Women of the Military

Being in the Military Band

Episode Summary

Did you know you can serve in the military as a band member? But it isn’t as easy as going to your local recruiter and signing up to serve in the military band. In today’s episode with Charlan Rieve, she talks about the process (outside of COVID) for joining the military band.

Episode Notes

Joining the Military Band

Charlan served in the US Air Force as a clarinetist. In her role, she organized, performed, and supported community outreach events as well as internal military events. Her military career began after she completed a Bachelor's and Masters of Music degree. She won a national audition as a civilian and after being selected went to Basic Training. After graduating from Basic Training she reported to the Band of the US Air Force Reserve in Warner Robins AFB, GA.

Just over a year later, she quickly transitioned to the US Air Forces in Europe Band at Ramstein AB, Germany as a newlywed. While in Europe, she became a mom, learned how to breastfeed in combat boots and discovered a new desire to stick with one enlistment to spend time with her young children after completing her military commitment.

From AF to Civilian

She performed her last concert as a Senior Airman with the US Air Force Academy Band at Peterson AFB, Colorado. Then she moved her growing family back to the Greater Atlanta Area in Georgia. In the three years following active-duty military service, Charlan has homeschooled her two sons, tutored private K-12 and adult students, and written resumes and supporting materials for other service-members in transition as well as civilians.

Lessons Learned Podcast

Currently, she is on the team for a new podcast, "Lessons Learned for Vets" designed to give transitioning veterans actionable plans through stories shared by veterans who have gone before, experienced success, and dealt with setbacks. "Lessons Learned for Vets" launched on November 11th, 2020.

Connect with Charlan:


Mentioned in this episode:

Lesson’s learned for Vets

Blended Retirement

Related Episodes:

Working on Jet Engines in the Air Force - Episode 61

The Story of an Air Force Civil Engineer - Episode 52

A Developmental Engineer in the Air Force - Episode 8

Check out the full transcript here.  

Thank you to my Patreon Sponsor Col Level and above:
Kevin Barba, Adriana Keefe

Thank you Patreon members for your support. Want early access to episodes, ad-free content, and one on one mentorship advice? Become a Patreon member today! Click here.   

Episode Transcription

Amanda Huffman00:00

Welcome to Episode 114 of the Women of the Military podcast. This week, my guest is Charlan Rieve, she served in the US Air Force as a band member. And I personally didn't know anything about how people join the military as band members. I wasn't sure what the process was. And so I found it really fascinating to hear about how the tryouts happen, and how competitive it is to become a band member in the military bands. So I think it was really interesting to hear her story of joining the Air Force as a band member, because it's something that I haven't covered before and something I didn't know anything about. So if you have considered joining the military bands and want to know how that process works, then this episode is for you. And even if you don't want to join the Air Force as a member, I think you'll find it really fascinating and interesting, because maybe you're like me, and don't know how that process works. I also want to give charlyne a shout out for being a Patreon member. And I just appreciate everyone who supports the podcast through giving financially, it really does help so much and helping me continue to get these stories out. So I really appreciate her and if you're interested in checking out Patreon and becoming a Patreon member, you can check out more in the show notes. It's another great interview. So let's get started. You're listening to season three of the Women on the Military podcast Here you will find the real stories of female servicemembers. I'm Amanda Huffman, I am an Air Force veteran, military spouse and mom. I created Women in the Military podcast in 2019. As a place to share the stories of female service members past and present, with the goal of finding the heart of the story, while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women and be inspired to change the world, keep tuned for this latest episode of Women on the Military podcast. Welcome to the show I'm excited to have you on today.


Charlan Rieve02:15

Thank you. I'm excited to be here.


Amanda Huffman02:18

So let's start with why did you decide to join the military?


Charlan Rieve02:21

Sure thing. The military band career field allow me to support myself in my chosen career of music performance. Yes, I can hear you laughing right now. Yes, I got two music performance degrees before joining the military. And I also got copious amounts of student loan debt to set up the military band, specifically the Air Force band career field allowed me to support myself in my career field, but also to do to make music for an enormous purpose bigger than any one person can possibly be.


