Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why?


A lot of my friends and family have disagreed with my decision to enlist with the United States Army, so I’ve decided to post my reasons for enlistment and my rebuttals for their reasons for why this was a bad idea. I’m wondering how many people will actually read this, considering that I don’t believe many people know of this blog.

» Enlistment Over Commission

Iron ManI went to college, so it’s only logical that I become a commissioned officer rather than enlist as a grunt. The pay’s better as an officer, plus there’s less people on the chain of command that can give me shit than if I was an enlisted soldier. This sounds like a no-brainer, why in the hell am I enlisting?

If I entered the Army as an officer, I would have no say over what Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) that I would be assigned to and trained in. I would be placed in an MOS based off the needs of the military. Enlisting gave me a choice of what fields I could work in so long as there were jobs open in the MOS’s. I’m using the Army to give me experience in a field that I want to work in. I don’t think I would be satisfied with any old managerial position out there in the civilian sector.

Lastly, I don’t intend to stay enlisted the entire time I serve in the Army. Since my obligation currently is five years of active duty service (along with three years as a non-active reserve), I figured an extra three years wouldn’t be too much time to add if I went officer. Also, due to my prior training, the Army will at least be somewhat reluctant to retrain me in another branch. I’ll be 32 years old by the time my obligation is at an end, but I figure I’ll be much more marketable in the civilian workforce than I was out of college.

» Earning My Rights
Months ago I got into a spat with one of my college buddies over that whole Pentagon 9/11 conspiracy theory. My argument in a nutshell was that I thought it was ludicrous that the Department of Defense would willingly sacrifice the lives on those on that plane and the servicemen and women in that section of the building to cover something up. I told him I didn’t appreciate the fact he was spreading this rumor and his answer was something along the lines of having free speech. My answer was that though the right entitles you as such, it does not mean that he deserved it. His final reply to this was that since he was entitled to the free speech, he did not have to earn it.

I’m not going even try to wax philosophically about this since I figure people like John Locke and J.S. Mill have done a better job of it than I would ever. I am going to argue, however, though rights may be something that we as a society believe we deserve, it almost never comes without a cost. Most leaders aren’t enlightened or benevolent enough to give the governed what they universally believe they are entitled, so leaders must be “convinced” into sharing power with the people. It’s cliché to mention these days, but people in this country were will to fight for what they believed they deserved over two centuries ago. Another friend once told me that he didn’t believe that the Iraqis deserved freedom and the rights associated with them because they weren’t willing to fight for them. He also noted that he himself might not deserve the freedoms he enjoys now since he would be hesitant to stand and be willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for them. I share his view and see military service as a way to come closer to my goal of having earned my rights as an American. During my time in Atlanta I’ve had a couple of friend mention a sense of civic duty and consideration of military service after learning about my background as an Army brat whose lived overseas most of my life. I have a feeling that they were making such claims as to establish some sort of connection and that they had no real intention of following through with these seeing how comfortable they are with their lives. After I serve no one can take this from me.
♪MAMA, SHE HAS TAUGHT ME WELL
TOLD ME WHEN I WAS YOUNG
SON, YOUR LIFE’S AN OPEN BOOK
DON’T CLOSE IT ‘FORE IT’S DONE
THE BRIGHTEST FLAME BURNS QUICKEST
THAT’S WHAT I HEARD HER SAY
A SON’S HEART’S OWED TO MOTHER
BUT I MUST FIND MY WAY…♪
Song of the Moment: “Mama Said” by Metallica

Monday, June 12, 2006

Last Days as a Civilian (Part II)

I’m getting back into the groove of blogging, at least somewhat. At times, however, it seems like a waste, considering the fact that I probably won’t be able to touch a computer for weeks, if not months, at a time.

» Little Chad: Big in Japan
MONKEY!Chad was being sent by his employer to Japan for training or some other work related reason, so he came down to Atlanta a day before his flight so that we could hang out. We hit the comic store and I suggested the Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan trade since I thought it would fit in nicely with where he was going. I had him help me pick out a Bible for Basic, since religious books are the only things you are allowed to read for those couple months of training. My other reason for picking one up is to help me understand half the things Chad talks about, if not to understand Chad himself. You can learn a lot about a person by reading, viewing, or listening to books, movies, or music they hold in high regard.

