CAPblog started as an experiment, just over 4 years, 1,868 posts, and 4,207 comments ago. Looking back, I'm both amazed and grateful for the experience.
I first started blogging because in the Spring of 2004, blogging was the new hot thing. The needs of my day job is what got me started. I was working in a media role that lead me to be fielding lots of questions about what blogs were about. I figured if I was going to understand blogs, I needed to become a blogger.
Thinking about what I wanted to blog about, I quickly realized that CAP was the part of my life that was even the least bit interesting. I thought maybe "A Captain's Blog," focused on my upcoming term as a Squadron Commander might be interesting. But reading other great MilBlogs, showed me how frustrating writing about one's own command could be.
My my online persona started out as "CAPblogger," or just "Cb," figuring that I should start out completely anonymous. My thesis was that I would write, "about CAP, and things that would interest CAP members." It was that focus that I think lead to the popularity and success of the project. So I pressed on.
After some time, some folks who know me, started figuring out that I was indeed CAPblogger. I guess I cited the blog too many times, or maybe it was the times when I said something at a Squadron Meeting, that ended up being fodder for the blog... I had decided right up front never to lie about my online persona. In fact, at least early on, my personal ROE was to never tell anyone that I was behind the blog... but if asked directly, I would admit to being the man behind the curtain.
Eventually, as the occasional guest blogger made an appearance on CAPblog, and more CAP focused blogs started to appear other places... I decided to change up my online persona again, and adopt the moniker of "Midway Six." This of course was a tip of the headset to Matt at the amazing BLACKFIVE blog. It was in reference to the fact that I was then serving as the Commander of my Squadron.
thefuturehomeoftheusairforce The Army tends to standardize tactical callsigns, assigning "something" 6 to the unit commander, 5 to the XO, and so on. The theory was the folks in the know could figure out who I was... while keeping the noobs at bay.
I even managed to achieve a modicum of respect. The folks at Maxwell gave me the nod to continue doing what I was doing. I can't express enough how awesome it was to get such rock star treatment when I occasionally had the the chance to travel around the country and visit with other CAP units. It has been one hell of a ride.
I recently stood down as Commander of my unit.
I had become a short timer, as my 4 year term was getting close to done. Luckily we had identified a spectacularly well qualified replacement from within the unit. So I made the recommendation to my new boss at Group that he relieve me when the time was right. A new job, my family (which now includes "Little Six") and a new startup on the horizon made continuing to serve as a commander... daunting.
It was both the hardest and the easiest thing that I have done. Hard because I respect the people that I have had the honor to serve with over the past almost 4 years.
So that explains the yet another change of moniker you see below my posts... If there is one rule in the long and distinguished history of aviator callsigns, it's that you don't get to pick your own callsign. So in a naming
ambush ceremony held by the unit, I was renamed "DATA." (Note that "FANBOY" is sorely missed.)
"DATA" comes from my predilection for gadgets and technology. After all, I am the first person in history to SMS the NESA Commandant about returning to base after an alternator failure, in-flight, via iPhone. (I'm just lucky they choose DATA, and not just, "geek.") Oh well.
As I said in my remarks after the Squadron Change of Command Ceremony... I am so lucky to look back at my time as a Squadron Commander and have a truly amazing highlight reel playing back in my head.
Thank you EVERYONE.
What's next you ask?
I plan to continue to serve, continue to fly, and continue to blog. Furthermore, I have something big in the works that I hope you'll all enjoy.
Captain Rod "DATA" Rakic
Chicago Midway Composite Squadron
Chicago, IL (MDW)