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How did you decide on your Military branch or MOS?


Colonel Dan, SASS #24025

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Since I first decided to try out the Army as a career, my first choice of branch assignment was hard core airborne infantry…for a very long time…until one day at Ft Benning that is.

 

My classmates and I were “almost LTs” and on a field exercise learning the finer points of being infantry platoon leaders. Our whole life was contained in a rucksack that we had lugged for what seemed like forever around “Benning School for Boys”

 

Well here we were living in our cold and wet foxholes learning how to function while miserable. We had been patrolling the forests, hills and valleys of Ft Benning, living in holes for what seemed like a lifetime, eating c-rations and trying to stay warm as we secured our designated sector and kept our platoon motivated to stay awake, alert and in the mood to retain what we were learning.

 

Dawn was just about to break and visibility was limited due to the early hour and heavy fog. Nothing had happened all night and we were very cold, very tired and very much in need of a hot meal and hot shower that was not on the training schedule.

 

All was deathly quiet until we detected a low rumble somewhere “out there.” It was an eerie rumble mixed with high pitched and constant squeaks. The tone of the rumbles varied as they got continually louder. The exercise controller started throwing white smoke which indicated we were under artillery prep fires. What we heard through the smoke was the distinct sound of armor and it was definitely coming our way…or so it seemed…we couldn’t really pinpoint them…they seemed to be everywhere. We called in a spot report and were ordered to defend in sector. The weapons we had were one 90mm, two M-60 machine guns, a mix of M-16s, and M-79 grenade launchers…oh…and our bayonets of course!

 

We were now wide awake and awaiting whatever action was coming our way. Nonetheless, we were sure once those behemoths caught a glimpse of all this dug in firepower they would turn tail and run!!! The collective mind set of the average “third LT” is truly a marvelous wonder eh?

 

Although the rumbles were growing louder, we still hadn’t had a glimpse of what we might be up against…until we felt the ground tremble and they cleared the ridge on our flank. Coming down on us were a platoon of the biggest M-60 tanks I’d ever seen. :unsure: 105 mm gun tubes depressed and pointed right at our positions while their 50 cals swept the entire front. Here we were in the ground trying to stay in “name tag defilade”, lightly armed and with only our field jackets to repel whatever simulated rounds they were throwing at us! :wacko::o

 

When the exercise ended, we had a chance to inspect the tanks. The crews were dry, warm and looked amazingly clean! I also had my first opportunity to talk with one of my classmates who had been in armor during a tour in Viet Nam and described how they operated. That day, I said to myself, “Self, I think Armor is your calling.” B) From then on, I was a cav guy for the next 24 years although I can honestly say I treasured and took immense pride in my airborne infantry training and subsequent assignments that rotated me between infantry and cavalry/armor units.

 

All in all, it was a day to remember and one that I still smile about and can point to as the deciding factor on my branch selection.

 

Just the view from my first foxhole and subsequent saddle... :D

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Thanks so much for your service Colonel Dan (and your writings)...

 

also wish to thank everyone who posts for their service ~ y'all make America greater :)

 

GG ~ :FlagAm:

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Most everyone in my family was either Air Force or Navy. I'm not sure why but, I went to the Navy recruiter first. I asked what the chances were of never having to be on a ship. He was still laughing when I left his office and headed to see the Air Force recruiter.

 

As far as my job, that was just a toss of the dice. I scored high enough on the ASVAB test that I could have pretty much any job I wanted. They sat me in front of a computer moniter which listed every avaialbe position at the time and told me to pick one. I might as well have had my eyes closed. I ended up performing electronics maintenance on F-15s. Had a fantastic time for 21 out of 23 years. (I could have lived nicely without those two years as a recruiter.)

 

:FlagAm:

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Slim wrote, "I went to the Navy recruiter first. I asked what the chances were of never having to be on a ship. He was still laughing when I left his office and headed to see the Air Force recruiter."

 

Now that is funny and a vivid memory that will remain forever. You had me LOL on that one Slim! :lol:

 

 

GG, thank you for those meaningful words. You do me more honor than I deserve.

