%= [html_header "Time in the Corps"] %>
In January of 96 I shipped off to MCRD San Diego for Basic training. I arrived at about 11:30 PM after having spent 2 days sitting in a chair at MEPS ( a processing station in LA.) The few of us on the bus were immediately set upon by Drill Instructors. We were thrown off the bus and told to line up on the yellow footprints that were painted on the ground. We were then told to kneel down on one knee and stay there. After about 45 min it started to hurt like hell. When the DI's felt we had suffered enough they briefed us on how long we would go to jail if we tried to leave or refused to train. Finally they let us stand up. The next 48 hours were spent removing all vestiges of the civilian world. All our personal belongings were taken away, including our clothes. Our heads were shaved, we were given ten different injections to update our immunizations and issued regulation military everything. We were not allowed to sleep the entire time. It was and still is a frantic blur in my mind. Thus began my adventure in the United States Marine Corps.
Over the course of the next twelve weeks I was molded into a marine. It was tough. The were plenty of times I felt like quitting, sometimes I felt like I was going to die but I didn't. I grew stronger and sharper. A typical day started at 0530(5:30am) and ended at 2300(11:00pm) During the course of the day I would spend several hours PT'ing(exercising), several hours in classes & many, many hours practicing Drill(marching). What little time that was left was used by the DI's to torture us however they wanted. Somewhere in the middle I began to enjoy it. I began to excel, I was promoted to Squad Leader, I was the highest academically rated recruit in my platoon, I was one point shy of Company High Shooter on the rifle range. I loved it. I couldn't get enough. By the time I graduated I could run five miles a day and didn't really want to leave. But I missed my family and my friends so on April 18th I marched across the parade deck with my brothers of Fox Co. Plt 2070 stood at attention for the General and was dismissed. I would never see most of the men of my platoon again. That was a hard thought. The bonds that you develop in Marine Corps boot camp are unbelievably strong and will last for a lifetime. I picked up my gear, turned on my heal and walked back into civilian life for a short ten days. Boot leave seemed so short, it was over before it started.
My next stop in the Marine Corps was SOI, the School Of Infantry. I reported for training and was immediately assigned to two weeks of mess duty. Working in the chow hall sucks. Your day starts at 2am and ends at 9pm. Your lucky to get two hours of sleep a night. Imagine being a waiter in the military, you can't stand still, you can't sit down, there are no breaks, you get yelled at every five minuets, you work seven days a week, and you work HARD. You are responsible for unloading the food off the trucks, storing it, cooking it, cleaning all the kitchenware, cleaning the floors, the walls, the tables, the chairs, everything. I couldn't wait for it to end. Thankfully the weeks passed quickly. Two weeks later while I was in training they brought in civilians to run the chow hall. Marines would never have to do it again. I was one of the last.
I went to Infantry Training Battalion, Alpha Company, Weapons platoon for training as an 0352, a TOW missile gunner. I loved it. This was the stuff I had joined for. Running around assaulting bunkers, firing all kinds of weapons, blowing stuff up, learning how to be a warrior. The weeks went by at a great pace, it was hard work but it was a blast. Thankfully we we're given liberty on the weekends. That way I could go and stay with my girlfriend in Costa Mesa and forget all about the military. Weekends were a blast. We would travel all over and do as much as we could in that short 48 hours. Time passed and eventually, my time in the military was over. I called for a ride and as the sun set behind me I left Camp Pendelton and the Marine Corps behind forever.
Back home I slowly grew accustomed to being a civilian again. I spent I couple of weeks getting settled then took a job offer as a programmer. I had worked for the company, Supply Technology, before so I was comfortable coming back. Anyway, I'm just living life nowadays, enjoying my time here on Earth. Everyday is a joy to live and Every person is a friend to be made.