Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Break out the champagne!

One score ago and an over confident young boy, entered the United States Marine Corps.  I entered the Marine Corps for a change.  That was not one of the tablets presented to me by my recruiter.  In fact, he made me pick 3 and after much debate I picked three.  I have no idea what picked, I just remember it was stupid.  I mean why pick reasons to join, I drove myself to the recruiters station.  I was in Milwaukee going to University Wisconsin - Milwaukee and was enrolled in the school of architecture. I partied alot, not like what is glamored in stupid movies you see, I had "call the cops and the fire department" parties.  I actually got kicked out of the dorms twice for my behavior and the behavior I inctied.  Just after my 19th birthday and some time spent in the drunk tank in the Milwaukee County jail, I realized that if I didn't do something different I was going to be dead before I reach 30.  I also knew I needed help.

So after sobering up a little(the Wisconsin version) I opened up the Greater Milwaukee phone book, found the closest recruiting station and drove down to it.  I was forced to take a 10 question test and Aced it, then they wanted me to take a longer 50 question test and Aced it as well. I guess they thought I was either lying about my educational background or just thought I was cheating some how.  I was asked when I took my ASVAB and like everyone else I knew it was my junior year in high school.  They looked up my results and said I could pick any job I wanted but had join before my 2 year anniversary of the test.  I told them I could do better, I just was happy to not be in class and didn't take it seriously, but they we adamant that I didnt.  They must have thought I was going to do worse, now looking back, I wish I did take it over.  So thinking about future job placement I picked Aviation Electrician which I was told I couldn't be that exact so it was going to be a 59 hundred or 64 hundred field or MOS (military occupational specialty) and I got it in writing.

I know many people that told me that their recruiter fucked them over or didn't tell them how it was going to be.  I didnt have that problem and chock that up to people not listening and not reading their contract and then asking for it to be fixed.  My recruiter told me exactly how it was going to be.  A good example, a friend of mine was going to join the reserves and wanted to join after his birthday on the 25th. Supposedly he was to ship out on the 31st, but since he didn't read it or ask it to be fixed he shipped out on the 13th.  I laughed my ass off then and still do everytime I think about it. 

I had many contracts by that time in my life, rental, university related, gas, electric, phone, well you get the idea.  Now when I entered the Marine Corps there were computers but not like the ones have today.  Most were used for accounting or some other number based idea.  Before you yell at your screen with Comadore or Atari, that was not what someone today was a computer.   We had typewriters (tap, tap, tap, ding!) and if you wanted copies you used carbon paper or you typed alot more.  The more expensive ones had a write out feature but that didn't work every time and contacts had to be white out free.  There was a gunny (Gunnery Sergeant or GySgt) that did the typing and every time I asked for a correction he got a darker shade of red.  I thought it was funny and I giggled a little which did not help things.  I had three complete rewrites.  Then I was satisfied.   My ship out date was supposed to be February 5th, I picked that time period because I wanted to finish out my semester in college and I had NIN  (Nine Inch Nails) tickets in January and wasn't going to miss that.

February 4th rolls around and I get picked up from my recruiter and had to have some more processing. Paperwork, drug tests stuff like that.  I got a couple of tickets since then and that had to be cleared first.  That took a couple of days, then my first day became February 7th, 1995.

My story from there turned into a wild ride. Many ups and many downs, but I wouldn't have changed a thing.  The Marine Corps helped me understand national pride, how the system really works, and teamwork.  I get choked up when I here the National Anthem or Marine Corps Hymn.  And I get it and want you to get it too.