So, anytime before my 16 birthday the words military service would have never been part of my vocabulary. Even though my father a master sergeant, had ten years in and my grandfather was a retired colonel. Both Air Force. I was quite content with my freedom and had my sights on other things in life. I wanted to attend USC and study either psychology or law, live on a sailboat and have fun. Simple life. In school I had participated in mission works with my church for 4 years, worked since tenth grade in some capacity of video production, played trumpet for 9 years, head a steady girl, and traveled with my family. Again not you poster Army soldier. I wore designer clothes, listened to a wide variety of music and really didn’t have an ounce of violence in me other than the occasional sparring match at Tae-kwon-do. I tried to spread peace by helping others. I donated lots of time. I enjoyed spending time with my Great-grandma. At the time I still had two. I enjoyed all their stories they had to tell. I do wish I would have recorded all them.
I’m not really sure where my gears switched, I mean at what age or stage in school, but it did. Obviously. I first spoke to the Navy, I enjoyed the water, ships, and diving and had my sights set on SEALS. That lasted about 3 months until I meet SGT Bonstetter, an Army recruiter. Not my vision of a recruiter, but a really nice guy. I mean for starters he was overweight by Army standards. However he did it, I was hooked on a combat career. I began to think Army. I believe some of my decision came from years prior in the form of bullying. I’ll write a post on this later. I also think some came from the fact I just wanted to get away from my small town in MN. And some more was I was not ready for college. I did fine in HS but knew I would struggle in college. So the Army for me.
My first attempt at the ASVAB I blew it. I didn’t take it seriously. I think the temperature at the time in MN in Nov was higher than my overall score. I did, however, convince my recruiter I could do it. So again I took it, passed with acceptable scores. It wouldn’t be until years later I would retake it for OCS and get a perfect score. 99. But at least now I could move forward. I remember I didn’t have many options because of my average score, but I did have infantry with possibilities. Ranger and eventually Special Forces, not in my contract, but an opportunity. I was aiming for the Power of Tower.
The next few months after I made a choice was interesting. I chose the Army in Nov 1990. And by Feb 28th, 1991 was enlisted”. As mentioned earlier, I had a Col for grandfather, he called me trying to get me to go blue. His best friend, a four star. Could have secured me any job in the Air Force. My father tried. My uncle tried. My dad’s father tried. I was all Army.
The rest of my senior year was just me. I had no girl. We had split 4 Jan 1991. I was set to graduate no problem. I worked for a local video rental place, and I just hung with friends. I just began to get in shape for what was to take place, basic training, 20 Aug 1991, Ft Benning Georgia. I started by rollerblading every day, anywhere from 10-20 miles a day. Every so often, I would run. I hated running. However, I knew basic was all running. I added strength training. I considered my self in above average shape all ready. I had spent 8 years as a competitive swimmer, practiced martial arts every day and had a makeshift weight room in my basement. I even went as far as to hire a private instructor for martial arts. I was pretty good at martial arts. As a matter of fact, I wanted to compete in the Olympics. Hence the private instructor. I had earned a black belt. And I knew I had a commitment to the Army, but a spot on the US National Karate team would nullify that. This small part of my life was merely a pipe dream. I did try out for a place at a tournament but failed to qualify. In a twist of irony though, after I got to my final duty station, every three months I would receive an invitation for what is now the UFC to fight in various competitions. However, either timing of field problems or leave denial prevented any participation.
School graduation came and went. Summer came and went. Departure day came. I was ready. Not nervous, not scared, but ready. I said my goodbyes and left for an adventure. Up to this point, yes the choice was right.