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  #1  
Old 09-01-2019, 01:20 PM
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OK, vets, let's hear your enlistment story



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In 1958 I had just graduated from High School in my remote little town in Wyoming. I was working a series of dirty-work temporary labor jobs, not getting anywhere at all , employment was hard to come by at that time. In early August I was working a ranch outside of town a few miles, putting up loose hay the old fashioned way with an overshot stacker. Hot, heavy work, in addition to working with the %%%%est bunch of ignoramuses you would ever not want to meet, alcoholic bums every one. By about the 4th day I was convinced there must be some better way to get through life.

They sent me into town with the ranch pickup truck to get parts or something. As I was exiting the store, I met up with the Air Force Recruiter whom I had met several times in High School. "Hi, Jerry, how ya doing? Want to join the Air Force today?" " I sure do, sign me up".

He followed me back to the ranch where I dropped off the truck and the parts, got in his car and never looked back, was at the Denver AFEES in about a week and off to Lackland.

Sometime now I drive by that same ranch, doesn't look much different, always makes me break out in a smile as I keep on down the road.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:36 PM
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Mine is to boring to post.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:41 PM
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1970, I was ranked as a Junior in College at a school that required a 2.0 or they'd sit you out a semester to let you decide if you were there to play or study. The first Draft Lottery had just occurred, I had a 1.95 GPA, a Lottery number of 13 and a very steady girlfriend I was far more interested in than school. That College would notify your Draft Board and then you that you were getting the semester off, so when I got the letter I went to see the local Air Force recruiter. Took the aptitude tests, maxed them out and he went from I've got all the recruits I need to "hey I've got Technical slots to fill let's talk". Delayed enlistment in Jan. and active duty the end of March. I enjoyed Boot Camp (I'd done PLC my freshman year of College) so the Air Force Basic was like Scout Camp, tech school was good, the Military has teaching down to an Art. Me and the Steady got married just before I graduated Tech School (only 3 day pass I ever had). The Air Force was good to me, gave me a Trade (Air Traffic Control) that paid very well and let me retire with 30 years at age 51 from the FAA.
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:28 PM
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I was out of school for a month when I decided that I didn't want to assemble furniture any more for $1.47 an hour in 1962. I wanted to travel so I joined the Navy. For my height I had to have a weight of 138# and a week before I left I was at 130#.
The day I reported I ate 8 bananas and drank a half gallon of milk. I was weighed in at 139#.

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Old 09-01-2019, 03:44 PM
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I pulled a heavy load with majors, in Engrish, math, and biology from junior high thru a year of college. I was burnt out on the books. With my number coming up in the so called lottery I tried to join the USCG. They had a long waiting list so I spontaneously decided to enlist in the best and joined the Crotch, err, Marines, in 1966 on the 90 day delay program. The first day of boot camp was quite convincing my decision may've been a bit hasty.
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:58 PM
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In 1969, before my lottery number came up, I went to Oregon and applied for the Oregon Air National Guard.

After Lackland, I was sent to Lowrey AFB for a year of electronics. Except on about the first day they said to raise your hand if you could pass the final exam....and we'll send you home.

I raised my hand, passed the test............but they lied. I still had to stay there and be a tutor for the year. EVERYBODY WILL pass the tests, and the tutors made sure of it..........by hook or crook.

But, I didn't have to march to school, stand insection...........and had a full-time pass. A friend delivered my car from home.
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Old 09-01-2019, 04:50 PM
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Way back in 1969..............

I was about to graduate from college and knew that I would be drafted very quickly. I really wanted to serve in a volunteer outfit rather than around a bunch of draftees so I visited all the enlistment offices to find out my options. Turned out that the Navy was looking for already trained individuals to serve in the SeaBee battalions. I would be able to enlist as an E4, 5 or 6 rather than an E nothing. And they would let you go ahead and enlist and defer reporting for duty for up to 180 days! So, I signed up to be an Engineering Aid E4 (3rd class petty officer), took the physical and got sworn in with reporting deferred for 90 days. Sure enough, just as soon as I was graduated from college, I got a draft notice. I took the notice down to the draft board and explained to the nice lady that she could not draft me. She looked me up and down and told me that she drafted people just like me every day! Then I showed her my enlistment papers that proved I was already officially in the Navy so she really could not draft me! Poor woman looked really disappointed that one got away! The only "downer" part of my enlistment was that I was in the SeaBee boot camp in Gulfport, Mississippi when hurricane Camile went thru! But, that's another story!
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Old 09-01-2019, 05:04 PM
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The ARMY

On my father's advice, I stayed with the ROTC Program while in college from 1964 to 1968. My father was a WWII Veteran...…..drafted and spent 55 months on Active Duty.
I did my two years from 1968-1970 in the ARMY as a Supply Officer.
After Active Duty, I was in the PA National Guard and the ARMY Reserve with a tour of duty during Operation Desert Storm.
Looking back it was a real experience...……..I got a lot of education and met some great people. I had the honor of being a Company Commander and a Battalion Commander.
Even as a part time soldier, I finished 35 years of teaching in the public school system.
Those who don't serve their Country are missing something...………
Thanks to all of you who served!