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Was raised in a military family, Father was a fighter pilot in USMC,22yrs. Raised around aircraft, natural to go USAF, Dad said best move i could have made. My first tour was with the USAF Band in Wash D.C. Next tour aircraft mech 43151E jet over two. Final tour, Command Post Controller. Loved every minute of it, would do it all over again if i could. Who here thinks Cloin Powell would make a great President?? I know almost all military members agree with this. :FlagAm:B)

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I got a letter from the President of the United States telling me my friends and neighbors had selected me for service in the Armed Forces of the United States. I decided I'd go talk to an Army recuiter. He asked me if I would be interested in missiles. I said yes. He then asked, "How would you like to be a Fire Control Crewman in the HAWK missile system?" (Thinking...when they fire a missile, it starts fires, and I'll be putting out the grass fires.) I answered, "Sure I've always wanted to be a Fireman." I enlisted as HAWK Fire Control Crewman, MOS 16E10. My Army career spanned 1966-1969 & 1971-1989 and I retired as a HAWK Missile Systems Maintenance Warrant Officer. Never did see a missile start a grass fire.

 

Colonel Dan, when you were a captain, we were stationed in Bad Hersfeld at the same time. We both knew CPT Robert Mixon. As I recall, you were in the 11th Armored Cav and I was a Staff Sergeant in the HAWK battery that was there.

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Birdgun, Indeed I was with the 11th 76-80 and commanded K Troop 3rd Sqdn 78-80! How did you know that?

 

Bob Mixon commanded L Troop during that same time frame. Bob recently retired as a Major General having commanded a division as his final assignment. Am attending our 11th ACR reunion this June in Williamsburg VA. Small world isn't it Birdgun!

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"Apocalypse Now" and Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" got me thinking about Army helicopters. Going to air shows in high school and drooling over everything with a rotor really stoked the fire. The orientation Huey ride during Beast pretty much sealed it. IERW Class 88-08 Honor Graduate from Scout Track is still one of my greatest days. The silver wings are proudly displayed in my office.

 

I miss the Wop-Wop-Wop to this day. :FlagAm:

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Charlie, That Huey wop-wop-wop is a sound nobody from our era will ever forget! You know however, they are now in museums for the most part...just as are the first 4 armored vehicles I was on as a LT and CPT. We're getting long in the tooth there soldier! ;)

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I was in college in Army ROTC when I received 11 for a lottery number. I stayed in ROTC but the Air Force was offering scholarships for any one who could pass the pilots physical. I passed and swithced to Air Force ROTC upon graduation I volunteered to fly helicpoters for the Air Force whereupon I was sent to FtRucker to train with the Army after flight school I was sent to Kirtland AFB in New Mexico to unlearn the Army's bad habits and learn the Air Force way. I flew Hueys, HH-53s.

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Colonel,

 

I wanted to be a Marine. Went to the USMC recruiting office three times - and he was never there. To get to the USMC office, you had to walk by the Army and Navy offices. On my third trip to visit, the Navy recruiter stopped me on my way out and asked if I'd like to see what the Navy had to offer.

 

I had no family members that I was aware of who had served in the Navy so I had no idea what the different "rates" did.

 

I joined as an Electronics Technician - and did not enjoy the job one bit! But I could do the job and so I did. I told myself at the end of my 6-year enlistment I would get out. Four years into my enlistement I was allowed to "cross-rate", or change jobs, and I became a Damage Controlman. We are responsible for the installed and portable fire-fighting, flooding, and CBR (or NBC in Army-speak) equipment - as well as training the crew in the use of this equipment.

 

Truth be told, I just wanted out of my hometown. I knew I wouldn't amount to anything if I stayed there and might not even live. I tell everyone I spent the first 18 years of my life trying to get out and the next 18 years trying to get back! I was finally stationed about 250 miles from home after 21 years and now I am looking forward to retirement with both anticipation and trepidation. If my extension goes through I will retire with 24 years of service next August, other wise I'll be just a couple months short.

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Howdy,

I was drafted and the only choice I had was US Army or prison, I went for US Army.

I knew how to type so they made me a clerk.

My only choice after that was what to spend that tiny paycheck on.

 

 

I think there should be a Draft Day and I think every draftee should get

the same retirement and health benefits as the President of the United States.

That is, those who made it thru alive.

 

btw I was told the second ammendment was what gave congress the power to draft folks....

Best

CR

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I picked Army - because in 1968 - it was 2 years - and not longer.