Amanda Huffman02:56

So were you able to enlist or because most or all the band members are enlisted except for the conductor? Right? See, ya know, my band stuff?


Charlan Rieve03:08

Absolutely. And yes, we are a bunch of very over educated people with like two or three stripes, you know, walking around. And and it's it's very, it's a unique experience. And, you know, I kind of talk I want to talk about this later, when I'm thinking about advice to get two girls interested in the military. There's so much diversity. The US military is the biggest employer in the world. As of 2017, I think there were 3.2 million employees. It's an enormous employer. So of course, we have different backgrounds. Of course, you know, some people are going to come in with an enormous amount of skill or experience or prior work experience, in my case, degrees.


Amanda Huffman03:51

And that's common for various band members to get like their music degree and then want to pursue a career in music, which I know because I know a lot about music, because we watch a lot of like concerts and stuff.


Charlan Rieve04:02

And I know how hard and complicated it is to be a performer and to like, make ends meet. Yeah, and especially if you're recording in the midst of covid 19 pandemic time so many musicians have done what they can to be gritty and hit it with the times. But really, if it is the Road Not Taken by many.


Amanda Huffman04:25

Yeah, I think the reason I know so much about it is one of my friends from high school, went to Chicago after high school, actually, I think after college to pursue a career in music, and she spent most of her time like trying to work and find a job and she was working at Victoria's Secret and then eventually she moved back to her hometown and got a job doing something else where she wasn't a musician and she was like an honor bands and all this stuff and she still wasn't able to make ends meet in Chicago.


Charlan Rieve04:57

And that is a story that is such a common story. I can't tell you how much talent there is out there. And actually technology helps it can it can help with that. Because, hey, you know, you might have a different day job, but you're still able to play at night. Or you're still able to do recordings on the weekends. And and you can release, you know, via social media. So you have an audience, you have some way to monetize that. It's very difficult. It's a very difficult road. And it's very fiercely competitive. And just consider just Google, how many working orchestras there are right now. And how many people want to listen to classical clarinet just for funsies? by itself?


Amanda Huffman05:39

Yeah, so So after you graduated, you found your self in a place where you had a lot of loan debt, and you needed a steady income. And so the military made the most sense.


Charlan Rieve05:50

Absolutely. It was always a possibility. It's one of the chosen vocation tracks that, okay, you have a music performance degree, this is an option for you. And believe me, I went through a personal series of iterations of Oh, yeah, this is a cool group of people to do contemporary music, and I know you're gonna be great. What ended up happening was after I got my master's degree, I did go back home. And I had an opportunity to teach at a local college to teach music appreciation, not private clarinet students, but music appreciation. So I was calling being a part time college teacher with some private students with any gigs I could get. And then of course, continuing to take auditions, which is totally nuts to sustain for a long period of time. But within that first year out, it was actually a little less than half a year later, I want an audition. So the way it works, I should explain that you don't just pay I play trumpet in high school, and I love the marching bands, although the military band player No, you take audition as a civilian. And if you win the audition, then you get to go to MIPS, they pair you with a recruiter, and you go through the process there. And believe it or not, I knew someone who was very talented clarinetist and, and he had also been offered a position in one of the bands. He did not make it through maps. And I only found out after I got out of basic that because he went an audition the same day I did, and a different band. And so it is possible to win the audition, beat out the competition, and not make it through maps not even make it to basic. And then of course, it's a very different experience to be one of the older people in the crowd. as a trainee, my personal ti was actually your younger. So that was interesting. And then once you get from basic, you already know the duty station you're going to be and because your home tech school, you won the audition. So you show up to the band that needs you. And then your career goes from there.


Amanda Huffman08:08

So I want to hear more about the audition process, especially since so many of my listeners are young women who are looking to join the military. And maybe they might be asking, so I'm thinking for them. And just I'm curious, but how do you even like, get the audition? And like, how, how many auditions are there? Or what's the whole process?


