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Vets - My story (and yours.)

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by ghrit, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    We are inundated with thanks to vets of all types and stripes, and those of us who served greatly appreciate that so many understand it, make no mistake. The other side of the coin is we who served and are glad to have done so. Most of us don't care to be singled out for thanks, it's what we did for what we believed was the right thing to do. Draftee or volunteer, service was expected and we did it. Recognition is secondary, and kudos are for another thread. Let's hear some other short accounts of service.

    My story, Cliff's notes version;
    I dodged the draft by joining the Navy and stuck around for 7 years, all Viet Nam era service (which does not mean serving in that particular conflict, just that the service was in that time period.) All east coast, and more than a few days underwater in the Silent Service. Was it fun? Of the seven years, maybe 30 days of fun, not counting shore leave or the annual 30 days of "vacation" that accrued. Would I do it again? Yes, in half a heartbeat.

    Sapper John likes this.
  2. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    That is priceless!

    I was just looking back on my life the other day wondering what it might be like had I not joined the Army after high school. I don't think it would have been much different. Probably would have just had more college debt.

    I did basic at Ft Sill...went in as a 13N, Lance Missile crew. I didn't really dig the whole short range nuke idea...glad they phased that one out! Took some silly tests while in-processing and somehow passed and was offered an Intel MOS, 98K (05k01 previously). The 8 of us that transferred got quite a ribbing when we graduated and duty stations were announced...Pensacola, FL? What the...? A few actually got stuck up at Ft Mead. We laughed...at the time. In hind sight, military careers are made at Mead. One less winter in Germany didn't hurt my feelings. Anyway, did 8 months schooling at a land locked Naval base called Corry Station. There were Marine and Air Force barracks next door. Wintering on Ft Walton & Pensacola beaches was definitely better than Maryland in winter.

    Got to Augsburg, Germany summer of '90. The wall had just come down and the country was still celebrating. Was granted off post privileges my second day there! Wow. Good thing one of Augsburg's many fests was in full swing. Tiny little fest but hey beer's beer. And, of course, my first required activity or so I was told was to chug an entire fest beer(1L)...and so I did. The rest of the night was hazy and I don't know how I got back to my bed. Two Oktoberfests later I was ready to come home to go to college. Was offered a chance to re-up as a 29Y and come back to Ft Mead but I declined. Maybe I should have given that career path more though.

    Ah well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

  3. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Started as an E-1 in the AF reserve was offered an ROTC scholarship... graduated and comissioned enjoyed training and being stationed in California, Denver, Huntsville Alabama, Indian Head Maryland, Turkey, Korea and other assorted TDY spots... was medically retired as a Captain... enjoyed it and would do it again...
  4. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King Site Supporter

    Enlisted in the army in '67 for Ranger training. After Basic, AIT and RIP, was assigned to the NCO Academy and then Ranger training. Upon completion, was sent to Vietnam to the 2/502 PIR LRRP Platoon. After 4 mos there volunteered as helicopter door gunner for better living conditions and was assigned to 1/9 Cav as gunner on C Model Gunships. Spent 6 mos in Detachment of Patients at Letterman General Hospital after Vietnam then 8 mos as NCOIC of 3rd Army Funeral Detail at Ft. McPherson, GA and then discharged in '71 as S/Sgt E6.

    All things considered, and knowing what I know now, I probably would do some things differently (like join the Air Force) if I had it to do over.
  5. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    I think that most of our stories probably start a bit earlier than our enlistment/commissioning dates.

    I'd start mine sometime around late 1800s. My family immigrated to the US from several different listed countries from Russia to Germany. My great-grandfather volunteered to fight for a country that he had no deep roots in. I think we call that "duty". It seems so few have a sense of it these days. That was WWI.

    My grandfather was a warrant officer during WWII. I can't seem to find much in the record books regarding his service. I have searched on ancestry.com with a little success. The little bit that I do have fits into a small box and includes his dog tags and few other mementos. You can imagine the history in that little box. As a young kid, I would go through it often and think about who my grandfather was.

    A direct influence on my life was my uncle. He was a Marine in Vietnam. He taught me to hunt as a kid and was there every season to tech me what he knew. I probably owe a lot to him in some of the skills he taught me that would become useful later in life. I also had an uncle in the Navy during this period and another in the Marines.