The Army picked my MOS - 11- Charlie - Indirect Fire Crewman.

 

In Viet Nam I was assigned to an Infantry Platoon and did everything

they did - except walk "point". I was Sgt - E5.

 

I carried M-16 and PRC-25 radio.(And lots of other gear).

 

My job was to "call in" mortars (81 mm), artilley, helicopter gun ships,

and (if I could get them - Jets and B-52's).

 

At night I "plotted" defrensive target coordinates - so that I could get

artillery support quickly if needed.

 

I was in Nam about 9 months - they had an "early out" program that would

cut up to 3 months off your tour if you were going to (or back to) college.

 

I said "where do i sign"? I left Nam on Sept. 2 - got out of Army on Sept. 4

and I was sitting in a Classroom at U of Illinois on Sept 9.

 

I have had 2 battles with prostate cancer and I am 50% disabled due to PTSD.

 

Thanks for reading my "story".

 

Also - please join and be active in VFW and Legion - they are GOOD organizations

and deserve our support.

 

- Boneyard Bill

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in 1964 the govenment deciced I should be in the Army. The Army decided I should be a medic. I had nothing to do with those "decisions". Strangely, I liked the Army and decided a military career was a good idea. That notion got blown out of me in the RVN in 1968. Stayed in till 1971. Got out. Told the re-up officer I wanted to be a private buffalo hunter. 20 years later shot a buffalo at a private buffalo ranch in Nebraska. Wanted to send that re-up guy a picture but I didn't know how.

 

The O'Meara Himself

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Had a strange compulsion to blow things up ever since I was a teenager. Told the Army recruiter I wanted to be a demolitions expert. He said there was no such thing but added, "How would you like to be a Combat Engineer, they blow stuff up". :unsure: He showed me the video and I noticed that in the whole 10 or 15 minutes of "job description" they only blew something up once. :angry: I said no thanks, so he showed me the video for Atomic Demolitions Munitions Specialist. Yup, Backpack Nukes! So I took the job and actually enjoyed it. But what happens when you find something you enjoy? They take it away, right? So, after 5 years of carrying nukes all over Germany I was forced to reclassify. But by this time I had learned of a small group of wildmen known as EOD ("those bomb guys") :ph34r: . Joined EOD in 1986 and never looked back. Retired in 2004 and I miss it every day.

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Colonel, I don't feel that long in the tooth, but you're right about the museums. All three of my main aircraft, TH-55, UH-1, and OH-58A/C are now museum pieces. We used to say that when they took the last Crashhawk (It had a bad reputation in the early days. ;) ) to the boneyard, they'd fly the crew back in a Huey. I think the Blackhawk is here to stay now.

 

At an air show this spring in Tuscaloosa, my older daughter got to take a ride in a Huey. Apparently a group of Vietnam vets has restored a few and take them around to shows. She called me mid-flight and the Wop-Wop-Wop sent a happy chill down my spine. Her boyfriend took a snapshot of her in the door gunner's seat with a DEWAT spade handle 60 on a pintle mount. It was a pretty cool "daddy moment" for sure.

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Spent two years in the army reserve while in advanced ROTC at college and was active for training only, but that still got me my honorable discharge when I was asked to leave school due to grades four months prior to graduation. In fact, I got my Honorable Discharge and my draft notice in the same day's mail! Having experienced some of the "life moments" Col. Dan alluded to while at our summer training between junior and senior years at Ft. Bragg, I decided to see what the other services had to offer. The Navy said I scored high enough to have any job I wanted in the service (the Army recruiter tried to poach me away when he heard my test scores) so I asked him what he recommended and he immediately signed me up for nuclear subs. Got all the way thru boot camp, "A" School (high speed morse code and cryptographic theory) and was assigned to the USS James B. Madison at New London, CT. Got there and told the trainee commander that not only did I not volunteer for Submarine Service (a requirement), but that I was not willing to extend my enlistment from four to six years to cover the training required. That's how I wound up aboard the USS Guam (LPH-9) (based in Norfolk, VA) for the next three years as a Radioman. Left as an E-5 when my hitch was up (had passed the test for E-6 but didn't have the time remaining to accept the promotion) and went back and finished college on the GI Bill.

