Military Entrance Processing Station or MEPS...it seems like such a long time ago. It has been 12 years since I stepped foot into the MEPS facility. I finally was about to convince my mom that joining the Army would be a good thing. I told her that would get college paid for though the Army...I'd get in better shape than I already was. I told her that if the Army needs to send in its accountants to war, then we all have a pretty big problem. She felt a little better after that.
Before I went to MEPS, my recruiter had to fill out a ton of paperwork. A medical pre-screening, disclosure of criminal history, declare any illegal drug history, take a urinalysis, background checks to name a few items. We also had to go to my high school to pick up my diploma information. I'll never forget this experience. The secretary who I knew well saw me and said hello. We told her what we needed and she went to get the information. Also in the room was one of my substitute teachers and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. He said, "Hi, Gary...what are you doing here?"
I told him I was enlisting in the Army. He shook his head...he said, "Don't do that, Go ROTC."
I really didn't know much about ROTC at the time. I really didn't have any desire to become an officer. My thinking was that I should spend time with the enlisted people to understand what it was like, and then if I liked the military...I'd then become an officer. Because after all...I wanted to be tough, but not too tough. I already knew I didn't have the mental and physical aptitude to become a Marine.
After my recruiter gathered all of my paperwork and everything checked out OK, it was time to go to MEPS. My recruiter picked me up and started what seemed like never ending drive to Columbus Ohio.