30th July, 2002
So as of today, a long day I might add, I am officially a member of the active duty Army. I went to Indianapolis with about ten other kids in a van. We all took our ASVAB tests, physicals, and then talked with a career counselor to pick our MOS. My career counselor showed me a video about being an Infantryman, which was basically unneeded since I already had my mind made up. I didn’t do that great on the ASVAB test, but that was because I was just trying to rush and get it over with. I already knew what job I wanted, and didn’t really care what I scored as long as I passed.
I also got to pick my first duty station, which I didn’t realize you got to do so soon. I didn’t really even consider it before going, but knew a little bit about some of the units offered. There were a lot of places that I hadn’t ever heard of before, like Fort Sill and Fort Polk. But there were also the more famous Infantry units too, like the 101st Airborne in Kentucky and the 10th Mountain Division in New York. I had remembered that the 10th Mountain was one of the units in Somalia during Black Hawk Down, the unit that actually had gone in to the city with the Pakistani to help rescue the Rangers and Special Forces guys.
I was overwhelmed with the possibilities. I was just so happy to finally be leaving Indiana that I hadn’t done much thinking about where I’d want to go. I wanted to go anywhere and everywhere. It didn’t even matter to me. I decided that living in New York, at Fort Drum, would be cool. I’ve always wanted to live in the East and being a part of the 10th Mountain Division would be an honor. So I signed up for a three year contract. My basic and advanced training, fourteen weeks of it, would be done at Fort Benning in Georgia. My ship out date would be June 4th, and I’d officially start on June 5th.
All in all, the entire day took about fourteen hours. We left super early in the morning, and didn’t get home until about midnight. It was a lot of sitting around, and standing in lines. Something that one of the Sergeants working at a desk at one of the medical stations said I should get used to. This was the first time I’ve heard anyone use the term “Hurry up and wait.” But apparently it’s a pretty common Army expression. But even though it was a long day, I can barely find myself relaxed enough to sit down, let alone sleep. It felt so good to raise my right hand and swear in.
I’m grateful that I’ve finally been able to do something that I can take pride in. The only time I ever really was proud of anything before was during meaningless baseball games growing up. I’ve never gotten good grades, I’ve never won any awards, and I’ve never really done anything of note in my short seventeen years leading up to this. I just wish I didn’t have to wait so long before leaving, but that is okay. It will give me time to really prepare for it; mentally and physically.