Green to Blue: One man's life-changing decision

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Both blue and green run through one man's veins. Following in his father's footsteps, he switched services. But unlike his father who switched from the Air Force to Army going from a pararescueman to a pilot he made the change from Army to Air Force.

Like father like son, Lt. Col. Joseph D'Amico decided he would change branches, switching from being a cavalry officer on tanks to commander of a squadron of base defenders.

Balancing a deployment and family life in the Army was very difficult, said Colonel D'Amico, 822nd Base Defense Squadron commander. But in the Air Force I can better succeed at home and on the job.

Since the switch allowed the lieutenant colonel more time at home, his wife has had the opportunity to spend time with him.

"He has loved the Air Force and everything it has done for us. He loves his chosen profession within the Air Force much more than what he was doing in the Army," said Christine D'Amico, wife of Colonel D'Amico. He has been happier since the switch, and that, of course, makes his family happy as well.

Colonel D'Amico entered the Army through the early commissioning program as a second lieutenant and spent five years in the National Guard before switching to active duty in 1998.

When he entered into active duty, he became a part of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Carson, Colo. During that time, the D'Amico's were expecting their first child..

"The 3rd ACR is a combat unit and I was not able to balance all the things in my life like family," Colonel D'Amico said. "At some point I needed to make the decision of how I was going to meet that balance and I didn't think what I was doing in the Army was going to facilitate that."

While in the Army, Colonel D'Amico held positions as a tank platoon leader in charge of a16-person platoon and four tanks, a company commander and a unit movement officer.

The training that was required for this career consisted of at least four to six months away from his home to remain qualified. He could also be deployed, so the time spent away from family was very high.

"In the Army my husband was gone often, he would train in the field for a time and then return for a while and then go right back out again, "said Mrs. D'Amico. "When he was home, he worked long hours and it was difficult for a young new wife and mother to be alone so often, it was stressful for the both of us, but we managed. "

Colonel D'Amico saw this problem and knew he had to do something about it.

"The way I was heading with my life and my family, it was not where I wanted it to go and it wasn't anyone's fault but my own so I had two opportunities," said the colonel. "I had to either become a civilian or make the decision to switch to the Air Force."

As a captain in the Army, he heard about the inter-service transfer program that could allow him to transfer to a different service, but accomplishing this was not an easy task.

"When I went into the office and asked if there was such a program, they told me yes but that the chance of getting approved was very slim," said the colonel. "The process to send it in was long I had to go through the assistant to the secretary of the Army and then go through the Air Force inter-service transfer board to be accepted. But guess what, I got approved. "

"All the things I have learned in the Army will stay with me throughout my Air Force Career. Things like the level of discipline and the teamwork between myself and everyone I meet are all skills I continue to use today," said Col. D'Amico. "These things have helped me in my Air Force career to become a better leader and I thank the Army for that."

Colonel D'Amico never gave up on his journey to becoming an Air Force officer and to serve his country.