So there I was being driven by a complete stranger. In the car was another soldier straight out of basic training. He never said a word. We get to the office and he gives me some brochures, shows me how much I would get paid, showed me his college transcripts and how much better he has done in school after joining the Army. He spoke on the phone a lot and made me wait. Probably part of the whole hurry up and wait mentality and perhaps a marketing technique.
Back then the slogan was be all that you can be…get an edge on life…in the Army. I feel this is true today. However, it isn’t just the Army. Any branch of service I feel gives you an edge in life.
So, here I am starting to fill out seemingly endless paperwork when the head boss came out and welcomed me. All I really remember was he was a strong bald dude or an uglier version of Mr. Clean. He started talking about how great the Army is…all the girls that love soldiers and parties that they have. Not that this interested me in the least. Then he went away and the recruiter told me I’d start off as an E-2 because I had college. I started studying how much I was going to get paid and started calculating my GI Bill benefits and how much I thought I could save. I figured I could save about $40,000 based on my calculations. I do remember filling out forms asking if I smoked or did drugs. They asked me this several times, and told me that if I did to make sure I stopped doing them at least 30 day or maybe a week before I went to MEPS. They also asked if I was willing to kill someone. I wasn’t sure at first, but then he said if it came down to someone going to kill you or you kill them would you do pull the trigger. I said I would.
He then showed me some pictures of barracks that were nothing like what they were in real life. Perhaps they were Air Force barracks. After that was all done, he asked me if I would like to be taken home. I said no, I’ll run back home from Meijer.
After running back home I told my mother what happened and she was devastated. I told my mom that I could get experience working as an accountant, get paid, and my college paid for too. She still wasn’t pleased. I found out that Wright State was costing my parents $10,000 for tuition, room, board, and food. My mother had saved money for school and I felt that it was a waste of money. I’d rather find a way to pay for school and she could just give me the money she saved. I felt I could persuade her into doing this. I was successful, but only after I finished my degree. What a great incentive!
Later that evening my father came home from work. We told him that I have decided to join the Army. He began to sing, “You’re in the Army now, you’re not behind the plow, you’re in the ditch, you son of a…you’re in the Army now.”
I proceeded to punch him several times in the arm as he laughed and kept singing. I only had to convince my mother that it was a good idea to join.