Charlan Rieve08:28

Great questions. And I'm gonna, I'm sorry to tell you I don't know right now, because it's COVID-19 year and this is a magical time of well, we will do this at some point, we just don't know when I There are actually several people who are in kind of a holding pattern. They want an audition, but they can't go to basic because COVID-19 for various parts of the process, or they have spots available, but they can't hold auditions because of COVID-19. And I don't know what happens moving forward, I can tell you what happened for me. And there are certain avenues that if you're a professional musician, you're looking at musical chairs calm or you might be a member of the musicians union. And so you'll get a paper or you'll get a subscription to find out what the job postings are in the career field of music, classical music, and then of course, you're narrowing down to your instruments. And the military is a big employer in those magazines. There's very often when I would get whatever the subscription was, there would be some opening in the army army was more common than Air Force, the Air Force did pop up. And the year the year that I won my audition, there was a preview band audition the week before the regional band audition. So I had gone to DC I had auditioned for the Bolling Air Force Base fan, that's the premier Air Force band. And I made it to finals but I didn't get I didn't get the job and And one of the current musicians offered to just sit with me get a lesson, you know, get some feedback afterwards. And she said, honestly, you could be here, but just take another audition. And I said, Well, I've got another one in a week. So sure enough, that was done in Langley, and the next audition, that was the one. And I'll never forget, it was Valentine's Day, it took an audition on Valentine's Day. And then once they offered it, like, this is great, can I put a pin in it until May. Because again, I had a commitment to teaching my students. And when I needed to get their grades in about two weeks after getting their grades into the system and the university level, then I went to basic training and became a three.


Amanda Huffman10:46

Wow, that's crazy. That's kind of that's really interesting. And like, I never really thought I thought, I don't know what I thought I was like, Oh, you're just like, I want to be in the band. But then you hear the band play? No, it's not, just like, I just want to be in the band.


Charlan Rieve10:59

And a lot of people don't, they don't know the process at all. It is extremely competitive. Like I said, there's tons of talent out there. And for one reason or another, I can't remember the last statistic I've read. But I think as of 2017, there was maybe 21% of young adults qualified, just basic qualifications, not necessarily good fits, but basic qualifications. So now you're you're looking at a very, very targeted specialized career field of music performance, and not everybody's fit enough to fight. It's just reality, you know, and and I don't mean, just physically, it's also mentally there, there's a lot that goes into it. So really, it is it was, it was such a an honor to be chosen, and an honor to play with it perform with the other musicians work with the other musicians who made the same choices, and just get to know people who have excelled in an extremely difficult career, and to make something that, that we very much hope honors those who serve.


Amanda Huffman12:08

So you went to Basic, and then you said, there's no tech school, because you already know how to play your instrument. So what was your job, like, when you're on active duty, I know you guys go and travel and do different concerts, but what was like a typical week/month, like,


Charlan Rieve12:25

Absolutely, because we're all very good at spinning multiple plates. You know, I was pretty much in ops and operations from my second year on. And what that means is, you're like a tour manager and a marketing manager and, and the onsite person of contact, you know, you're that person, you're the one who, depending on the band that I was stationed with, sometimes we would actually get invitations through you come in when I was in overseas, and we would have to go to these places and, and the director of operations would farm out, okay, this, this kind of ensemble makes sense for this event. And then if you were the operations representative for that ensemble, you would set up the details of the logistics of we have this many people, you know, we need a stage, we need access to a microphone or to a plug or to whatever it is for whatever the purpose of the event was, then you could be you could have the smallest footprint was a solo trumpeter, you know, maybe in four taps or four Memorial event. And then of course, the largest would be the concert bands, which could be up to 60 people, and you're, you're arranging the travel, you're arranging the lodging, you're arranging the actual order of events, for for your part in it. And then also you perform any better look for any for the camera.


