The purpose of this post is to hear from you and learn why you decided to join the Army! I figure the best way to do that would be to share my own story about why I joined the Army and how it worked out for me.
My story begins in small town Skowhegan, Maine. That’s where I grew up as a kid. I come from humble beginnings. Our family never had a lot of money (I never knew that growing up). We lived in a modest home and I always felt loved. My parents were wonderful (they still are). In fact, I had a great childhood with lots of fun memories.
During my senior year of high school I knew that I didn’t have a lot of options if I stayed in Maine. I was an average student at best. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had no purpose and direction. I really didn’t enjoy school all that much. I got decent grades, but I didn’t try very hard.
Only one person in my family had ever graduated college before, so I wasn’t pushed into going to college. I figured it would be a good option, but I didn’t really have the money to pay for it.
Early into my senior year of high school, lots of my peers talked about joining the military. I was part of the wrestling team (I was a horrible wrestler) and just about every person on the team in my senior class ended up going into the military! I figured that it was probably my best option too, since there weren’t many good jobs in my hometown. I also liked the idea of learning a new skill, getting money for college and having the opportunity to travel.
I talked with a local Army recruiter, a friend of the family (SFC Liberty), sometime in the late spring of 1995, just about a month or two before high school graduation. I should tell you upfront that I never even considered joining the other branches. I didn’t like the idea of being at sea for months at a time (Navy or Coast Guard), nor did I even think about the Marines or Air Force. There was just something about the Army commercials that really appealed to me.
I was an ideal recruit, because I had a great ASVAB score and I had very few medical issues. The recruiter didn’t have to convince me about anything. I basically told my recruiter I wanted to enlist, but wasn’t sure how the process worked. We sat down and talked about my options.
Since I had already been accepted to the University of Southern Maine for the fall semester, I didn’t think the Active Duty option was my best choice. So, I asked him about the Army Reserves. We found a unit about 40 minutes from my home in Lewiston, Maine, so that was good.
I went to MEPS in Portland, Maine and passed all of my physicals. On, June 26th, 1995 (my 18th birthday) I enlisted in the US Army Reserves as a 71L (Administration Specialist). As I said in a previous post, I didn’t have a lot of jobs to choose from because there weren’t many openings in Reserve units within 50 miles of my home. I had a good ASVAB score, but it was pretty much irrelevant.
After I enlisted, I went to college in the fall for one semester and then shipped out to Basic Training in January 1996. Looking back, joining the Army was one of my best career decisions ever. It helped me get an education, learn new skills, meet new people, and travel to many different countries. Had I not joined the Army I’m not sure where I would be today.
How about you? Why did you decide to join the military? Tell me your story. Just leave a comment below to do so. I look forward to hearing from you.