Monday, May 26, 2014

Those that volunteer...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Happy Memorial Day Folks!

Let's all remember that today is set aside to honor and remember all who have volunteered to serve our nation through their military service, and those drafted into service. Especially those that gave their all, in that service.

One of the greatest regrets of my life is that I was never able to serve...though it was not for lack of trying.

As previously related in my "Consequences" trilogy of posts, my life plan was thus: high school- Marine Corp. MP- College while serving- apply to FBI or Marshal service.

To this end, in High school I took the ASVAB Military Aptitude test, and scored in the 98th. percentile.

With said score in hand I went down to the local recruitment center, where an affable Sergeant from East Texas was MORE than happy to start my paperwork.

"Ewww Weee" he said "We don't see many fellas with a score like that in here...so what is it you want to do son? With a score like that you can pretty much write your own ticket!"

"I want to be an MP sir."

"Well by God you'd make a good'n!!! We'll put you on the "Fatboy squad", it's an extended basic training, feed ya nothing but lettuce and cottage cheese.... Produces some of the meanest fightin' men on the planet!"

Now when I graduated High school I was 255lbs., wore 36" pants and XXL shirts and while I still had a few extra pounds I didn't really consider myself "fat"... But from a military perspective I was.

"You up for that son?!?"

"Yes sir!" 
If that's what it took, by God that's what I'd do!

"Well alright then, let's get ta fillin' out some paperwork!" He said with a smile...and for the next half hour that's what we did.

We were just about finished, had my appointment the next day for my physical, when he said:

"Before we finish up here, I have a set of 8 questions I need to ask you...alright?"

"Sure..."

"OK then, here goes...Are you a citizen of the United States?" 

"Yes"

"Ok, Having been a citizen of the United States...have you ever renounced that citizenship?"

"No"

"Alright...I apologize for this next one: Are you now, or have you ever been sexually attracted to your same sex...in this case men?"

"No sir."

"Good...Are you currently taking any prescription medications, and if so for what?"

Well, there he had me...I had to relate the medications I was taking to stave off my migraine headaches, and the one I kept with me in case of the onset of one.

He set back in his chair....picked up my paperwork, and slowly ripped it in two...then ripped those in two and threw them over his shoulder.

"Son, there is no way...NO WAY they are going to let you in with a problem like that! What if you're on extended deployment and you can't get that medication?!? We can't very well have you getting a migraine headache in the field and shooting your commanding officer cause he pisses you off!"

"Sir it doesn't work that way..."

He held up his hand to stop me.

"I'm sorry son..."

Angry and dejected I left. Had to tell my Ex-Marine Dad that they wouldn't let me in...
So I tried the Army, same answer.

About two months later, having gone full time at the Sporting Goods store one of the cashiers said I had a phone call. This wasn't that unusual as repeat customers would often ask for a specific salesman by name.

"Hello, this is Joe how can I help you today?"

"Joe, this is Colonel "Muckety Muck" and I run the Navy's "Nuclear Power/Weapons recruitment" program...I see here you scored in the 98th. percentile on your ASVAB test. Have you chosen a branch of service yet? If not, I'd like to talk to you about some opportunities available to you in the Navy."

How in the hell did he know where I worked?!?
Oh, it's the Federal Government... Duh!

I again related my medications, why I needed them and that I had already been rejected by both the Marines and Army.

"If you're interested, we can get you a Congressional waiver..."

With the arrogance and stupidity that only a teenage boy can manifest I told him I wasn't interested!!!

I was too big for submarine service, recognized that radiation is "bad", and surely didn't want to be the guy responsible for pushing "THAT" button...the cold war still being in full force.

Three days later I got a registered letter from the Dept. Of the Navy, from the same Colonel asking if I'd thought about his proposal. It went in the trash.

Two weeks later he called me at work again, asking if I'd gotten his letter...he knew I did, I had to sign for the damn thing after all.

