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Why I Joined The Military
Why I Joined The Military
Once upon a time in my life I was at a crossroads. The path of my life forked, giving me two different options for my future. The choice was not as simple as sometimes is the case. On one hand I would stay in North Idaho and never really experience the world, while on the other hand I would see the world and acquire a marketable skill. At the time I already had one marketable skill—welding, but how far could I go with that and how much money could I earn doing that.
Staying in North Idaho
North Idaho is some of the most beautiful country one could ever hope to lay their eyes upon. In an area that is surrounded by majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and pure mountain air is the serene beauty of my original home. Growing up in this environment has made me who I am today, so how could I leave it behind? All of my family lives here and choosing the military would virtually guarantee the inevitable abandonment of my family. On the other hand if I left to build a life for myself there was nothing saying that I couldn’t come home for a visit.
I had at the time already built a life for me and my family while working as a welder at a few places. My oldest daughter was three and my youngest was just recently born so I chose to stay in North Idaho. I would continue to live out my life with my family and be perfectly content. Then I got laid off from my welding job. A month and a half later the towers were destroyed by a terrorist attack on U.S soil. Out of work and desperate was one thing, patriotism was another.
Joining the Military
My father was a retired U.S. Navy senior chief and had plenty of advice for me while I decided on a career path. The truth I sought from my father because he would not lie to me to get me to join the military, he had nothing to gain of it. I decided that I would go see the recruiters the next day. So one month after the towers fell I went to the recruiting station to speak to the Navy recruiters.
As I entered the recruiter station, the Navy wasn’t there. My second choice, the Air Force wasn’t there either. The Marines, the Coast Guard, and the Army were there though. I walked into the Army recruiter’s office, the excitement was in their eyes and I knew then that I would go in. After speaking to them for about half an hour I learned that I could choose from 215 different jobs and I could also choose a duty station, plus they were offering a fifteen thousand dollar enlistment bonus. I bought the sales pitch, and promised to return later on with my wife so we could make a joint decision.
That night I talked with my wife about possible job options and the possibility of going to war. I was very naïve about the whole war thing at the time but whatever. We later returned to the recruiter station and talked about my options, and when I would leave to find out what my actual job would be.
I left on a Friday to the MEPS station, there I would get the entrance physical exam and I would take the job placement test (ASVAB). After taking the ASVAB I spoke to the career counselor about jobs, to which he laid out about fifteen that I could do. I chose to be a tank mechanic, so I said so and got a ship out date for November 16th of the same year. All in all I would have to say it was a good choice.
Why Did I Join
I sometimes wonder to myself why I joined. I think the best way to sum it up is to reflect on the circumstances of the time. I was out of work and needed an income. The World Trade Center had just been attacked by terrorists and the military increased their promotion. I needed a change of pace for my life.
I did not want to go to war and I sure as hell never wanted to leave my family behind for a year at a time. The military and especially the Army solved a couple of problems for me that no other job could have. I also believe that even though we are at war now one day the wars will end and normalcy can continue. Hopefully when that happens I can try to rebuild everything the war has destroyed in my life as well. In conclusion, I am glad that I decided to join the Army and I am also glad that my wife allowed me to join.