Today is Veterans day. I don’t have any war campaign stories for you. I’m glad that I don’t growing up in the types of households as a child was war enough for me. But I am a U.S. Army veteran and believe me it was the toughest job I never loved.
Back when I was in high school there were military recruiters that actually came to hang out right on the campus! which to me isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because had it not been for that I would have never even heard about the armed forces. Want to know why? Because NO ONE:
Explained anything to me at all! No one showed me anything AT ALL! No one talked to me about plans after high school AT ALL! It were though I was invisible so no one knew I was there! That’s how it felt to be me. Black girls DO get ignored whether you want to believe that or not. We don’t get ANYTHING! that’s positive even guidance for our young lives at least that was how it was for me.
Today in 21st Century all anyone cares about is the youth, when I was a really young person no one could have cared less.
Anyway fast forward towards my enlistment into Uncle Sam’s U.S. Army. I did it all on the spur of the moment without really giving it too much thought. I was 18 and I had no idea whatsoever on what to do with my life. I had no one to talk to & no one even bothered to reach out to me to even ask me anything! See, I told you I was treated like I was invisible! If you read my previous blogs I had a Mother who would go straight up to her bedroom after work without even asking me anything about my day at school & she didn’t even bother cooking or leaving instructions on what nor how to cook anything. Parents a word here: You have to teach kids or guide them on what & how to do things because…..well they’re kids…..okay?
So, in my very young & immature mind I figured that I could handle the Army. On what basis did I come to this conclusion? Growing up in the abusive & chaotic environment of all the yelling, violence, instability that was my life at home. All I knew was that the Army would be strict, that the drill instructors did yell and so in my very young mind I figured that I would be okay due to how it was at home. And since my own Mother really didn’t make any effort whatsoever to connect with me, she seemed to have severe issues of depression that she wasn’t getting addressed on her own, then when she wasn’t depressed she was having a full blown rage fest over something trivial. Honestly? I’m real surprised that she didn’t have a stroke THATS HOW BAD IT WAS!
When I told Mom about my enlistment she did not take it well which confused me. Because when I was at home she acted as though she could not stand me.
The day I had to leave Mom was acting weird. It was my Mom & my best friend from high school who took me to the airport to get my plane to one of 2 or 3 stops before arriving to my Army base. Mom made a big scene which was embarrassing. Looking back on it I wished that Mom would have reached out somewhere on something like an empty nest support group but she really wasn’t on top of all that unfortunately. I was too young & immature to help her & besides I wrongly assumed that since she was the adult that she would be alright & could see to her own needs. Still to this day I don’t understand her behavior.
The plane ride was very long. I was to arrive at Fort Jackson South Carolina. I live out in the West Coast. The ride takes FOREVER! At least it felt that way for me. Last time I was on a plane ride that long was going to Washington DC for a high school field trip.
Once I arrived it was 3 AM in the morning! Now at 18 years old I think that the only time or the last time I was up that late was my high school graduation party and I got home at the crack of dawn. But this was different. I don’t remember much just bits & pieces.
I remember that we were escorted by a short muscular 3 stripe sergeant who had a very heavy accent. I have a great trained ear for accents now but at 18 I wasn’t accustomed to hearing them much. He pretty much barked at us, he was an intense man. I felt like running away but to where? Here I was thousands of miles from home in a strange state that was very HOT + HUMID even for September early in the morning. We get to the womens dorm, but wait let me tell you were we were first. This place was the place called the induction center were we would get fitted for uniforms and get our duffel bags, get those dreaded shots (eew) we would then reach the actual Army base were the training would begin.
So our group were allowed some sleep for a few hours and our sergeant escorted us onto the womens floor. We walk down a corridor a few yards when all of a sudden the Sergeant yells loudly ‘MAN ON THE FLOOR” Good grief I thought I was
going to have a heart attack. He scared me. But I said nothing but I was certainly alert. We get to our dormitory were there were already some other females soundly sleeping in their bunks. However I dreaded having to meet them in the morning once everyone woke up. Why? Call it a premonition. I just didn’t feel like I would get the warmest welcome and I was right. Because the next morning the yelling started all over again this time from the awakening females who came from all over the 50 states. One in particular who seemed the most aggressive was a woman who stood only 5 ft but hailed from New York. She didn’t play. I believe her greeting to me was “Who the hell are you”? What a greeting. Basically the weather was so hot in South Carolina that women fainted where they stood right in our formation line. I was so scared I would do the same thing. Didn’t happen but it was scary. Yelling was going on all around me for someone who came from a chaotic background even this was unsettling.
I was at this place for a week I think then it was onto the actual training camp of Fort Jackson. And OMG! I had never worked so hard in my young life & I had various jobs but none like this. And to think I had 3 years to go of this Hell!
More of my Veterans story To Be Continued Thanks for reading serving the U.S. is a tough job! Please thank a veteran will you?