Season 3 Episode 137: Advice from a Dual Military Married Couple with Curtis and Oneika Brown
On this episode, we welcome a dual military married couple that have both retired from the Air Force. Oneika Brown retired first, after working in aviation maintenance and intel. Since leaving the military in 2018, she has been working for a government contractor using her administrative skills. In addition, she uses her creative skills in sewing and launched an alterations and custom fashion design business. Curtis Brown had a diverse career in the Air Force where he served as an aircraft mechanic, healthcare program manager and military training instructor. Since his retirement in 2019, Curtis has been working in program and project management. He is also the Director of Military Affairs for the Alamo Chapter of the Project Management Institute.
Oneika’s transition was smooth from the perspective of securing a job. Before she retired, she was using her administrative skills to manage personnel security clearances. She was able to land a similar position as a government contractor after she retired. Her challenge in the military transition was learning how to find her identity once she took off the uniform.
While Oneika was in the process of transitioning, Curtis received new orders and was given the option of relocating to New Mexico or North Dakota. After weighing his options and considering the needs of his family, Curtis decided to retire as well. Curtis used Onward to Opportunity to pursue his PMP certification.
When Oneika began her new role as a government contractor, she essentially had the same responsibilities as her previous role while serving in the military. In fact, she remained in the same office and had the same work colleagues. Although her job description is similar to her previous military role, she has tighter restrictions when it comes to executing her job. She realized that her rank and position in the military often helped her to meet deadlines. Without her rank, Oneika has had to learn how to function within the office hierarchy.
Oneika reflects on her military career and admits there are times she would like to erase the memories of those 20 years. As a young 17-year-old joining the Air Force, Oneika started off as an aviation mechanic even though she is a creative at heart. As a person of color and a female in a male-dominated field, Oneika experienced loneliness at times. Through journaling and counseling, she has come to embrace her military service for shaping her character. Learning to recognize the positive aspects of her military service has helped her to understand her identity without the uniform.
As a married couple, Oneika and Curtis believe their open communication allowed them to each have a successful transition. They realigned their goals as individuals and as a couple during their military transitions. Although their transitions were not similar and both are still navigating life without the uniform, they credit honest communication for their strong marriage. They operate as a team.
Oneika and Curtis advise service members to look at the pros and cons of the survivor benefit plan. After weighing their options, they chose to instead increase their life insurance plans and decline the survivor benefit plan. Research your options well in advance of your transition and before you receive a disability rating. Be prepared for your tax bracket to change and research ways to decrease your taxable income. Stay physically and mentally healthy.
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Connect with Oneika at https://www.linkedin.com/in/oneikabrown/
Connect with Curtis at https://www.linkedin.com/in/curtis-jbl-brown/
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