When I was 17 and a Junior in high school, an announcement during my 2nd period class one day said that a U.S. Army recruiter would be in the counseling area at lunch if anyone was interested in talking to him. For some, reason it did. Now you might be asking why. I have no earthly idea. Had I ever thought about joining the army before that day? Not once. Never crossed my mind.
So at lunchtime I went and talked to the guy. Within a couple of weeks I had signed up on April 19, 1991. That day would forever change the course my life was headed in. I went to Fort Leonardwood, Missouri, between June and August that year, basically my whole summer vacation spent wearing combat boots, marching, learning to shoot my M-16 and all sorts of other stuff.
When I came back for my Senior year, it was different. I was different. Talk about growing up fast. Going through basic training changes you as a person, especially at 17. I turned 18 while at basic. That was fun. No, not really.
My Senior year, I went to drill once a month, met a lot of new people and really enjoyed it.
The following Summer after I graduate from high school, I left for AIT (Advanced Individual Training). It’s basically your trade school where you learn how to do the job you signed up for. It was a fun summer. Again, I had another birthday while away and I turned 19. Met a lot of great people and then head back home towards the end of September.
Because I had come home when I did, I wasn’t able to attend the fall semester for college. So, I had a lot of fun and hung out with friend. Then I started college that Spring. At my next drill in January I found out a guy I went to drill with each month had gone active duty. I didn’t realize you could do that so I looked into it. On March 30, 1993 I went active duty and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. It was here that only two months later I met my husband. We started to date at the beginning of July and seven months after that on February 18, 1994, we were married. We went to the Justice of the Peace. We each had a good friend who stood up for us with us as well as the guy for Keith had, his wife. We worked it around the four-day weekend we got off for President’s day and not because it was close to Valentine’s Day.
It’s hard to believe I have been with my husband already 20 years and we hit our 20 year anniversary this February. I’m out of the army but my husband is still serving and that’s why we are now living in Alaska.
If I had to do it all over again, would I? I’d have to say yes. I might have picked a different job but overall the experience was good for me. Besides, I met the love of my life while serving my country. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Photo credit: pippalou from morguefile.com