ARMY TC
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  #9  
Old 09-01-2019, 05:30 PM
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After a year and a half at Miss State, including ROTC...I got drafted. 1969. I was supposed to go in the day after we landed a man on the moon and as some of you old timers might remember, President Nixon made Monday a national holiday. Ha....they'll forget about me! They didn't. About a year ago I came across some old papers and there was a list of about 100 people with an asterisk beside my name. What's this I wondered. Down at the bottom.... *In charge. It appears I was in charge of getting all the guys to the airport, on the plane and to Fort Bragg for basic. July, August, early Sept time frame as best as I can recall.

All I remember is the bus broke down, we all had to get out and push it the last couple of miles to the base. Then we were processed in, got new boots, haircuts and somewhere around the end of day three, about 11 pm I had to ask one of the drill instructors "when do we get to eat?" I told him the last meal we had had was three days ago. He gave me a lot of crap about that until the other guys confirmed my story. That didn't sit well with him, someone could have been in a lot of trouble for letting that happen so he hustled off to do something about it. We marched to the mess hall at about midnight and got a welcome to the Army serving of cold cabbage in a broth and some buttermilk. I was thinking the whole basic thing was not going to be that much fun....but at this point I was really beginning to worry. I went in at 138# and graduated at 123 lb...my boots weighed more than I did.

I asked my Dad about how he was treated ( five years in Army Air Corps, WWII, bombardier, 35 missions ) and he said with respect. We certainly got none of that. I made PFC the first week because my DI was from Bama and I was the only Southern boy in the platoon. I was in great physical shape and loved the marches and physical part much more than the boring classroom sessions. Early one day a fellow asked me what a tooth brush was wanting to know if he was to polish his boots with it. He wasn't lying....I saw his teeth. Quite a few funny things did happen though. Camille passed over while I was there and Woodstock occurred. The next year would find me in the Nam. 1917
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Old 09-01-2019, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Area51guy View Post
...Turned out that the Navy was looking for already trained individuals to serve in the SeaBee battalions. I would be able to enlist as an E4, 5 or 6 rather than an E nothing.
I ran into one of you SeaBee "specials" while on TDY at Coronado. I was between 2 years at CINCPACFLT at Pearl and reporting to my ship, USS TORTUGA (LSD-26), in WESTPAC. Was working in the Disbursing Office when an E-5 Heavy Equipment Operator came up to the pay window. I slid the window open and asked what I could do for him. He said something to the effect of "Sir, I need my paycheck, Sir!" (I was an E-4 Yeoman waiting for my YN2 crow.). I asked him what this "Sir" stuff was. He told me basically the same thing you posted. I couldn't help myself and said something like "You know why Uncle Sam did that for you? Because the life expectancy of a SeaBee once they hit the beach in Nam is about 4 months, that's why!"

Andy
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Old 09-01-2019, 06:06 PM
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The draft was going full swing when I graduated from high school. A friend of mine in high school convinced me that we should join the Navy. When it came time to join, he backed out. I went down to the recruiting office anyway. The Navy recruiter wasn't in that day but the Marine recruiter was. I was committed to joining something so signed up for four years. I lucked out in two ways - was assigned to a communications unit attached to the Navy - so no infantry, and got out just before Viet Nam started heating up.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:51 PM
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My enlistment....

I was in graduate school at the U of Mo. with a semester or so to go in the fall of 1965. I would be 25 when I would receive my MS in the summer of 1966 so I knew my draft board would be just a WAITING on me. I was getting my MS in entomology [insects]. Three of my classmates and I, filed with the Army Medical Service Corps, for direct commissions as Entomolgists, MOS 3315. It took awhile for the gears to mesh, but I was accepted pending my commencement in Aug '66. My 3 classmates were also accepted.

I received my degree Aug. 13, 1966 irrc, and was back on my old ranger district with the US Forest Service in Montana about the 4th of Sep. My paper work was all in order according to my MSC contact in KC, Mo.

So, on Oct. 7th, I received my draft notice to report to Ft. Lewis,
WA. I called KC and the Major told me all was well. Nov. 7th I was in a basic training company in beautiful but wet, Ft. Lewis, WA. It rained for 40 straight days.

Towards the end of Basic, o/a Jan 30th '67, I got AIT at the Medical Training Center., Ft. Sam Houston, Tx. I was going to be a combat medic. I finally got "permission" to call my MSC contact who apologized because my paperwork got misplaced for a couple weeks. Keep the faith, so I did. Our MTC training company was having graduation on Friday, March 9th and we would get our orders.