Amanda Huffman13:50

That is like so crazy. I guess I imagined that you would like be practicing all the difference. Ah, and like, that's what you do and just play your instrument every day and not like that's so much work. I know a little bit about like all the coordination and behind the scenes stuff. So I know a little bit about what you're talking about just in being in the like marketing and media space. But that's crazy that you had to do that and perform like, that's so crazy.


Charlan Rieve14:19

We do fit in rehearsals I should mention we do. But I think that's why it's so competitive. That's why the standard is so high. You have to come in being able to play you can't you can't expect to have hours and hours to practice and hone your craft while you're while you're performing your duties as assigned.


Amanda Huffman14:39

And where did you start at your first assignment?


Charlan Rieve14:42

My first duty station was at Warner-Robins. So that's the Reserve Command listing out there. It's the largest component of the Air Force and the band for it was active duty so I was active duty from day one. However, we were the US Air Force band up reserve I say we're because it is past tense because after for shaping in 2012, they close the doors on that band. And that was one of the bands that was that was permanently shuttered. So yeah, that was my first duty station.


Amanda Huffman15:13

So if it closed because of force shaping and you were not they're very long, right?


Charlan Rieve15:18

It was so funny. I showed up and and they said, "Oh, get comfortable. Yeah, your going to be around here for a while." About eight months later, he announced for shaping the announced that band of the reserve is going to be one of the bands closed, and no one, no one lost a job, no one got hand to that day it was you're going to be in another location, and it'll be farmed out. And then there was some natural attrition as well, because some people were closer to retirement and simply didn't want to deal with it. So that happened as well. And I know that happened across a multitude of career fields. In that time, I happened to be in a stage of life where they announced that right around the time the guy I was dating proposed to me, so he was not in the military. By the way. He's another musician. My husband is the oldest and we had met in a symphony outside of the military, we had met at a gig and become friends and become more than friends and develop organically. And then I got the announcement. Well, I'll be moving somewhere probably within a year, I don't know exactly when, two months later, I got orders to go to Germany. And at the time, he was playing with a Logan opera festival in Logan, Utah. And I was in Warner Robins, Georgia. And we had two months to plan a wedding. So I could have the same last name and marriage certificate to be on the same orders to go to Germany in October.


Amanda Huffman16:44

That sounds like the military


Charlan Rieve16:48

And and you know what girls listening, you need to know that you need to know that, hey, you're living your life, but you're working for the Air Force, you're covering an asset and you're going to be where the government should be. So it's exciting. You get I was so grateful that we had a three year opportunity to live in Europe as newlyweds, you know, but there were some other things that came along with that. I'm sure we'll get to that. But you should keep that in mind. You know that this is a place where you might be in one place you don't want to be queen might be moved around three duty stations in a six year career. So all the sudden moving.


Amanda Huffman17:24

Yeah, so you guys got married, and then you moved to Germany and you're newlyweds in a foreign country. But you travel a lot. 


Charlan Rieve17:33

Yes, with various ensembles within the band. I performed in 11 different countries. And the first one was just a few weeks after we had gotten there. So we gotten there almost on Halloween. And we showed up and that's a story and of itself. Traveling the military rotator out of BWI is a story in and of itself. But to move things along, we made it and made it with our cat. And then, and my first concert tour was to Italy with the full the full complement the full concert band for a holiday tour. It was getting close to Christmas time, right? And you know, I was really queasy. Feeling good. And we're in Italy, and there's wine and there's great food. And I discovered upon returning to our newly acquired home, which is another process by the way, if you ever get stationed overseas, ask me those questions later. Yeah, I discovered that I was a mom. And we had we had brought an extra passenger on our flight.


Amanda Huffman18:40

Wow, that's crazy.


Charlan Rieve18:43

It's the adventure, part of the adventure. 


Amanda Huffman18:46

So you got I mean, obviously you could play while you were pregnant. Right? And then then you got your maternity leave. And then was your husband able to find work while he was in Germany plane. 


