Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Your're in the Army Now...

Doc factoid time. Aside from spending 12 years in the Marines I also spent awhile in the Virginia National Guard.

I signed on probably a good 7 years after I got out of the Marines but they took me right back with the same rank that I left the Marines with.

I was issued a seabag full of new Army uniforms and a CD full of information on Army indoctrination, how to wear the uniform, rank structure etc. I thought that was pretty funny that they just kind of leave it up to you to figure out. Fortunately most of my drill weekends I wore my civilian clothes and on the occasional administration drill weekend I would have to wear my camouflage uniform but that was the extent of it. I ended up missing a dress uniform inspection, good thing as I never did figure out how to put on all of odds and ends, guess I should have paid more attention to the CD.

All in all the National Guard was a big let down for me coming from the Marines. I was used to discipline and order and the Guard just lacked all of that. I had pay problems that never got resolved. There was other administrative problems that never got worked out month after month.

One funny thing was lunch during the admin drill weekends. Sometimes there was a woman who was contracted out to provide us meals, obviously the lowest bidder. Nothing horrible but just not very tasty or imaginative but it was times better than when we would get the frozen school lunch packets. They kept a freezer full of these things and just pulled them out and passed them around. They were A) Horrible B) Tasteless and C) Frozen!

Most guys drove from all parts of Virginia and from Maryland, I even think there was someone coming from Pennsylvania. Well you don't join the Guard to get rich, but gas was costing a fortune back then, you've driven for hours, now your choice is staying at a local hotel for $80+ a night or sleeping on a cot provided by the unit. Most guys opted for the cots.

I left the unit after returning from Iraq as I was going overseas again and it was just to difficult to maintain my status with the unit, that and I was tired of the same old routine.

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