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168 Days: Happy To Be Here

By Ken Snyder

My deployment was memorable -- the first time I had been truly "overseas"; meaning I was not in a US territory, did not speak the language, was unfamiliar with the customs. But I couldn't wait to get back to KCK -- and to a new occupation, a new employer, new co-workers. The only people I had any contact with at BPU before I left in November were DeGraeve, Walters, DeLeon and some of the HR staff.

Sabanci Mosque, Adana, Turkey

On 3 January 2010 we left Incirlik, Turkey and stopped overnight in Mildenhall, England. 4 January ended with me back in Topeka, and I was back in KCK on 5 January. I had accumulated miltary leave time because of the length of service during this deployment, and I could not go back to American or start with BPU until that time was satisfied. I contacted BPU and relayed this to DeLeon -- I would be officially released from military duty on 18 January. DeLeon stated that BPU brought in people for their first working day on Thursdays, so I could start on 21 January.

Thus the end of my days in commercial aviation went like this: I went back down to Topeka for make-up ANG drill days on 19 and 20 January, worked one final day at AA (actually, 11:00 PM 20 January to 7:30 AM 21 January), and reported to BPU headquarters at 8:00 AM 21 January. My primary AA toolbox was still in the back of my truck when I parked it across from BPU headquarters that morning.

The first half of my first day at BPU was spent handling paperwork -- I expected as much, this was starting a whole new life and everything had to be "just right" for a smooth transition into BPU's world. While I don't remember everything that went on, I do remember that everyone I had contact with seemed genuinely friendly and helpful. I wasn't very concerned when I applied for the job about the benefits (as I knew they had to be at least as good as AA's) but was very pleasantly surprised to find out just how generous they really were. The crowning moment was when I was presented with my BPU employee identification badge and time clock card -- this made it official in my eyes, I had a new employment "home"!

Right after lunch I reported to the BPU Service Center for the first time as an employee. To say I was nervous is an understatement, the last time I was this excited and anxious over a new job had to have been in February 1986 when I reported to TWA for the first time. It started out a little awkward; turns out when I came out (for the initial interview) I did not park in the right place, and now on my first day as an employee I did it again. Sisson came out and immediately pointed me to the parking lot. I was so embarrassed I could have crawled into one of the cracks in the pavement. But the embarrassment disappeared quickly as I was introduced to the other employees of the Signal Shop as well as many other employees in the Service Center. All of them seemed so friendly, something that had been long lost at American.

While in Turkey I made sure to get gifts for people that had supported me and my family while I was deployed. This was extended to BPU as well, I got Incirlik coins for DeGraeve and Walters. It was my way of saying "thanks" for supporting me. I also wanted to get off on the right foot with these people; with leaving AA I made my mind up that I was going to do all I could to make this position one I truly enjoyed, not just a job to do for a paycheck.


Next:In The Beginning: Green, Yellow, Red
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