Charlan Rieve18:58

We were extremely blessed. And I and I mean that a lot of spouses have a hard time and you know, he couldn't be a freelancing musician over there as an American citizen in Germany. The systems are not compatible. So he actually walked into a an insurance position at the Geico overseas location that just happened to be down the road and there was somebody who was PCs and out moving out. And so they had an opening. He had the skills necessary, they could train him to do the job. And so he ended up selling insurance to military people stationed around the world overseas, that that could drive their own vehicles.


Amanda Huffman19:40

So he had a job and then you had a job and then and then you guys had a baby. How do you have like a CDC? You see. I haven't been overseas. Did you go to like the CDC or how did you do childcare? 


Charlan Rieve19:54

I did not do the CDC. I wanted to pursue other avenues and it will As a blessing to become a new mom over in Germany, because there are actually people who are subsidized by the German government to take care of pre k babies, you know, up to up to that kindergarten age. And yeah, I had a baby and I knew we were going back before he would be three. So there would be no problem with the age limit. Again, another family happened to be moving out. And they actually the life talk to my husband because of the car insurance process to get things back to the state. And she revealed that she was a wonderful Danny's color palettes motor, and if means day mother's so cute. And she was absolutely perfect. She was like another a young grandma. Yeah. And she's very supportive. I wanted to nurse and when I interviewed her, I kind of explained that as much as possible, I would, I would be spending my lunch breaks, right, because she hurt her house was very close to the West Gate of brimstone. So I would I would just pack my lunch every day I'd like eat in the car, and I'd go nurse my baby and then drive back in time for whatever and and I feel like the typical day of kind of going back the typical day was usually the mornings for more administrative, you know, talking with your sponsors, or whoever needed to talk to to arrange future events. And then the afternoons were more for rehearsals and various ensembles.


Amanda Huffman21:29

Sounds like it all worked out really nicely.


Charlan Rieve21:32

That part didn't Germany, it did not work as smoothly into my third duty station was a Peterson Air Force Base. And it was not as copacetic.


Amanda Huffman21:42

So after three years in Germany, you move back to to the states and went to Colorado. And you said it was hard with childcare or with the job?


Charlan Rieve21:51

With childcare again, because I did not want to press the CDC button. And, you know, I I might mention, I wasn enlisted, and I had known from the moment I knew I was going to be a mom. I knew I couldn't re-enlist, I knew this was one and done. And I had a six year contract, I wanted to honor my signature, I wanted to honor my commitment. But this was going to be it. And I didn't make a secret of that with new colleagues at Peterson were extremely supportive. That is not always the case, they were far less supportive in Germany, which is hilarious, because I'm going to be there for my three year tour of duty. And anyway, that's another story for another time, but it'd be in home childcare person that we had gotten for our older son, while my husband stayed home with our second son, who was born after we arrived at Peterson, two months to be precise after we were born. Peterson, it was not a good environment for our son. And I think she'd just been doing it for way too long. And so unfortunately, that what we were hoping would be a loving and more smaller ratio between care provider and children turned out to be kind of toxic. So it was good that that was the shortest amount of time that we needed another care provider. And that definitely played into, you know, I need to press the button and I will I will do my job. I will do the best I can do and leave it campfire rules better than I found it.


Amanda Huffman23:20

Yeah. So is there anything else from your time in that you really think we should dive into? Or are you ready to go to treat your transition?


