From February 1985 until February 1988 I spent my time in US Army. The decision, you would think, didn’t come lightly, but in fact that wasn’t the case. The decision came quite lightly and in fact was a bit of a lark. I was out of college for about a year, having taken time off to earn some dough and decide what I really wanted from life. I had gotten into a very minor scuffle with the law involving a fake ID and a rather rude bar bouncer (and former family friend.) I was working at Safeway at the time and had no real direction in my life. While at the court house resolving the fake ID charge I was approached by an Army recruiter. Well several months later and two Army recruiter’s later, I decided why the Hell not, lets join the Army, get some money for college, see the world and all of that.
I enlisted as a clerk typist and was slotted to serve as a clerk in the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg. That meant after basic training and my occupational specialty training, I was supposed to go to jump school in Fort Benning, Georgia and then serve out my time as a parachuting clerk. I wasn’t sure of all the particulars but I imagine it involved jumping out of an airplane with a typewriter and a pencil. Well two weeks into jump school I began to get second thoughts. I had made one jump out of a plane and realized that this was shear nonsense. There is really no reason to be jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.
I made the decision to quit jump school and see what else the Army had to offer me. I had to go stand in front of a captain’s desk and humble ask to be relieved of my training responsibilities. I was chastised and told my Army career would be ruined because of my decision, but since I really never intended on making the Army a career, I wasn’t overly concerned. I was sent to an admin office and new order were generated for me and I was then hastily shipped off to Germany and eventually landing in Stuttgart, Headquarters and Headquarters company of the US Army VII Corps, the Fighting Jayhawks, the corp most famous for its raid/landing on D-Day in Normandy and a major European command headquarters. I smirked and remembered my conversation with my bitter jump school captain about how disastrous my Army career would be. So far, things were looking real good. Once at VII Corps, I was shuffled around for a bit, kind of like going to a job fair as the many powers at be decided where to assign me. I was snapped up by sergeant First Class Iris Gil de Lamadrid, a fiercely proud and foul mouthed Puerto Rican woman from Brooklyn. She was so cool and tough. She took to me instantly. My new Army job would be as clerk/admin to the Corps G3, Col. John H. Meyer.
This is the first in a series of my Army stories. I had the privilege of serving in one of the weirdest and off beat Army headquarters that I have ever heard about. After leaving the Army and congregating from time to time with other vets, I quickly learned that I wasn't in the same Army as everyone else. I hope to share some of these stories here on Tuesdays.