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.
My wife’s father was the cook at the National Guard post in our town in Nebraska, and he sat me down and explained how joining the Army could benefit our marriage.
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.