I again, reiterated my complete lack of enthusiasm for the Nuclear power/weapons program...
He listened patiently, used to listening to stupid young men I'm sure. He gave me his direct number, and told me to call him if I changed my mind, and I allowed that I would.

Had I known then, what I know now I'd have leapt at the opportunity! Careered out, and gone into the private sector with a military pension, all the schooling they could provide, and a built in high paying job.

But I didn't....stupid!

I'd also like to include here a brief story my Dad told me, in honor of him and his military service.

During Boot Camp at Parris Island, SC my Dad's Drill Sergeant addressed his assembled platoon:

"ALRIGHT MAGGOTS LISTEN UP! I NEED VOLUNTEERS FOR A SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, ANY OF YOU LADIES INTERESTED???"

Dad said that knowing their DS as they did, no one was eager...
Seeing no takers, he continued:

"DID I MENTION I NEED MAGGOTS WITH A CHAUFFEURS LICENSE THAT CAN DRIVE A TRUCK???"

Now we're talking Dad thought, a day off basic training for the relative ease of driving a truck! Dad, being a farm boy of course had a Chauffeurs license and grew UP driving trucks. His hand was up in an instant, along with a half dozen other guys.

"SEVEN HUH? ALRIGHT YOU LADIES FALL IN LINE ON MY LEFT, THE REST OF YOU PUSSIES WILL GO ON A 5 MILE RUN FOR NOT VOLUNTEERING FOR MY BELOVED MARINE CORP." 

An evil smile split his face, as he turned to the seven volunteers.

"AS FOR YOU MAGGOTS THAT ONLY VOLUNTEERED BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT YOU'D HAVE IT EASY!!!
YOU LAZY PUKES WILL REPORT FOR LATRINE DUTY, DIGGING LATRINE TRENCHES!!! ENJOY LADIES!!!
AND LET THAT BE A LESSON TO YOU: NEVER VOLUNTEER UNTIL YOU KNOW THE PARTICULARS OF THE ASSIGNMENT!!!

Dad said that cured him....he never volunteered again! Lol

Enjoy your holiday, and remember those that DID volunteer!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear


8 comments:

  1. My dad served in WW2 but he never talked about it. Even when my cousin asked him for stories for a paper she was doing, he reluctantly answered her questions. My dad joined at 19 when he became a citizen and was on the front lines, was badly wounded & got the purple heart. My uncle (her grandfather) was an office clerk and saw no battle, but he strutted around like he was a war hero. He lived for the WW2 reunions. After he died my cousins showed me his 'medals', including a bronze star. There is NO WAY he was awarded any of them, esp. the bronze star or the purple heart (his jeep overturned in camp and he was injured but not from battle and he didn't get a medal for it). I didn't want to crush my cousins' image of him by saying, 'knowing the way he showed off everything he had, if he'd won the bronze star or any of those other medals, don't you think it would have come up at Thanksgiving????' I'm not sure how he got his hands on those medals but I assume he must've bought them.

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    1. JoJo, I've found that those true heros don't brag or show off. It's like the guy that always talks about what a bad ass he is, the really bad ass doesn't feel the need to bring it up. Bless your Dad for his service!

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  2. What a great story! You didn't turn out so bad anyway.

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  3. I loved reading about your experiences! My Grandpa served and was a baker aboard ship...basically a cook and used to talk a person's head off about it. He bragged about it a lot to the point that no one really wanted to hear it because he brought it up constantly. It was interesting stuff and great and all that because he served in WW2 BUT it got extremely old. No one else ever could get a word in edgewise. It was as if nothing before or after never mattered. Once he was in the war...that was all that mattered.

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    1. That had to have been a seminal event in your Grandpa's life!!! A member of "the greatest generation" he was rightly proud of his service...I bet he had some great stories!!!

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  4. That's the same advice my dad gave my boy when he joined the Navy. "Don't ever volunteer for anything!" Great story Joe - as always. :)

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  5. Thank you MiMi, you don't know how much that means!

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