My first operational assignment in the Air Force was to Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine. Loring wasn’t the coldest (the flight line didn’t close until the wind chill was 40 below), or the snowiest (184 inches our first year), or the most remote (seven hours north of Boston) bomber base. All those factors combined to make Loring a dreaded assignment. And even in the late 1970s, the B-52s we flew seemed antiquated. The result was that many people quit the Air Force rather than accept orders to Loring. That meant those already there had to stay there well beyond the usual three years.
But one day, after I’d been there less than three years, I found orders on my desk to a new assignment in reconnaissance airplanes in Omaha. It was a dramatic career change. Instead of the routine of nuclear alert, I’d get to fly all over the world.
Everyone wanted to know how I’d managed to get such a premier job. Long before, I’d put “reconnaissance” on an assignment preference sheet but then forgot all about it. I was as surprised as anyone.
Loring had long been on the base closure list, and soon a personnel team from headquarters arrived to give everyone a new assignment. Amazingly, no one wanted to go to reconnaissance. Even after all their complaining, no one wanted to risk a career change. Everyone preferred to stay with what they knew.
I hadn’t been seeking a new assignment; I just said “yes” when given the chance. Saying “yes” to new opportunities became a habit that led to a life of adventure.
I wonder how often we miss the opportunities God gives us because we prefer to stay with what we know.