As I type this I pause to reflect on how life changes in a flash. This being Veterans Day I feel obligated to talk about my past and the people who have crossed my path over the last 30 years.
I was a young naive 20 year old that walked into the recruiting office early May 1984. I had one goal and that was to get out of the one horse town that I lived in. Looking back I don’t think I realized the magnitude of the path I was embarking on, actually I’m certain of it. The Army was my way to leave Southeast Texas behind. I not only left my home but who I was.
My arrival at Fort McClellan AL was uneventful. I was housed at the reception station with others waiting till we had enough for a company. I was originally assigned to Delta 10. I would go to bed every night thinking that I was never going to see my mother again(remember I said I was naive). We ran everywhere! On concrete! So needless to say my bones couldn’t take the stress and in my 5th week of basic I was struck down with a stress fracture in my right leg just below the hip joint. I remember that pain to the very day! After 3 weeks on bed rest I was attached to the Medical Company for about 7 months. It wasn’t bad. I had a job at the hospital and met a lot of really great people.
I was recycled into Delta 12. We were the farthest from everything! 12th Battalion was nicknamed “The Country Club”. It was the best time I could have ever had. After a bumpy start I had a fabulous finish. Some of those girls are my best friends to this day!
Carla, Linda and I actually didn’t become true friends until we arrived in Germany. Of course we had to make sure we were not separated and volunteered for duty together at the 556th MP Co Siegelsbach. A 500 man depot that was in the middle of no where!. Thinking back it really was no different from where I came. Two hours from everything!!! lol
The work was monotonous. 24 hours on 24 hours off for 21 days. Nothing to do on the depot but drink, and we did way too much of that. Carla and I were females number 7 and 8. People talk about the war on women these days know nothing about the stress of being a woman in the military back then. The good old boy system was alive and well. We were classified as Combat MP’s but if war would have broken out we would have been pushed back way back behind the front. It was a true victory for all women when combat roles were opened to them! Sorry I got on my soapbox for a minute there…..When we arrived it was about 55 degrees in May! I coming from Southeast Texas was nowhere near prepared for this. I was freezing my butt off! haha The worse winter in 50 years…..just my luck!
Because of the duty we all became family. To this day I am still close to those I served with there. Our political views may be different but we are still a close-knit family.
I have never found that connection with another group of people. I left Germany bound for Fort Meade in December 1986. Not my favorite duty station. I early out in April 1987 and went back to Texas.
i joined the Army Reserves in early 1989 and the Desert Shield/Storm happened. We were sent to Fort Hood as the LEA. My bunk buddy(that what she calls us) was Theresa. A young woman fresh out of high school and just into college. I believe it was fate that we were roomed together. For those of you who have served on active duty and the go into the reserves and then get activated you will completely understand the frustration I had. I know and hope that things have greatly changed since then. My enlistment ended in 1996. I was never so happy to receive my discharge certificate.
With all that said I have to say that I wouldn’t trade a moment of my time in the Army. All the up and all the downs. The true hate and the absolute love. The loneliness and the joy of friends. The difficulties of attempting to be a civilian again. The bond is forever tied to a past that is so ingrained within my entire being. That connection with people who you may have not seen for what seems a lifetime and when you do you actually pickup right where you left off. No other group will ever mean more.
Happy Veterans Day to all of my family, whether by blood or by an oath, my love and loyalty to you all is forever.
until the next post