Life After The Military

by Nate Hoff | December 18, 2018 | 1 Comment

When I joined the military after my senior year of high school, it was primarily for one reason, to pay for college. I had always wanted to be a mechanical engineer and dreamt of building cool shit for a living. The military seemed like the perfect way to fund that ambition. As most people know, however, the military has a way of changing your outlook on life. Instead of going to school to be an engineer, I decided to get a degree in Fire and Explosion Investigation. My father is an investigator, so naturally, it seemed like a good fit. Plus, I'd get to blow shit up in class. Add in a minor in Homeland Security and I was sure to land some badass agency job doing Jack Bauer type shit. Or so I thought...

I didn't get out of the military entirely once I went to college. The National Guard allowed me to make some extra money and keep health benefits while in school, plus keeping a security clearance seemed like a good idea at the time. I drilled once a month and deployed a handful more times, which resulted in my 4-year degree taking seven years (insert Tommy Boy reference here). I didn't mind though, life was good as a veteran using the GI Bill, and the classes were actually fun.

At some point in the program, you start to realize that life as an explosives investigator is a lot more like doing a 15,000 piece puzzle and writing a report about it, and a lot less like CSI. Although fun in its own right, spending the next 20+ years sifting through debris and the occasional pile of human remains no longer seemed like the right path for me. My role was always the person responsible for reconstructing the bomb from all the fragments collected, finding the exact pieces used and tracing them back to their point of origin (were they where purchased). In all that time I was never once wrong. That was one of my two areas of expertise. The other was, and still is, interrogations. I probably don't need to explain why that one is fun.

Come graduation time, I was faced with a dilemma: I had the opportunity to interview in D.C. to be a low-level employee at some of the agencies. I already had a few solved cases under my belt and was one of the top explosives investigators in my class. For me, the idea of sifting through evidence and going to court for the rest of my adult life just didn't seem like a good option. Instead, I packed everything I owned and moved to the mountains of Idaho with no job, a few dollars and no place to live. It seems to have worked out.

I miss the satisfaction of solving cases from time to time. To fill that void I work as the Fire Investigator for a local department. I'll never question if I made the right choice though. If you've read any of the issues of the "Violent Little Bathroom Magazine" you know we have fun here. Call me crazy, but designing products like the "Mutt Cutts Van" Morale Patch and "The Hub" Morale Patch is more fun than writing reports.


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1 Comment

Peter Thurber said:

Were you in the Air Force or the Military? I’m confused.

Thank you for your time.

Pete InPesnacoal

December 18, 2018

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