• If you enlisted, what were some of the reasons that you joined the military? How did you choose your branch of service?
    • I used the military to get away from my home town and see other places. When I enlisted I was between jobs looking work. The decline of the tire factories in my home town made it tough to find a decent paying job. So I decided to join the military. The Army had the first office in the recruiting building so I stopped there first. I asked the first recruiter I saw “How fast can you get me in?” He replied, “Are you in trouble with the law?” I said “of course not” and began the process. This happened on a Monday morning and I departed for basic on Thursday of the same week! The rest is history.
  • How did you imagine military life before you joined? How did your perceptions change after serving?
    • I never had any military influence in my life. I was the first in my family to join the volunteer Army, so I really couldn’t imagine what to expect.  I just prepared myself to handle whatever was coming my way.  I knew it would get tough at times, but I was determined to be successful. Being regimented and the discipline the Army provided was definitely plus for that time of my life.
  • What was basic training like?
    • Basic wasn’t that difficult for me. No more stressful than my coaches at football practice. I learned early that it’s easy to be a successful Private, do as you are told and be where you are supposed be. It was amazing how a group of young men from all over the place could cohesive unit. The comradery and Esprit de corps is what touched me the most.  I knew early that I would become a career Soldier.
  • How did you stay in touch with family and friends back home?
    • I kept in contact with friends and family through letter mail.  I used to use what I thought was cool stationary that I would pick up at the PX.  It had the Army seal on it and the envelopes had red, white and blue trim. They looked really official.  I found out later that my family got really excited when they saw those envelopes come in the mail. I also used MCI long distance calling cards to phone home. Does anyone remember those? LOL