From Grunt to Squid

November 17, 2017

Guns and bombs were never much my style,

but to escape a miserable childhood and an
uncertain future, I joined the Army National
Guard.

I was 18 and right out of high school, in boot
camp, Drill Sargent Tower stood me and PVT
Fields up in front of the platoon, and laughed
at us for "only being cooks."

The platoon laughed, I felt like an inch high, God
knows that Fields felt the same way, minute; and
insignificant in the grand scheme of things. 

Silently, I vowed to get the last laugh, when I

returned from boot camp and my MOS training,
the laughter continued, my family laughed when
I told them I wanted to attend college. 

My mother jeered.

"Oh so you want to be one of those college boy
snobs?!" "Well, you're not living here in my house
while you do that non-sense."

My step father was the devil in the form of a
potbellied 5'3 Viet Nam vet, he told me that
"College was for losers, it's a waste of time and money." 

and so the next day

I packed my belongings and moved underneath
the I-95 underpass, life as an outcast was getting
a bit stale.

I was scoffed at by the seasoned veterans of the
homeless scene and beaten over the head by an
85 year old lady, that thought I was trying to snatch
her purse.

But

a few days later a Navy recruiter appeared by my
old high school, so I picked up my ruck sack, slung
it over my left shoulder and ended up joining the
Navy, this time it was active duty, once again, I
would have a roof over my head and food in my gut.

I told my Navy recruiter that I was "already an official
member of the Army National Guard unit out of 
Fairhope, Alabama."

Promptly, he took me down to my NG unit and had me
swiftly discharged.

My old weekend warrior buddies called me a "traitor,
and a defector," I just remained silent, awaiting for the
day I would have to repeat the entire cycle of boot camp
and training all over again. 
 

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