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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The creation of the American Soldier - Completion of training

I go into a little more detail in my book about basic training and advanced individual training, so I will spare the details here.  All I can say is I was happy, at that time, for the completion of what seemed like an unending journey that would never end.  It wasn't that it was all that difficult, I have said many times, to many people, that if I could get through basic and AIT, anyone could.  Now, I was in decent shape, but not in as good as shape as when I completed this training.  This would begin a stretch of four years where I would be in probably the best cardiovascular shape of my life, only because I was made to run, which, I will tell you now, I hate with a passion.  I still force myself to run, but only 15 minutes a day, I split my cardio workouts between running and the elliptical, 15 minutes each, that is all I can tolerate. 

The next step in those early years was to be "shipped" to my first duty station.  Isn't that interesting, how we refer to service members going overseas or on deployment, or changing duty stations as being "shipped." Like we are a piece of freight, most likely low end freight, that is packaged and sent somewhere to be unpacked an utilized as needed at a different location.  I guess in the grand scheme of things this is actually how we can be categorized, same as the initials G.I. or general issue.  My general issue was the clothing and equipment I initially collected upon entering the military, but to Uncle Sam, we are his new possession, his general issue, ready for use and service. 

My first duty station was South Korea, I would go home for a week and then head overseas, to Camp Hovey, home of the 1st of the 9th Infantry Regiment (Mechanized), part of the 2nd Infantry Division.  There was a great sense of accomplishment, but in all honesty, I was still a E1 (private), and I didn't know shit. Actually, I can't even begin to explain how much I didn't know, I could march, and perform the basic soldier skills, but there was a long way to go.  I would learn during that year in Korea what it means to train, half the year would encompass training, the other half, well, that would be garrison time, and when we were off on weekends, or on pass, it was time to have some fun.

I was off to The Republic of Korea, a place where I would meet many great Americans I still have enormous respect for.  And a place where I would learn the roads like I knew the ones back home in Danville, PA.

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