Charlan Rieve23:29

I think I think a lot of organizations have some elements of toxicity. And there are going to be struggles in whatever you choose to do. There's there's going to be this opportunity for growth and for personal growth, again, that the period of time that I transitioned to to Germany was a rough time for a lot of people. Because it was a time where a lot of people were making different career choices, maybe taking early retirement, maybe some things were going away, some positions were going away, and fear was very high after the bush I think then there was sequestration and sequestration prevented a lot of activities from occurring, including live performances of band members for a period of time. For me, in my personal life. It was great because it was when I had a baby that we don't so I came back to work and it was a desk job. I could go and come back and there were anything that you could drive to or was within certainly within house within, you know, supporting military events or supporting VOD sponsored events. You know, you were certainly performing, you know, your your job, but all the community relations and the strategic outreach between Europe and Africa, a lot of those. A lot of those events were canceled that at that time and people were worried about the jobs and so I happened to have a boss who was toxic. You know, the the commander was I believe he had personal struggles, he had some personal struggles with alcohol, and that's an addiction. And anybody who's dealt with addiction or know somebody who has dealt with addiction knows that that is hard. When you have that kind of person in leadership, and they're verbally abusive, and they're personal, moral character is not stellar. It's hard. And it's, it's harder in the military, because you can't just quit. You can't just say, you know what, that's inappropriate, or you know what, you can't actually call me that. You can't do that in the military, you just swallow it and let it go, hopefully, hopefully, you have the tools and then personal network or the community that's supportive, that you convince, let it go, and then go in and do your job and separate one negative person or one toxic environment from Hey, that's not my job. Hey, that's not the Air Force. But even today, even in the 21st century, there, there still misogyny is still alive. And well, and and women, we are in the minority, we're still in the minority, we're growing, we're getting more seats at the table. But we're still in the minority.


Amanda Huffman26:09

It's really true. Especially I mean, this year 2020. #IamVanessaGuillen, and all the campaigns that are going on to try and make changes, there's still a lot of problems and progress that needs to be made. So let's transition to your transition.


Charlan Rieve26:24

I love that we're here, actually. Because there are so many choices in transition, right? It's almost possible to be paralyzed. And, you know, at the end of the day, what I can say, to somebody thinking about a military career, some currently in serving, or somebody who's maybe in transition themselves, or recently, veteran innovator, for a long time, the military career has a definitive endpoint. At some point, it's not lifelong. So you have to have some, something brewing in the back of your mind for what next. And I believe the time to start thinking about that is after you get a basic, you have no time or energy for anything, but basic and basic. But after you're done with that, then you're thinking about, okay, this is great. This is where I am, life changes, and the only constant is change. And that's still true in a military career in an organization that is very rigorously structured. The cool thing is, you know, the first and the 15th. You know, how many years in and how many dependents you have, you know what a pay scale is going to be, but you don't know when they're going to change retirement from being a pension to being essentially a tsp. That's mandatory, which they did, you know, for the Air Force. I can't speak for any other services. But they did that. So for my transition, I was about halfway through. I was about three years in to my six year enlistment, when I knew that that was going to be it for my military career. So I started planning financially for the holding of a transition cushion. By the time I was in that terminal leave at the point terminal leave, which sounds dreadful. It's actually lovely. For for the time, but that I was in, we were allowed to accrue up to 60 days, and then you knew you were pulling the same paycheck for two months after you don't have any more responsibilities. And you don't have to get up at whatever o'clock you know. So we I had that two months banked Personally, I had 40,000 with my husband and I had worked to save that up specifically designed for the transition. And I had multiple plans like you know, that branch of the tree branches of, well, if this and this and this. So we