At about 3:30 pm on Wednesday the 7th, 1966, I was called out of class by a WO3. All by buds knew what that meant. By the grace of God and an Act of Congress, I became a 1st Lt. about 4:30 pm. I was honorably discharged as an E2. Then promptly sworn in as a 1st Lt. by the same WO3. By the time I got a ride back down to the training center evening meal was over. I had to turn in my gear to the MTC Supply Room. Every one of the guys in my platoon saluted me, picked up something to carry and off we went. Looked like a trail of "army ants." It was about 8:30 pm when I got checked into the "BOQ. The next morning I reported to the Brooke Army Medical Training Center for DC officer training.

We completed the basic officers course sometime in May and extra courses for entomologists and sanitary engineers in June and got our orders around the 7th of July. I arrived in Bangkok,
Thailand on July 30, spent a night in the Chau Piau BOQ and road a terrifying 4 hour bus ride to Korat. I was warmly received by a couple entomologists who I was replacing in the 712th Preventive Medicine Unit, Camp USARTHAI, 306th Medical Btn. iirc, which is a guess by this time.

And that is my enlistment story.

As a postscript, I was promoted to CPT on Oct. 6, 1966, so I went from a Private E1 to an O3 in 51 weeks. Not sure that is a record, but I never met anyone that made O3 quicker.

VH

Last edited by varmit hunter67; 09-01-2019 at 07:57 PM. Reason: edit
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:30 PM
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Wow, I hadn't thought about the draft for years.

The first year of the draft lottery (1969) my birthday was #1! I came home from work and my Mom had the front page of the paper lying on the table with the headline of "Sept 14 #1 in Draft Lottery!" and I immediately crapped my pants. Viet Nam was still hot and heavy and the reason they needed the draft.

I read the article and discovered that I wasn't in that lottery, I had just graduated HS at 17 and was too young. The next year (when it counted) my number was 247. I've considered that my lucky number ever since but it never won me anything...

After working in the real world for a couple of years and wanting more than just a job, on impulse I stopped by the Navy recruiter. Did well on their tests, was promised a spot in their advanced electronics program. Thought about it for a couple of weeks then signed up for six years.

Got extremely lucky, got my first choice of rating, AT (Aviation Electronics Technician). Went to Navy avionics schools for 1.5 years then orders to Rota, Spain for 3.5 years including some time working on the flight deck of the USS J.F. Kennedy aircraft carrier.

I've been interested in WWll all my life, my Dad was a Navy Signalman in the Med on an LCI and I grew up with all those great movies made during and after the war. My favorite theatre has always been the carrier war in the Pacific and our Corsairs, Hellcats, Lightnings, Dauntless, Avengers, Mitchells, etc.
So it was really exciting to work on the flight deck with the Tomcats, Corsair II, Hawkeye, Intruder, Prowler, etc. And I got liberty in some of the same ports my Dad got to see in WWII.
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Old 09-02-2019, 06:42 AM
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I was a senior in high school in '75/'76 without any prospects and no money to pay for college. Did very well on the Army/Air Force aptitude test so the USAF recruiter promised me training in what was described as advanced electronics but I had to enlist before 12/31/1975 to be eligible for the "old" GI Bill. That was also the last day that I could go into the promised job on a four year enlistment instead of six. I was still 17 so I had to get Mom to co-sign for me but she didn't put up too much resistance. Active duty was delayed until June 1, about ten days after HS graduation.

At some point during basic they brought me into an office where I was told that my guaranteed slot in the school for electronic technicians had been given to someone else and that I'd need to pick another career field. I wondered out-loud how refusing this "offer" this might affect my continued service and what the civilian paperwork to apply for student loans might be like. Miraculously, after a few bogus threats about ending up on a North Dakota flight line in the winter, the original contract was honored. My recruiter had given me the heads up that this tactic might be encountered so I was prepared enough that I didn't panic in the moment.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:58 AM
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Uncle Sam's Misguided Children

January 1972, junior in high school. Not quite a straight A student but close. Just turned 17, Vietnam was winding down and I figured it was now or never. Went down to the Marine recruiter and joined up with my mom's begrudging signature. Spent the summer at Parris Island, the winter at Camp Pendleton, and then off to Okinawa for several floats around the Phillipines, Japan, Taiwan,and Korea.

Never did get to Vietnam which in retrospect was a wonderful thing. Ended up at Camp Lejeune and then despite the green Grabber's best efforts mustered out and used the GI Bill to get a BA in Engrish (yeah I caught that Al 8^) Literature with minors in Philosophy, French, and Spanish.

Parlayed all that into a 40 year (hoping for 50) career working for and then owning a mining supply company and safety device manufacturing company. I figure I've paid Uncle Sammie back about a thousand times over for that education he sported me to which is fair dinkum in my book.

...and the circle turns

Frank
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