Posted by whiterabbit on June 9, 2003, at 19:30:43
In reply to Re: home, posted by bookgurl99 on June 9, 2003, at 17:32:03
I was never what you would call a really good soldier - I've always been pretty much of a
non-conformist. But I had some trouble with my parents while I was in high school and they threw me out of the house - no money, no help, no nothing. (To this day I maintain only minimal contact with both my parents, who are divorced.)
So I ended up in the service mainly because I didn't have anywhere else to go.
I was usually in some sort of trouble but never really bad trouble, I wasn't ever demoted in rank but it did take me longer than usual to make it to E-5 (sergeant). I did get to see places I never would have seen otherwise - basic training in South Carolina, AIT in Texas, OJT in Colorado,
and two different posts in Germany. After that I had an unusual assignment - Jacksonville, Florida.
There is no Army base there, I worked at MEPS (Military Enlistment Processing Station). The last 3 years of my enlistment I was stationed at West Point as "cadet support" - I worked in the hospital there.
But after 7 years I was tired of "playing the game", I just couldn't take any more (and West Point isn't even considered a "real" Army assignment - it's comparatively easy duty). Despite that, I did go through a phase of "culture shock" when I returned to civilian life, you just get SO used to the discipline even if you don't particularly like it. For years you've been told exactly where to live, where to work, how to work, how to dress, how to look, how to act, exactly what you can and cannot do, and you do what you're told. Period.
When all of that is suddenly taken away, you feel like you're in free fall. It's a little frightening, actually. Of course you adjust to the civilian world after awhile (or you don't - some people feel so lost that they end up
re-enlisting)but it does take awhile. I still remember the first time I had to call in sick to work - I was just terrified. In the military, there is no calling in sick - you report for duty or report to sick call or you're AWOL. I kept telling myself that I COULD call in sick now and I wouldn't be punished, the MPs wouldn't come pounding on my door. But it was still a very big deal for me to call in sick...you do get brain-washed.
Altogether, it was far from easy but it was an exciting time in my life, quite an experience.
There were times and places where I was absolutely miserable but I had some good times too, particularly in Germany (you've never seen so many people who could drink SO much).
But I'll tell you the truth - I would not want to be a dependent wife and I would not want a relationship with anyone who is active duty...there are just too many "unknowns" involved, too much time apart. If you decide to go along with it I can tell you that you're in for one hell of an emotional ride. Whether you're secure enough and ready enough for that is up to you. Best wishes...