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I wanted to go to college, but we were poor. So, I enlisted at age 17 (graduated HS at 17) with the intention of using the GI Bill to go to college. They offered a bonus for 11B (infantry), so I took it (more $$$ for college). I was the M-60 gunner (taller than most in my squad :rolleyes: ). After a short period, I was called in to see my Company Commander.

 

"Why are you here?"

"Sir?"

"Why are you here?"

"Well, sir, I'm going to give you a few years and the Army's going to give me a lot of money for college."

"I thought so. Well, what if I gave you a chance to go back to college today?"

 

That started my journey through West Point Prep School, West Point, and into the Army as an officer. Upon branch selection at graduation, I had long decided that walking with 60+ lbs of stuff and a 25 lb machine gun was not my idea of "fun." So, if they were going to shoot me full of little holes, I at least wasn't going to be exhausted when they did it. I decided to ride.....spent the next 13+ years in Armor. School trained in M-60A3's, my first tank platoon had M-60A1's, transitioned to M-1's, M-1A1's, etc. By accident, I guess, I found that my personality was well suited for my role as an Armor guy. I loved it so long as I could "smell the diesel." The problem is that you can't stay there forever....you must move on to staff and higher levels. That part I didn't like as much.

 

I still have "trinkets" of my time as a tanker around my office and home.....like a piece of a torsion bar (about 4" long) that I broke while "going where no man has gone before" (presented to me by my crew and the hull mechanics who fixed it), etc. :)

 

Looking back, I wouldn't have done it any other way.

 

Chick

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My dad still tells the story of when he "chose" his branch of the military. He was drafted and given a "report to" place date and time. He showed up with a whole bunch of other guys, in front of two huge buses. A guy in a uniform with a clipboard was standing there. He started calling names and directing those called to move to one of the buses. After the group of draftees were split into two groups, the guy with the clipboard looked at one of the groups and said "Congratulations, you are now Marines, get on that bus", and looked at the group with my dad and said "congratulations, you are now in the Army, get on that bus".

 

He spent his time in Vietnam and Thank God, came home in one piece, or I wouldn't be here. Growing up, I got to see lots of pictures of Vietnam landscapes, and pictures of the guntruck he was in escorting convoys to firebases and such, and pictures of tanks(he has always been fascinated by tanks). I heard lots of the "funny" stories, but no stories of the "bad stuff" until I was in my 30's, and then only a couple stories that sounded fairly heavily edited for content. He got to see the traveling Wall once. It was at Knotts Berry Farm one year on veterans day. He went, and my mom said he spent a lot of time looking for names that he knew should be there, and then looking for names of the guys that were still there when he got to come home, hoping not to find them and getting upset when he did. He still hasn't told me much more about his time in the service, thats OK, I know he isn't the only guy that prefers not to talk about some things. I love him, and I am proud of him.

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For me the only choices were between Air Force and Marines. I went Air.

 

Like Slim, I had very high ASVAB scores and knew I could pretty much name my job. When the MEPS guy asked me for my job preference I told him I wanted the longest electronics school they had. When he asked me my second choice I told him the longest electronics school you've got. I left two days later and became an Electronic Communications and Cryptographic Systens Specialist.

 

The Air Force was good to me and good for me.

 

Possum

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Daddy was WWII USNavy.

 

Older bro: Marines

Nephew: Marines

Bro Inlaw: Marines

Nephew: Air Force

 

WIDDER: NAVY

 

I ask to be a Corpman but was made into a radioman, which eventually led to my hearing deficency (loss).

 

Hey Philly: I was in the Navy for 4 years and only spent a total of about 10 days at sea, never more than 3 at a time. Go figure!

 

But I did spend 16 months in Morocco on the edge of the desert at a Communications center. Talk about hot.

 

I salute those who served and especially those who served as a career. My freedoms have been blessed because of it.

 

 

..........Widder

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Took a slightly different road than Colonel Dan. Enlisted Airborne in 1968, got to FT Bliss as part of inprocessing was asked what I wanted to be. Told the guy I wanted to be a rifleman (plan was to go to jumpschool and infantry OCS). He told me he could not put that down. Did not explain why and I was to stupid or awed by the Army to ask. He started naming casualty list things like medic, radio operator finally got down to truck driver. Told him I new how to drive a truck. He looked at my scores and asked if I wanted to go to OCS, told him sure. Filled out the application, had to waive my Airborne Enlistment option - signed that form. Off to basic training then on to Truck Driver AIT at Fort Huachucha. Maybe I was too young, unlike everybody else at AIT who pretty much went straight to Vietnam, I was assigned to Ft Hood. Assigned to a Car Company, Sedans, Jeeps and 1-1/4 Tons.