had a plan for if we stayed in Colorado, and at the top of my by the time I was in that terminal leave. My husband had completed his real estate brokerage in the state of Colorado, he transferred it because he had won a real estate license in Georgia. He had transferred it to Colorado. He was starting to get in network with the brokerages and the realtors and organizations in Colorado and it was going to be his turn to leave whatever he found whatever the new budget was, then I would figure out if I needed a new full time doing part time is a stay at home time. Because again, my my impetus for leaving was because I'm a mom now and I could really feel it. My older son was three and a half, three and a half when I separated from the Air Force and our relationship was damaged because I couldn't be there. I had to go on contract for as I was gone away overnight, sometimes for many nights in a row. So he didn't trust me. And then I had two of them. So there's the additional sibling rivalry. Oh no, I'm not the only child. There's a younger child and the baby gets on the attention. So unraveling the emotional issues of being a young mom with young children in the midst of this transition, and figuring out what happens if we stay in Colorado, what happens if we go to Maryland, and that's where my husband is originally from, and his parents are there. We have a little bit of family network there. Well, that would be so nice to have someone else to help with, like with raising children, right? Or go back to Georgia, where my husband's professional network was the strongest we had met in Georgia. He was he was established as a freelancer and a teacher. He had played multiple symphonies, ballets, operas, and so he was connected the most as a musician back in Georgia. That was a lot to figure out. In the span of a couple of months. I have to share this story. I was open, right, I'm very open minded. And I think a lot of veterans are very open minded about I can do anything, you know, with a can do attitude and motivation, right? I wasn't quite that broad, but I was trying to be within communications I was trying to be, I can be a presenter, I can be speaker. That's what a performer is. We bring the room we present information. And I could just tell that a musician's lifestyle and young children weren't going to be the path that I was going to take next, because of the schedule, I went to an interview about a potential for a potential training consultant position. And this was for a veteran owned security business in Colorado Springs. guy was as nice as he could be. And the administrative assistant was just lovely. And I particularly learned how lovely they were because I showed up with my toddler to the interview, the babysitter had called that morning, a mere two hours before the interview and said she couldn't watch the baby. And my older son was in preschool. And my husband was at a networking event in Denver, Colorado, it was mommy and toddler. But that was not the best first impression, work the job interview. For a post military career, I'm so glad I had that experience. And I had a couple of other interesting experiences once we got to the Atlanta area, because again, I reached out I leveraged LinkedIn found a couple of things to apply to the offer mean interview. And it's there's one that particularly sticks out of the mind, in my mind. The company was named after a type of shark, it was a consulting agency. And after talking with the interviewer, for a while, emphasis sales position, it was absolutely not a good fit. And it was that moment where I thought, Gosh, what am I doing, I left the military to have more time to be with my boys. So I'm going to do that. And I'll we'll figure out the money, we'll figure out what we have to do later. And in the meantime, there was the peace of mind, again, having some transition patience, having that set aside to cover the exorbitant cost of moving cross country. Yes, the government does move you to up to your home of record on their dime, but you have a certain time limit, and then it will be on your dime. If you don't accomplish a new home by that point. And we have so many things, so many things personally and professionally to figure out. Happily, my husband got connected with a strings program. So he started teaching alone, I was a stay at home mom, and I was a stay at home moms who they're young under five kids after being that person who is extremely busy and communicating with multiple adults on multiple levels. Now I'm communicating with two people who really don't have much of a vocabulary and do inscrutable things because children do, right. And it's amazing and beautiful and wonderful to be there. And I would not change that time. It's been over three years now, since I separated I'm so so grateful that we leaned into lean times for finances, but we lean into much healthier times for family relationships. And what do you value more than a little debt?