    I was in college when 9-11 happened. Next semester, I went to ROTC and received a 2 year scholarship. My wife deployed during this time to OIF in 2003. The Army decided to branch me MI. I went to 3-2 ID where I spent time as a PL and then deployed during the surge as a BN S2 for 15 months. 15 months is a long combat deployment, especially when your days average 20 hours. I can't help but smile when people complain about "long days". As a little 300 man Task Force, we were moved all over from Mosul down to Baghdad. I redeployed and went to the Captain's Course. While I was there, the big push was for Combat Advisers. I volunteered to go back. Something in me felt as though I still had work there. I advised an Iraqi BDE for 12 months. It was a great deployment. Because of the timing, the only thing I missed in Iraq was the invasion. I was able to see the pre-surge, surge, Sunni awakening, and post-surge. It's been a great ride.

    Now, I am teaching what little I know at the school house. I have less than 1 year ADSO left. I've stayed beyond my obligation, but I'm not bitter about lost time. I wouldn't change a thing. I will leave service, hesitantly, next year. There is a bit of guilt there. If I was to stay, I know it wouldn't be long before I got the itch to head back. My kids are older. They are starting to recognize what's going on. It's time for me to stay home for a bit.
  6. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    I first enlisted way back in '84 as a 16D, did a very boring 4 years in Ft. Bliss Texas. Tried to re-up as a Special Ops Medic, but the rank required went from a E3 to an E5 two weeks before I was to go into the Bears Program for 18D training. After that fell through, I then left the service in '88 and never looked back.

    Forward to 2005, the Army and National Guard were starving for bodies that they loosened up the enlistment/reenlistment age to 40 yrs old. I then went and talked to a recruiter and they had me take the ASVAB again. My ASVAB scores were in the top 5%, which meant that I was qualified to be trained in any MOS that is currently available. I simply chose to become an operator engineer and reclassed at Ft. Lenard Wood as an heavy equipment operator. Two months later, I received mobilization orders for overseas service in Iraq. 35 guardsmen along with my self were assigned to an engineer battalion from another state. I was then deployed as an Combat Engineer even though I had absolutely no training as a 21B. We did route clearance operations from Balad Air Base for the entire duration.

    After 6 months in theater, I was pulled from my engineer battalion and was temporally assigned with the 1st Air Cav believe it or not as an infantryman even though I have absolutely no training as an 11B. I then spent the rest of my tour as a basic door kicker during the surge that drove the insurgents from Baghdad right into our laps.

    While deployed my enlistment in the Guard ended, I refused to reup even for a $15.000.00 tax free bonus. I was then placed on stoploss service for the remainder of my tour. I redeployed in November of '07 and was finally released from the Indiana National Guard in April of '08 and I am through for good.

    What really galls me today is that my DD214 that I received after I redeployed has me classified as an 09B 10, which is the designation for a "Basic Trainee"[dunno], go figure.

    Last year, the U.S. Congress passed a law that authorized back pay to all service members that had been placed on stop-loss service since 9/11, I received my 15 months stop-loss pay last August.
  7. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    I never saw combat inmy ten years of service.
    1975 - I graduated high school, and tried to sign up for Selective Service - they actually wouldn't let me at the proper office - said they were 'downsizing after Vietnam and needed no new people'..... Strange, I coulda sworn that signing up was a Federal Law...?
    So I joined the USAF, as Dad knew the recruiter. I had scored very well on ASVAB, so I qualified for Avionics. Became an Instrument Systems Technician for four years at Tyndall AFB, Panama City, Florida - nearly a hundred miles from home......
    Finished my four and got out - had trouble getting work. The USAF training was too specialized - Avionics in the civvie world required more rounded experience.
    After eight months out, I reupped into the USN. Became an Electronic Tech for six years. Worked shipboard UHF radio and crypto gear. Traveled and saw some of the world. Almost stayed, but I had other things I wanted to do.
    I had gotten the 'old' GI Bill, before the flawed Montgomery plan came out. It paid for most of my IT schooling. Been a State programmer/analyst for twenty years now.
  8. Drumbo

    Drumbo Monkey+

    I appreciate reading the stories. I appreciate your service.

    While still a newb I figure this is an opportunity to introduce myself.

    I enlisted in Jan 1975, but only after waiting many months for a billet to open up for me. I had auditioned at the Armed Forces School of Music with the promise that if accepted by the Navy, I would travel to Southeast Asia with BOB Hope and the USO for the upcoming Bicentennial. I had to wait for someone to retire as the days of a band on every ship were long past and the Navy's music program had been cutting back since WWII.

    When I got the call, I went off to AFEES in Richmond, VA and was sent by train to Orlando for basic. Nine weeks or so later, I was sent back to Little Creek, VA to do six months at the School of Music. That was perhaps the most intense period in my life, as washing out of school was a ticket to a PBR, so I buckled down and absorbed two years of music college courses and private lessons while bunking with Marines and withstanding daily inspections and PT courtesy of a USMC Gunny Sargent.