Think day 2 in the unit put in 1049 for Vietnam, something to do with a CS outfit. Couple of months later in January, I was OJTing to replace the company clerk went, to Battalion to pick up distribution and on the top of the stack were my orders for Vietnam.

 

On my way to Oakland found all 6 copies of the OCS application still in my 201 File. Wonder why they were never forwarded. Perhaps my file was the last one of the day for the clerk and he just bundled things up thinking he would get around to processing the app the next day. Who knows? Ended up being assigned to the 1st S&T Bn Big Red One. Part of inprocessing PSNCO asked if I could type, told him yes as it was true and he had not asked if I could type well. Typing was my only D in High School, had I not dropped at semester, teach would have flunked me out. He sent me over to HHC to OJT as company clerk, was also CO's Driver. DiAn was a pretty good assignmment. I got there in March of 69 and the base had not been hit since Tet of 68. Could have had something to do with the ROC compound directly attached. Those Korean guys did not mess around.

Extended in Vietnam, about a month before my extension started we were informed the Big Red One was being pulled out. By this time I was a SP5 and had a clerk MOS. Was reassigned to the 3rd Bde 9th Inf Div, ended up in A/5/60th Inf. Met a guy from my hometown in Montana, 5000 people in the county in those days, what were the odds of meeting someone who went to High School with ones sister? Being a serious REMF is really not a great thing to be in an Infantry Company. The Battalion was moved out to Tay Ninh provence out near the Michillen Rubber Plantatation not far from Dau Tieng. I spent several weeks at FSB Jaime took supplies out to the Company in the woods a few times. We then went back to Dau Tieng for transport to Cambodia in the 1970 incursion. 5/60 was opcon to 1st Cav for that operation. After a week or so in cambodia up on Shakeys Hill I had to go back to Binh Phoc to type up courtmartial papers for a couple of guys that went AWOL rather than go to the field almost a month earlier. On the way back I was traveling with Bill Porter who had just returned from R&R in Hawaii. We spent the night at Tan An waiting to fly to Dau Tieng and on to Song Be. Tan An was mortared, Bill woke me up and down to the bunker we went. In the morning we went to flew out on a Bronco and then took a Huey from Song Be to Shakeys Hill. The morning after we got to Shakey Hill the company went out and about 500 meters out Porter was killed in an ambush.

I was part of the detail that went down to get him. A week or so later the company came back in for a couple of days and went out again. I did not want to be on top of the hill and have my Montana Buddy be the next one to get it. Asked the CO if I could go out with the company was told no as I was not a grunt. Went over his head and got permission from the Bn S3 (who I ran into in 85 at NTC when I was an Inf Cpt).

Spent 2 weeks as a grunt.

Was treated a whole lot better by the guys after that as I had waltzed a ruck with them. Still see many of them every year.

Later the 9th Division went home and I ended up the lst 90 days in Long Binh got the Christmas drop in Dec 70 came home and went to school. Got married 2nd semester of my Second year, tranfered to the University of AZ. At the end of my Jr year, my wife tells me she wants to get a masters in nursing. Did not know how we could afford it but she got a $275 a month federal traineeship, I got $325 GI Bill. I could get an extra $100 per month for ROTC so I went in to see the professor of military science. He waived the first 2 years and let me take 3rd and 4th year concurrently. Graduated in May of 75 went to Ft Lewis for Summer Camp and was Commissioned as a 2LT of Infantry at Summer Camp Graduation. It took from June of 68 to July or August of 75 but I was finally an Infantry Officer. Went to Jump School at the end of the Infantry Officers Advanced course and finally became Airborne in 1980.

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.............an Electronic Communications and Cryptographic Systens Specialist.

