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There is no such thing as a bad assignment

F.E. Warren AFB -- When I received orders to Thule Air Base, Greenland, everyone I spoke to about the assignment laughed and said "have fun" or something to that effect. Eventually, I came across someone who was actually stationed at Thule and they told me it was the best assignment they ever had. As I talked to more people who had been stationed at Thule, I found they enjoyed that assignment. This got me thinking about my past assignments.

I have had some that people said "sorry dude" or "that sucks" but looking back at those assignments, I have nothing but positive memories. I went to the missile field as a lieutenant and, again, I was told "you don't want to do missiles" and again--they were wrong. The location was incredible and so was the job, there is no other place in the world where enlisted and junior officers have that level of responsibility. I spent a year in Kuwait at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, and I had a great time. It was hot and we were confined to the base for half of my tour, but we made a difference and we had fun. It was amazing how my short game improved over that year. I got a lot of practice with my sand wedge.

So the question is, why have I had such a good time at these so called bad assignments? Maybe I'm going senile at an early age. Maybe I'm just not that bright. I hope neither of these options are true, but what else can it be?

Well, let's look at my so called dream assignment. I was stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany from November 1999 to September 2001. This time when I told people about my assignment it was "that's awesome" or some other positive feedback. Again, I had a great time but some of my troops hated it. If fact, they could not wait to go back to the states. I have also talked to people who have been stationed at Hickam AB, Hawaii; Ramstein AB, Germany; Aviano AB, Italy; and other "dream assignments" that could not wait to leave. Are these people insane or is there another answer?

Martha Washington once said, "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." I think this is the answer. It's all about your attitude. If you chose to be happy--then guess what, you will be. And if you chose to be miserable, then you will be. I'm not saying it's that simple, but for the most part you determine your reaction to a situation. Find people who share interests and continue to enjoy them. Also, seek out opportunities to try different things and experience the local culture and traditions. The reality of the situation was captured best by Abraham Lincoln, "Folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be."
I have been in the military since 1986, and I have not had a bad assignment. I may not have been sent where I wanted to go, but when I got there I had a great time. It's all about attitude so chose to be happy. If that doesn't work for you remember, a positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.