    By the time I graduated, I was told that the USO tour was canceled due to the draw-down in Nam. I was given a choice of instant E-6 and duty in Navy Band DC, or "featured soloist" with the US Navy Steel Band, who were gearing up for their own nationwide Bicentennial tour. I passed on DC due to the fact that I'd be on the business end of a bass drum marching in ceremonial circumstances for at least a year. I didn't know much about steel drums, but pushing a band from a drum kit was my specialty, "featured soloist" suited my young ego and New Orleans was a sweet home-base. I can honestly say (in retrospect) those road tours were the best years of my life. We played over 400 performances in 1976 alone, sometimes doing as many as five shows a day at gigs as varied as Disneyland, Milwaukee's Summerfest, sports stadiums, air shows, the Kentucky Derby Festival, state fairs and numerous Mardis Gras parades in New Orleans. By mid-1977 I had been to 48 states and seen several foreign ports and was rotated to Navy Showband South where I finished out my hitch.

    I left the Navy for fame and fortune (never realized), and spent the next 25 years or so beating things for a living. Now at my advanced age, I'm gearing up to go back into music since other options are slim and none.

    In the Navy I performed for two presidents and First Ladies, flew in a Blue Angels' trainer, rode a nuclear sub and on a hovercraft, toured the HMS Ark Royal, played at the commissioning of Space Shuttle Columbia and for a crowd of over 80,000 at the Superdome, saw the aurora Borealis from the cock-pit of an EC-121 in route to Iceland, taught John Wayne to play a cowbell at The Great Steamboat Race and unlike ghrit, I had a lifetime of fun crammed into a few short years.

    I realize I never endured the trials of a fleet sailor, a devil-dog or a grunt, but it was a pleasure to bring entertainment to so many and serve my country with my God-given talent. Above all, I have deep respect for all who served and it's an honor to be counted among my comrades-in-arms at the American Legion and to have earned a plot of ground in a Veteran's cemetery one day and a flag for my son.

  9. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I enlisted in the Army in ****. I have served more than 11 years in the military, and I am now permanently on vacation.

    I am a Patriot to the core, but I am also not a Neanderthal. I am not religious, but I smile proudly and will say "God Bless America" right along with the rest of the folks. I support the NRA, VFW, and the state lottery.

    (edited to maintain a small level of OPSEC)
    Hispeedal2 likes this.
  10. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    My family has a long and honored tradition of serving and fighting for this country. We have fought in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War. My grandfather on my father's side was an artilleryman in Europe and an MP in occupied Japan WWII, on my Mother's side, my grandfather drove the amphibious landers at Normandy. My great uncle fought in Korea, and my father, who threatened me with death if I joined the Corps, fought as part of Force Recon, in 'Nam. Every male member of my family has served, and in some cases died for our country.

    I joined the Navy in the mid 80's and served as a QM on a Nuke. I am a proud patriot and a Christian. I was blessed enough to be alive when the wall fell, and see the end of the original Cold War on my watch.
  11. Joseph Thomas

    Joseph Thomas Monkey+

    U.S. Army 1976 to 1979
    Met a lot of good people and saw a lot of things I never would have living a civilian life. Tried to go in the NG and Navy Reserve Seebees after 9/11 but was too old without a waiver. They later raised the age but by then I had gotten even older.
  12. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King Site Supporter

    My dad was a 15 year old stable boy with Black Jack Pershing when he went after Pancho Villa...then motorcycle infantry in WWI. I was airmobile cav.

    Quite a one generation journey for the cavalry there...
  13. Joseph Thomas

    Joseph Thomas Monkey+

    I'm sure there is a special place in heaven for all old Cav soldiers. God bless him. And thank you Brother.
  14. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    Drumbo, that was one of the most interesting 'career stories' I've heard! I had a buddy who tried out for the Navy Band, but didn't make the cut.

    My father was a 10-year USAF Air Policeman. Did some time in Morocco and The Philipines in the late 50's. He was a bit too young for the Korean War.
    An uncle, still living, was in the Army in Korea during that war - he's never talked about it - Aunt Jane (his wife and my Dad's sister) says Abe went through pure Hell there.
    One of Mom's brothers was in the USAF in Vietnam, but was a supply seargent behind the lines - never saw hostile action.

    Over in our Med/Io Crusie in the early eighties, they had a USO show on the carrier, with BOB Hope and Brooke Shields. Great show! BOB was still on top - great entertainer, who really loved the troops, airmen and sailors.
  15. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    started in the guard for the college money. after first enlistment was finished switched to air guard and love it! I've been to unpleasant places on deployment before. Actually I'm going on another "air force vacation" again next year. fun fun...
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