Thursday, August 16, 2012

They Say That In The Navy #4

Welcome back.  When we last left off, I was talking a little bit about the processing stations.  If I go a particular edition and miss out on some tragically important item, please remember that it's been several years and some of this stuff is harder to remember than I thought.  I thank you all for reading, considering the fact that most of you are probably wondering when some of this rambling is going to get interesting.  Beats me!

The town I grew up in was a rather small one in northeastern Michigan.  For those readers outside of the United States, both of you, it's the section of the American map that looks like a glove.  Nowadays, if you look at Michigan from space you can almost get the image that it is waving at you and saying, "Hi, we're filled with rampant unemployment and unusually high crime rates in our urban areas."  Around the time I joined the Navy, all the wave would have said to you was, "Hi there, we're all down here eating beef jerky, hunting deer and listening to Bob Seger on our cassette players."  Yes, we actually had cassette players back then.

Back to my point.  The day I remember driving down to the processing station was quite an interesting one.  due to the almost remote nature of our little town on the edge of Lake Huron.  It was somewhere around a two and a half hour drive to get to the processing station which I believe was in the state capital.  To be perfectly honest I don't remember.  It was one of the first times in my life that I was going to have to be up before Al Roker and not be directly compensated for it.

You know you're up early in northern Michigan and the only thing open is the one all night gas station in town.  This was a time that I recall where it was still sort of a big deal that you could get coffee that had different flavorings in it.  Yes, cappuccino was a big deal.  Even if it was that powdered junk that you got out of a little machine.  So my recruiter, who will be henceforth referred to as Rat Bastard, and my friend that was on recruiting duty loaded into Rat Bastard's car and made the drive to the MEPS station.  All the while making jokes to my friend about ordering coffee that had a cinnamon flavoring to it.  I should probably publicly apologize for making several jokes about my friend's choice of coffee.  We just plowed through a 18 pack of cinnamon K-Cups and boy are they delicious.

Anyway, we finally get to the processing station sometime around daybreak, or maybe it was the sun just playing tricks on me.  The next several hours was quite a blur going through all of the physical tests and filling out paperwork.  I hadn't even sworn in yet and there was quite a bit of paperwork.  If you ever scratched your head on a Tuesday, there had to have been a form for that.  They want to make sure you aren't going in with anything on your record.  Several hours later, once you've gone through all of the tests and paperwork they bring you into a room where you are sworn into the military.

It should be noted that there's one processing station for all the branches of the armed services.  It's actually quite interesting to see that the separation and camaraderie of the branches starts well before you even step foot into basic training.  You had the Air Force people sticking with the Air Force people and so on.  You also had some people joining exhibiting feelings that they were somehow superior to other branches, long before any of us had done one push-up inside a military installation.  Some of the folks that were there that day would be leaving for basic training immediately after leaving the processing station.  Boot camp would be their next stop.

I was enrolled into something called the Delayed Entry Program(DEP).  DEP was one of those little things where you could delay the time from when you enlisted to when you actually had to show up.  I suppose to get all of your affairs in order before you actually had to report.  I think mine was about a month or so.  The next month was spent trying to get myself into as good a shape as I possibly could and going over my enlistment contract to make sure that I hadn't just been b.s.'d by a recruiter that was merely trying to make his quota.  Ok folks, that's enough for now.  Next stop we will be arriving at the MEPS station again and will actually be leaving for basic training.  hope you all enjoyed and keep spreading the word.

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