 

 

Possum

 

 

That's what Sour Kraut did. She said she actually cried when they told her she'd have to spend an extra six months at Lackland going to Tech School. But then she got stationed at Langley AFB where she met me and life was good. :wub:

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Was a civilian surveyor for the Corps and on a Monday was told Uncle Sam had to let me go. Tuesday was the lottery and I won. Not a dang friend of mine or anyone I knew had a number lower than 300. So Monday they fired me and Tuesday rehired at a different salary. Didn't wanna be a grunt so to the Army Recruiter I went. Family was all cops or law enforcement through out the family history. So, became a MP, which just turned out to be a glorified grunt. Knew how to type from high school class so got to be an MP armorer which was just a really glorified grunt. Had a great time though.

Wife not from a rich family and she really smart cookie. Wanted to be a nurse and enlisted in the Army who paid for her college to become a RN and afterward off to basic and after that became one of those officer type. I was just a Sgt. and she a Lieutenant. Always has outranked me! :wub:

 

It is kinda neet on Veterans Day when Army Vets asked to stand and both me and the wife stand up.

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The President, neighbors, and friends decided that I should be in the Army in 1969. The Army decided that I should be 12Bravo - straightleg infantry... (basic and AIT at Ft. Lewis Washington) Left the country as an E-3 from SeaTac airport---where ever the military loaded up...

 

...came back in country as an E-6 to SeaTac airport... ...stayed active for a burst of 6 more years and then came home and joined the Tennessee Army National Guard. They were Mech Infantry for a couple of years and then became Armored Cav.... retired as an O-4.

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It is kinda neet on Veterans Day when Army Vets asked to stand and both me and the wife stand up.

 

 

I like it when both Sour Kraut and I salute the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance. :FlagAm:

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Fascinating stories -- thank you all for your service to the country.

 

I'd run out of money for college and was cooking at a truck stop. I decided to join the military, and through reading I discovered that the Army was the only branch that would guarantee me an MOS.

 

I tood the ASVAB and had excellent scores, and I asked for helicopter flight training. They couldn't get a waiver for my eyesight. So I asked for crew chief's school -- working on the turbine engines. There was a 12-month delayed entry program on the school. Even at 22 I knew that if I hung around my home town line-cooking and drinking beer with my buddies for a year, there wouldn't be any military in my future.

 

So basically I said, "what else you got?" "What were you majoring in when you were in college?" "Journalism." "Well, you could do that."

 

I was an Army newspaper reporter for four years, and did the same occupation in the civilian world for 10. The past 10 years I've been an Army civilian, public affairs officer. I still wish I could fly helicopters.

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I knew from the time I was 5 that I would be a Marine. In Boot Camp, I learned about Force Recon ( I was informed that only the totally crazy went there) and since my Dad was a Ranger, the thought of jumping out of perfectly good airplanes appealed to me. Then I was always a very good shot and an excellent Woodsman and Scout Sniper was my next move. Then I landed in Da Nang and was in my first firefight on my first day in country OTW to Camp Carroll and was wondering XXX was I thinking????? I got very good at my craft and stayed there for 22 months until I woke up on a plane between Hawaii and San Francisco. I crawled into a bottle and 6 months after my discharge from Active Duty, needed the structure that The Corps gave me. I enlisted in the Reserves and they gave me another wonderful 24 years, totaling 28 years of fitting in someplace.

 

I retired in 1998 at the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant and am thankful to all those NCO's that saw something in me, allowing me to grow up and mature to the point where I was accepted as a Marine.

 

You join The Army.

 

You join The Navy.

 

You join The Air Force.

 

 

But you become a Marine.

 

That is an honor that I will carry with me to my grave. It was more than just giving. It gave back.

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:FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm:

 

Well, I was 29 and I reckoned too old to run with the Marines. :rolleyes:

And I wanted to serve and still run a business, so I got into the NE Army Guard in the 1-167 Air Cav. And I loved the Air Cav. :wub:

I was the first in the squadron to go to 67Y school (Cobra mechanic).

But I was too old to go to flight school, I was told. Hell, I didn't know what a waiver was back then. :angry:

So now, 27 yrs later I have 4 other MOS's---All aviation maintenance.

67Y------AH-1 Cobra in 1985

67V------OH-6 Loach in 1987

67N------UH-1 Huey in 1990

15V------OH-58 Kiowa in 2001

15U------CH-47 Chinook in 2006

15T------UH-60 Blachhawk (Not awarded, it's my full time technician job)

 

Mustang Gregg, SFC

(another month in Afghanistan) :lol:

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