Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Military Bases – The Good, Bad, and Ugly

This segment I’d like to talk about military bases pros and cons.  I would like to take your comments and questions regarding the bases you have lived.  I am hoping to get a lot of comments on this subject.  I will split up the bases by service.  I’ll get this segment started.

I was stationed in Youngsan South Korea, and Fort Drum New York.  I went to basic training at Fort Jackson and AIT at Fort Gordon Georgia.  I also stayed at Schofield barracks in Hawaii for 2 weeks.

Fort Jackson - South Carolina
Never in my life have I experienced such heat and humidity as I did in South Carolina.  The Good about South Carolina…the gas is much cheaper than Ohio.  The bad… it was way too hot for my blood.  I’m not a big fan of sweating, and I’m pretty sure I sweat more in South Carolina than I have my whole life.  The Ugly was those darn ants.  These ants would crawl all the way up your uniform until they got to your neck and then would dig in.  Perhaps they were big fans of Twilight.  I’m not certain for sure…but I had never been bitten by an ant until I lived in South Carolina.

Fort Gordon - Georgia
This base was pretty much the same as Fort Jackson.  I lived there from September to December so the heat wasn’t as bad as it was for me in South Carolina.  I do remember running around in shorts in December.   That would never happen in Ohio…at Fort Drum NY was another story.  For some reason while stationed in Fort Drum people liked to run in shorts during the winter. 
The pros to Fort Gordon was the mess halls.  I really enjoyed eating the food.  The kitchen police (KP) duty…not so much.  I enjoyed KP duty (as much as one can) much more in basic training.  The bad about Fort Gordon…AIT for me was much worse than basic training.  I had to wake up at 4am rather than 5:30am like I did in basic training.  The Ugly…something I did that I should have never done was take a Greyhound bus back home to Dayton.  It took me about 13 hours to get home and I was one of the last people to get out of there for Christmas.
Youngsan - South Korea
base in Korea.  My best experience ever was in South Korea.  I met my wife in South Korea, the food was cheap and delicious.  The barrack rooms were the best since I had joined the Army.  The shopping was unbelievable, and so was the night life.  In Korea you almost feel like a celebrity.  At least that is the way the people made me feel.  The Korean people always seemed to try and compare you with some famous person they knew from America.
Unfortunately, I was Jim Carrey.  Not sure if I was the Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber…or Ace Ventura Jim Carrey.  My other friend was Tiger Woods.  It was a good time.  

The bad…I was in culture shock for about 6 months.  I really didn’t explore much of Korea like I wished I had.  I missed home.  It did feel like a prison at times.  The Ugly…for me it was personally bad since my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was expected to die within a year.  I lost the ability to spend the last year of my life with my father.  I was told many times that I could get a compassionate reassignment, but with no success.

Fort Drum - Upstate New York
I finally made it back to the states from Korea and was excited to drive my 1988 Trans Am GTA.  It was my Knight Rider. All digital dash, leather seats, she was a real beauty.  By the way…that is part of the trailer I lived in While I was stationed at Fort Drum.  It never really moved since half the year the car was under a block of ice.

This care had the 350 V8 that got me about 12 miles per gallon and was a financial train wreck.  I purchased it for $6,000 back in 1999 after my favorite car the Dodge Monaco was rear ended by a truck.

On my way to Fort Drum, my Trans Am went completely dead while I was driving 65 per hour.   It then started snowing as I pulled over on the highway.  I began to get my safety triangles out when I noticed my dome light was on.  I turned the key and it started back up.  Thank goodness!  I had many strange electrical problems with that car.  The base was blanked with snow and over the course of my time there I got my Trans Am stuck 3 times.  It was a terrible place to drive that car.  I drove it only 4000 miles in 4 years.  As soon as I arrived at Fort Drum and started in-processing the attitude of everyone was that this place was a frozen hell.  The Bad…Fort Drum PT was very difficult.  They had more injuries than any other base probably due to the snow and ice.  The Ugly…-38 degrees?

Enough said.  Let us talk about your bases.  Be sure to specify what branch of service you are in and where it is located.

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