» “Walk Softly, and Carry a Big Gun…”
Space Marine
Rob popped online one night and we decided to have one last battle in Dawn of War before I headed off for training. We chose to team up against six other computer-controlled players because we were feeling slightly insane. Despite our relative rustiness from not having playing the game in months and the slight lag, we were able to lead our forces to victory. I myself was surprised with my stats after the battle, having killed nearly 700 enemy units at the loss of about 70 of my own. Not too bad.
“A suspicious mind is a healthy mind.”
Game of the Moment: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

Sunday, June 11, 2006

"Orion" Live



God, this really made my day. "Orion" is what I consider Metallica's best instrumental, though many argue in favor of "The Call of the Ktulu" due to the symphony collaboration years ago. This performance isn't perfect though, since Kirk's "The Mummy" guitar went out before the first solo, though it still is a good live performance of the instrumental. Thank you, Cliff. Rest in peace, bro.
"God bless Cliff Burton."
Song of the Moment: "Orion" by Metallica

Friday, June 09, 2006

Last Days as a Civilian (Part I)

Katie at MEPSGod, I’ve been so lazy with the blogging. Hopefully I’ll make up for it some these few days before my enlistment begins.

» (Some) Freedom
I’ve been staying in a hotel for the past week or so. It’s been somewhat refreshing, especially considering that I was pretty much locked in my old apartment due to lack of key. I can’t blame my former roommates for that, though, since I would’ve hesitant to part with mine had the roles been reversed.

The hotel isn’t bad. It’s my first experience with living alone, and let me tell you, unless future living accommodations demand otherwise, I’m done with roommates. However, there are a couple things I could do without, though those are mostly due to the location of the hotel. One morning I was woken up by knocking at seven in the morning. I picked up my combat knife, put on my bathrobe, and answered the door and found a cracked out bum. First he tried lying about living there, which I found out was a lie after I called the after-hours lockout number. He then asks if he can use my shower, but I found it hard to be sympathetic to someone that wakes me up and lies to me. Luckily the guy didn’t argue after I said no, which was probably due to the knife, or the bathrobe, or both.

The next morning I’m napping after my morning workout only to hear the phone ringing. I pick it up and hear some guy asking “Do you want head?” over and over about half a dozen time. Confused, I answer with “huh,” only to have the man clarify the question by saying “Do you want a blowjob?” With all puzzlement over what he was trying to ask dispelled, I hung up the phone and went back to sleep.

» A Good Time at MEPS?
There’s a saying that every recruit in the Military Entrance Processing Station loves to say: “Hurry up and wait.” I’ve been to the MEPS four times now and each time involved 8+ hours of waiting, so I can see why everyone says that. When I was about to go for my fourth time, I resolved myself to knowing that I was about to waste another day, despite the fact that the DLAB test I was taking would only take an hour and a half.

At around 0545 all the applicants and shippers got onto buses. When I sat down in my seat, I overhear the black, female bus driver constantly announce that no one had told her nothing (I used the double negative to give you an idea of her speech). She starts driving and in the first five minutes takes a wrong turn into a dead end. Everyone thought we were going horribly late, but the bus drive kicked into high gear and gets the bus hauling ass down the interstate at about 85 to 90 mph (I’ve never been in a bus going that fast). We arrive and we’re fifteen minutes early. That was a fun way to start the day.

I’m one of the first applicants called out of the line, along with the two others, Brandon (I think) and Katie, who were also taking the DLAB. After a little waiting we’re taken into the testing room by a sailor who sets up a tape player that plays back an hour and a half of gibberish. Our task was to make as much sense as we could out of it using the few grammatical rules found in my test booklets. I was surprised when I found out I was the only one that passed, especially since Brandon had told us before the test that he spoke four or five languages spoken in the Afghani and Pakistani regions.

After the test we began the long wait. Brandon wasn’t very social at this point, probably mostly due to lack of sleep. Katie brought a big book of sudoku puzzles with her and felt the need to teach me how to play. I ended up spending around eight hours at MEPS trying to figure out sodoku and playing big brother to the girl. It turned out to be a good time all things considered.
♪…CAUGHT IN A WORLD WHERE
YOU COULD NEVER RUN TOO FAST
TO FINALLY REACH
THE BEGINNING… AT LAST…♪
Song of the Moment: “The Beginning… At Last” by Black Label Society