In part 2 of this story, we take a trip down memory lane to see where I came from and what led me to enlist, and what kind of a man I used to be. Its important to understand the past so as to avoid repeating it, as it would have been too easy to backslide into the old me after I left the course. But, I did not, and in part 3 I will share what caused that decision and its aftermath.
It's 2011, and you are a piece of shit. Your life revolves around booze, pussy, & smoking cigars. Getting drunker was a challenge every time you went out. That girl at the bar has a boyfriend? Oh well fuck him. Yea... Then, one day after drinking to rock bottom, I decided to pursue a child-hood dream I had ran from when I graduated high school. Suddenly, life had purpose and meaning again. I was working out months before to get rid of my beer gut, but now, now I had a real purpose in the gym.
I was no longer going to be that loser guy who was just waiting tables after quitting college. Now, worrying about money wasn’t the root of my existence anymore & it was liberating. I downloaded every study guide & video I could get my hands on to work out like a SEAL. Run in boots and pants, check. That pain that keeps persisting? Yea fuck that pain. Check. Pull-ups, swimming, cable-machines and even gay-ass CrossFit, check. 7 mile run during a snowstorm to smoke a cigar? Check. My dumbass did anything hard to help me improve, and it showed. From my first swim test where I blew the time hack for the swim but kept going, to several months later passing the 500m swim I proved to myself and the Navy motivators I could do this. Then, after months of hard work, the eyesight requirements changed and I could no longer get a waiver to go to BUD/S. Boom, fuck you kid go to the fleet.
I was devastated. I stopped working out and was drinking again. Hard. Still, I knew I wanted to serve, and I just had to get the fuck out of Little Rock. A drinking buddy of mine was in the Army National Guard. Dude doesn’t know it, but him taking me to that recruiter saved me. The recruiter and my buddy told me about the Army’s 18X program, designed to take civilians and put them into the Special Forces training pipeline. A few days after we talked, I got a call that they had a contract with a ship date of October, so I signed up. The day I swore in, I remember thinking what the fuck are you doing? I remember being unsure of myself and wondering what I was doing leaving this life. This life haha. This shit will find me dead in an alley one day. I had failed out of college and burned a lot of bridges. My drinking and smoking ran my life, I was at the lowest of lows at the time, or so I thought. Every dime and penny I made I spent on my addictions. They fucking controlled me. The women in my life I treated as objects, but I didn’t fucking care about the consequences of anything as long as I was happy in that moment in time. So, I’m sitting at MEPS, and they ask who wants to back out now? I panic as weakness enters my mind. Yes, let’s do it leave and go back to the bar they will be open soon. Go to the cigar shop, somewhere, anywhere I don’t want to do this I think! Then, something shifted deep down inside of me, and luckily, I didn’t back out.
30th AG. What sick bastard created this place? We the new recruits eager to serve would spend our days standing in line at parade rest, or sitting, or doing any combo of mundane paperwork to be in-processed. Finally, the day came that our Drill Sergeants came to receive us. Packed into cattle trucks, we were greeted by Drill Sergeants yelling at us to get the fuck out and up this big ass hill with all of our bags. Haha it was our version of D Day! Like fucking nerds, we took off to take the hill. Running clumsily and as fast as I possibly could, I hit a tall lanky drill who catches up to me and proceeds to chew me out. I respond yes Drill Sergeant and laugh my ass of as I run up the hill. I’m going to be a commando, fuck this guy he doesn’t scare me. Boy was I wrong about my future!
As it turned out I was not in as good of shape as I thought, & I couldn’t keep my SF contract. Damn, 2nd time I had lost out on being Special Operations, and this time it was my fault. I was disgusted with myself for not working as hard as I knew I should have. I mean come on, a 240 PT score…You guys reading this can do that shit hungover/still drunk. Talk about bitch made. Undeterred, I told myself to keep at it.
After basic, the Army flew me out to Ft. Drum NY. New York, that’s pretty cool I thought! Jokes on you, Fort Drum is at the top most portion of the state, and about as opposite as one can get from NYC. I in-process, and they assign me to the 1st Brigade S-3 shop. Admin and busy work, not the hardcore infantry shit I expected. I was disappointed, but what I never admitted to anyone was that I kind of liked it. Why? Because I didn’t freeze my ass off in negative temperatures for weeks on end. I know, your thinking fuck this pussy! Yea well fuck you too, I hate being cold and if you don’t you’re a fucking liar. On top of that, after everything was done, no one fucked with a lowly PFC at Brigade. Which meant I generally got off work early and had the freedom to do what I wanted.
Despite this sham life, I still had a mission. Sure, the daily afternoon booze fest’s and all-night barracks raves were fun, but I knew deep down there was more to the military then this. So, after returning from an NTC rotation, I grabbed my cojones and went to the SF recruiting station. A non descriptive trailer on the old post side, it was easy to miss were it not for the giant Special Forces tab over the rope climb behind it. I walked in, listened to the brief, and when the lights came back on, the recruiter asks the room “So, who’s ready to sign up right now for selection?”