Adjusting to civilian life

Published 1:28 am Saturday, November 12, 2011

After 22 1/2 years of service in the Army, Sgt. 1st Class Jeffery Ammons celebrated Veterans Day counting down the days to his official retirement, being at home with his family and adjusting to civilian life.

Ammons and his family recently moved to Andalusia from Fort Bliss, Texas, and he will retire at the end of the month.

Ammons said he joined the Army in December 1988 and went to basic training at Fort Dix, N.J., and completed his advanced individualized training in Aberdeen, Md.

“I joined because it was family-oriented,” he said. “My dad was in. So were all of my uncles, and I decided to keep the legacy going. I just stayed in a little longer than I thought.”

Ammons’ MOS is a 63Y or track vehicle mechanic, where he is trained to work on M113, armored vehicle launched bridges, CEVs, and M88s.

His first assignment was to the 8th Infantry, 12th Engineering Battalion in Dexheim, Germany.

“That’s where we left from when we were going to Desert Storm,” he said. “I remember being in the Suez Canal on July 4, 1991. We had a guide take us through the canal. It’s interesting that Egypt and Israel are separated by that body of water.”

Ammons said it was quite the experience going overseas to fight against one of the largest armies in the world besides the U.S. Army.

“It was eye-opening, seeing how bad other cultures have it,” he said.

Ammons said he has also been assigned to the 588th Engineering Battalion in 1995 at Fort Hood, Texas; stationed at in Korea with the 44th Engineering Battalion; stationed with the 13th COSCOM, 2nd Chemical Battalion at Ford Hood; and served with the 1st Calvary Division at Fort Hood.

“After that I served three years on recruiting duty,” he said. “Then I PCSed to Germany and that’s where I did a 15-month tour in Iraq.”

Most recently, Ammons was stationed at Fort Bliss, where he did a year tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 31st combat support hospital in the Helmand Province at Camp Dwyer.

Ammons said his wife, Tamara, and his children Tasha, Anna and Jeffery Jr., traveled with him everywhere, with the exception of his deployments, after he was stationed in Korea.

“They’ve had to deal with changing schools and all that,” he said.

Jeffery Ammons is shown with his wife, Tamara, son, Jeffery Jr., and daughter Anna. Ammons will retire from the Army at the end of the month after 22 1/2 years of service.

Ammons said he had the opportunity to get out of the Army in 2001.

“When I hit 10 years, I was told that if I reenlisted, it would be indefinitely,” he said. “So, I came home and talked to the wife, and she told me to do whatever I wanted to. So, I made a list of pros and cons for civilian versus Army. When I was done the Army had more pros. So, I reenlisted and just kept going.”

Today, Ammons is adjusting to civilian life and has a job locally.

“It’s really odd,” he said. “The first few days, I just listened to people and observed how civilian people do and act. I was amazed by the level of difference of how the military and civilians differ.

“It’s much different in the Army,” he said. “Everything was set out for us on a daily basis. We knew our training schedules for the month. Week by week, day by day, hour by hour was planned out for us. It was very regimented. Civilian life is not set up like that.”

Ammons will officially retire from the Army Nov. 30.

Ammons said when he decided to retire and move back, he called his father, Jack Ammons, and asked for help finding a home.

“He called me back the next week and said ‘I found you a house,’” he said.

The house Jack Ammons found was right next door to his own.

Still, Ammons said he and his family are happy to be in Andalusia.

“This is where we want to be,” he said.

Ammons said he’s glad he joined the military.

“I’m glad I did what I did,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of people thank me, but this is what I chose to do. There is no need to thank me for doing my job. It’s made me a better person. It’s made me who I am today, which I have no complaints about.”