Back in the day, I was young and stupid.
One of the stupid things I did in my youth was join the Army. To this day, I have no idea why I signed up to be a 91A10 Combat Medic. Apparently, I wasn’t doing anything that day, so I talked to a recruiter.
I found this picture the other day and it made me laugh. It was taken in March of 1986. You can see me in the top row, 4th from the left.
Yup… all baby faced and such.
Basic training was actually a blast. Everything my mother ever told me not to do… that’s what we were doing. Playing with knives, crawling through the mud, shooting weapons! Sure, I had a Drill Sergeant yelling at me, but he was yelling at everyone, and I knew that after my 8 weeks of training, he’d go away… so it didn’t bother me at all.
One of the best memories I have of basic training is the day we qualified to shoot the M203 (a grenade launcher mounted to the underside of the M16). I did everything perfectly, and was chosen to be on of the 3 privates to fire an actual M-72 (LAW rocket) at a stationary tank. I actually hit the tank, sending the hatch on top about 150 feet straight up in the air. After looking inside the tank after the fact, I pity anyone who might be on the receiving end of such a thing.
Because I scored high on the tests they give you, I was offered the chance to go to West Point. I declined (they take your soul, starch it, and hang it in a closet. You don’t get it back). My Drill Sergeant didn’t understand why in the hell someone would say “um… no” to something like that and made my life a little rough until he finally gave up (assume the position and do push-ups until your arms fall off). I still have no regrets about my decision, and would make it again.