Amanda Huffman34:20

Yeah, I mean, you know, my story. So you know, it was a hard transition. But I feel the same way. I'm so thankful to be home with my kids. And when COVID happened, my oldest who had been going to school was home all the time. And I was like, Oh, I missed you. And we're homeschooling. And it's been going really well. I mean, it still has its moments, but it's just so much fun to be able to be there for my boys and to be there with them and watch them learn and grow. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. I just really I love it. So let's talk about you say you've been home for three years, but I know that you're doing a little bit more than staying at home now. So let's talk about what you're doing now.


Charlan Rieve35:00

So homeschooling Yeah, definitely leaned into that journey as well, because we were in the midst of nothing to do with the Air Force. But we actually had a couple of moves. Post military from my husband's Dad, I'm have been homeschooling since my older son was five, and he's seven. Now he's eight took practice and consistency and time, it's also been a wonderful journey. And it's a lot of it's a lot of time, it's a lot of energy. It's enough of a job in and of itself. On top of homeschooling, I connected with Laurie Norris, I see a year after I separated, and she had put this up a wonderful all call to veterans who might be within their transition or might be interested in a career switch or might be underemployed or, you know, whatever the case may be, I responded to that message. And from that message, there was a phone call. And from that phone call, there was an offer of basically contracted freelance work for and she trained me on the job for how to write resume speak, with a focus for transitioning veterans, or maybe I've also by this point, you know, I've written material career materials for civilians, as well. But my main focus is transitioning veterans. And that's not just transitioning right out of the military, that's also after the military experience, but they still a lot of a lot of experience that you need to mention, has come from the military. So that was very, very amazing opportunity that has led to a podcast and and the podcast is called lessons learned for us. It's in production right now. And we're planning to release it on November 11. So Lori is going to host it. And she has brings her breadth of experience and knowledge as a career coach and professionals or by career coach who has helped a multitude of veterans from the one enlistment to a full career spectrum, highest level officers across the services. So she has a wealth of knowledge, and she's interviewing that are to transition. She's interviewing veterans currently in tradition. And and the idea is, of course, that the story will be shared. Sure a series a series of stories will be shared, but to give anyone actionable tasks to do specifically targeting transitioning veterans. So that's lessons learned for that. And and that's in production. And I'm on her team to, to edit that and to to get it out there as much as possible to help share lessons learned with our brothers and sisters.


Amanda Huffman37:47

Yeah, that sounds amazing. And I'll link to it in the show notes. Because by the time this goes live, it will have had a few episodes, at least. So we can share it and people can find it and listen, because that sounds really interesting. And I bet there's so many different transition stories that people can learn from. And one thing that I struggled in my transition is I felt so alone. And through the podcast, I realized I wasn't the only one who felt the way. So I'm sure that that will resonate with a lot of veterans, and especially people who are looking to get out. So that sounds really cool. So my last question is, what advice would you give to older men considering joining the military?


Charlan Rieve38:29

Yes, you can. So I mentioned earlier, the size of the employer, right that the US military is any branch, you're getting diversity, you're getting a slew of opportunities, and you're going to learn about different kinds of career fields. So yes, you can, you can do it. I want any girl thinking listening to this thinking about the reality of life, and between men and women, women are the ones who get to carry the babies and have the babies. So when you're looking at an employer, consider what the maternity policies are. And consider how many employers include six weeks in maternity leave six weeks primary caregiver leave and three weeks of secondary caregiver leave how many employers and I know this is current, this is more current, when I was in there was at least a year before you would deploy after getting birth. So as a woman, you know that you're going to be with your baby has a baby. That's extremely important. I could tell multiple stories about breastfeeding and combat boots and pumping at work. And at the time that I was in Germany. We were at the band was in a temporary location. I put temporary in air quotes, which you can't see on the podcast. But it was temporary in the sense that they had already been there a couple of years when I showed up and we were still there. When I left. Three years later, they had installed permanent plumbing in the porta potti next to the warehouse, the temporary warehouse and there was It was this post World War Two, you know, lead based paint as best as in the ceiling, we named the bats, you had to check your desk to make sure there wasn't any bat poo on your chair or i think i think it was Nosferatu when I got there. And it was like, I don't know, it was either Dracula or Lucy, when I left, I can't remember what. But you know, so. So this is something that might happen. And it was in that place where I could pump breast milk, there was the potable water to clean the parts out. So my first shirt, my first sergeant had an office about halfway across the base, put the door that closed, unlocked, and also outlets, and also access to a bathroom that I could watch the parks and with hot water, that was something to consider not every employer is going to support your personal goals and dreams. And along with that, how many employers pay for your college education. I am pressing the button on a master's program in marriage and family therapy. It's starting on Monday, it's 100% paid for by the GI Bill. And there's a housing allowance. There's once per year book seven. And by the end of this, I can take the exam to get a license in another specialty. And it's thanks to my service in the Air Force. So how many employers will do that?


Amanda Huffman41:26

Yeah, there are a lot of benefits. It's a lot of sacrifice. And that's how you get those benefits. But there are bennefits on the other side., thank you so much for your time and for your story about what it's like to join and serve in the Air Force ban and what it was like to be married to a male military spouse and just going overseas and everything that you talked about. I really appreciate you taking time to be on the podcast.


Charlan Rieve41:56

Thank you so much for having me, Amanda.


Amanda Huffman42:04

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