It was the early 1980’s and I was a trouble maker in many ways.
I had a penchant for finding trouble no matter where I went.
Heck, you could have taken me to church and I would have caused some kind of ruckus.
Everyone tried to settle this wild boy down, but my rebellious nature usually did just the opposite.
I could tell you so many stories that it would make you shudder, and you would probably wonder why I wasn’t dead or in jail.
I then met her…she was the person who jumped on me and somewhat tamed me.
She became my wife and I had to find a method to support her and it wasn’t easy.
While I found odd jobs, it just wasn’t enough to support our needs.
That rebellious side reared its head.
I would not “work for the system.”
To make ends meet, I started selling marijuana with some success until I sold to the wrong person.
In today’s blog post, I am going to get slightly personal and tell you a bit more about myself.
The information above does not make me proud, but is has made me the person I am, and I don’t believe I would trade that.
I am going to share my 5 coolest memories from my time in the Army.
But before I move further, let me tell you that I am not a trouble maker anymore, at least not in the ways I did then.
That wonderful woman I married passed on a few years ago, and I met a lovely woman and moved to Puerto Rico where I write full time.
So, here are those cool memories:
I was let out on bond and took my Father-In-Law’s advice.
I visited the Army recruiter who took me under his wing.
I began spending my days at the National Guard Armory doing odd jobs, and he told me he would get me in.
The courtroom was full, and I wondered if I would go to prison.
After all, President Ronald Reagan had made a war on drugs and marijuana was considered a drug and I was a seller.
When my name was called, the judge called me into his chambers.
With my suit and tie, I walked in with my head hung low.
“Hello Greg,” I looked up to see my recruiter and sitting next to him was the Commander of the National Guard in my hometown.
They explained to the judge what I had been doing while on bond and that they believed I would be a great addition to the United States Army.
They showed the judge that the Army would accept me and I would ship out in 3 weeks if the charges were dropped.
The judge agreed, and this was a memory I would never forget.
Intake was at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
While there was a lot of yelling and calling us names…and getting my head shaved, I will always remember how nice the barracks were.
They were new and clean.
I thought wow, I joined a great organization.
We were given our gear and shipped to Fort Benning, and I realized I was duped.
The barracks were old and there was a roof leak over my bunk.
I was in hell I believed as the drill sergeants pushed my buttons.
But I held my cool.
The push-ups, sit-ups and long runs were getting me into tip-top shape.
But there was one Sergeant that I honestly believed hated me.
And he was over-weight.
Another Sergeant took a liking to me and noticed that this fat Sergeant was pushing his weight.
At least twice per day, the fat one would order me to do 100 push-ups on inclines or in the mud.
I always did them with no problem.
The Drill Sergeant who saw this pulled me to the side and told me I had the right to request that the fat one match my push-ups, so I listened.
It was another Fort Benning rainy day and the obese Sergeant did it again.
I noticed the Drill Sergeant who gave me the advice in the background with a smile.
I asked if the fat one would please join me and he balked until the advice giver ordered him to do it.
He couldn’t push out 20 before I finished my 100.
After that day, I never saw the fat one again.
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It was live ammo day and I was first up on the grenade launcher.
The Drill Sergeant showed me the area where he wanted me to drop the grenade from the tube that is attached to the M-16.
If you are familiar, you know that they have old tires and he told me as near to a certain tire.
The grenade landed dead center of that tire and blew it to the sky.
“Lucky rookie,” the Sergeant exclaimed…
Normally, each soldier gets only one grenade launch but I believe several Sergeants were gambling that I couldn’t do it again.
I believe the grenade gods were with me that day and the ones who bet I could won…because I did it again.
The same advice giving Drill Sergeant in Memory #3 told me he wanted me to go to Ranger school.
Maybe it was not so cool, but I was doing simple jumping jacks and my shoulder popped out of joint.
It was an old injury and the Army discovered that I had not told them about it on my agreement to join.
It really was my recruiter who did not enter it in the paperwork, because I told him.
I was given an honorable medical discharge and sent home.
The cool part was seeing my wife again and her wrapping those arms around me and realizing I was much more muscular than when I left.
It was a wonderful night of love.
These are my coolest thoughts of my time in the Army.
It helped me become a man and turned my life around.
What are your coolest thoughts?
Leave your comments below.