an excellent program active-duty Air Force personnel can take advantage of," said the recruiter. "This enables the Airmen to keep their same pay grade and (in most cases) Military Occupational Specialties. This is a tremendous benefit for those who have numerous years of active duty; it gives them the chance to keep serving without a break in service."

The Army recruiter was able to secure him a quality job for the transition. From now on, this on-line gamer will be an Army 68-Delta - operating room specialist.

As an OR specialist, he'll ensure the ORs are kept sterile and stocked with all the necessary items ready for a surgery as well as scrub in with the doctors and nurses to assist in whatever they need during a surgical procedure.

"I'm thrilled about getting into this new job that will benefit me even more once I retire," he said. "The challenge of a new career and job is something I'm looking forward to."

Although Airman Goldman won't get to sew on NCO stripes as an Airman, he is excited about the Army's promotion system which takes into account further education and fitness scores.

The future specialist said a friend of his who entered the Army the same time he did, is now an E-6. So the Army promotion system sounds great to him.

Another detail he said he's ready for ... "I do look forward to the Army's uniform - no starch!"