Friday, June 23, 2006

Diggity-Dizzle Two-Four-Tizzle

Well, 8 years ago a friend of mine and I embarked on a little adventure. Here's how it began.

My junior year of college I spent in Japan, and that summer I went to USMC OCS. I didn't really see myself fitting the mold of a USMC occifer, so I did my obligated 7 weeks and hopped on a plane back to Iowa, where I sat around the rest of the summer and drank an unhealthy amount of coca-cola before my senior year started.

Before I knew it, I was getting ready for finals, graduation time was around the corner, and suffice it to say that recruiters weren't banging on my door to headhunt the skills I acquired double majoring in Anthropology and Asian Language and Literature. I thought about teaching English in Japan, though I knew I'd hate it and didn't want to get marooned in the Japanese countryside singing "old McDonald Had a Farm" to a buncha Japanese hilljacks, so I thought of my other alternatives.

Sure, I quit OCS like a big pussy, but I still wanted to be a Marine. Maybe they were right. Maybe I should have stayed there and just finished it, but I was pretty tired of it and I had been back in the USA for 3 weeks before going there. Culture shock. And again, I didn't see how I could be an officer without having spent a single day in the fleet and not knowing my ass from a hole in the ground. But I was still impressed with the enlisted platoon sgts and sgt instructors there. They dazzled me with their professionalism and bearing; they were everything a Marine should be, and I wanted to be like them. I thought about this a lot as I continued my senior year.

As you might already know, I was on the collegiate rowing team and had morning practices. My aforementioned friend, Mr Brando, was working as a waiter and may or may not have been taking classes (I don't remember). The only time we really had to hang out was after he got off work at about 11:30, at which time he would come pick me up, we'd go to Perkins, eat a Tremendous 12, and he'd drive me home at about 2am so I could get a few hours of sleep before practice in the morning (I was cutting weight to be 160lbs in the Spring, so the T-12 was my only caloric indulgence).

Anyway, one night in about April Brando drove up in his truck, I hopped in, and I started a conversation along these lines:

Me: So, hey, I was thinkin. I don't have any job prospects, and, well, you're waitin tables.. You wanna join the Marines? I figured you could go to the reserves, get some money for college, and I could go active. It'll be fun.

Brando: (pause)

Me: (pause)

Brando: You just don't wanna let 'em getcha. You wanna finish what you started.

Me: Maybe. But I thought it would be fun if we both joined.

So we drove to Perkins without saying too much more, went in, and Brando waited in the lobby while I went and took a squirt. I came back and Brando was sittin there, looking at the floor. When I walked up he simply said:

I have butterflies right now just thinkin' about it. I'm gonna do it. Let's do it.

There it was, and Brando started the gears in motion while I finished up school. I guess it wasn't really a hard sell afterall.

The reason I bring this up is because, even though it was "official" at the beginning of the month, today marks my (and Brando's, for that matter) complete separation from the military. While people typically join for 4 or 5 or 6 years or whatever, everyone really joins for 8 That may come as a surprise to some who are poor listeners and like to sign sheets of paper without understanding what things mean, but everyone who joins does it for 8 years. Typically, like when there isn't a war going on, you do your 4 or 5 active years and nothing happens, but if the Uncle Sam wants, he can call you up for those remaining years should he see fit to. During the remaining years of the contract you do not get paid, but then again you have no military obligations. (People like calling this the "backdoor draft", but that's ridiculous. Do people who work over time on salaries call it "slavery"? ...That's a discussion for another time.)

So yeah. If you had a time machine right now and went back 8 years ago and arrived right next to the San Diego Airport, you would find the 2 of us wondering what we'd gotten ourselves into. In any case, maybe joining was a combination of joblessness, "getting back" at the guys at Quantico for making me second guess myself, or whatever, but in any case I don't regret anything I've done since I joined (though admittedly there have been moments where I wondered otherwise), Either way, I can now officially say I've "done my time," and am released from any and all obligations.

So here's the highly anticipated arrival of my updated DD214. Those of you who know what that is, feel free to join in the toast. =)


Blogger brando said...

DD214 was the callsign of one of the Cpls in my plt. I laughed every time he said it over the radio.

4:12 PM  
Blogger brando said...

Hey Paully. This seems like your kind of humor.

It's a good bit of silliness for dd-214 day.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Cory said...

Congratulations marines!

Now you can feel free to get really fat and complain about how kids these days ain't doin' thier part, and tell stories about how when you were active Navy Seals and saved president Bush I from the Koreans in '92 armed with nothing but a combat knife and a belly full of gumption.

DD214 4-evar!

2:06 AM  
Blogger David said...

I always wanted to know how both of you've gotten yourselves into the military.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

that links is labeled "things to do to prepare for deployment to iraq" but its basically the same as a list of things of "things to do to prepare for being on ship".

if you read it as a list of things to prepare to go on ship it makes a lot more sense.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats, gentlemen.

I am proud of you.

3:02 AM  
Blogger Jinxy said...

Cheers to you and Brando.

01/13/94 - 10/31/01

The day that little sheepskin came in the mail was a very happy day.

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the matter Paul? You didn't want to join the proud ranks of Lt. Jason "Babyface" Tarn and Lt. James "Jimmy" Zadrowski? I am jealous of your DD214 status tho... Uncle Sam mailed mine to K-Bay. Yeah. I spent 9 months trying to get an original copy. Still no paper. Oh well...Congrats on your retirement my friend.

PS. I would argue that it is not a misuse of government funds to monitor your girlfriends activity via satellite. The money that was spent to perform this activity does not even compare to umm... vsat terminals running in rooms to provide personal porn'o'rama. Willful destruction of government generators, and operation of a motor vehicle at 90mph while severely impared.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Yeah. I could be like that one officer that was going to charge us for "disrespecting him" when he interrogated us on the lawn outside the bay.

"What are you guys doing?" (suspicious gaze)

I made a promise to myself that if J-Pedacris persued that and actually tried to get us in trouble, I was going to give him an ultimatum:
Drop it or I'll tell your wife you're banging drinky-girls with her grocery money.

"But that's not true."
"Do you think she'll care?"

That's what I'da said. (Even though we all knew it was true anyway.)

...and you're mistaken -- not looking at porn with VSAT (tho everyone did that, but it was ok, cuz it was a huge satellite dish), but INMARSAT RBGAN. And even funnier than that is ... putting a wireless router on it and having 10 people look at porn (when the company is charged by downloaded KBs.) Wasn't the bill like $40,000 for one month?


G'job dyncorp.

Speaking of the RBGAN, remember how smart it made us look? People thought we were wizards and all we did was shoot an azimuth and follow the instructions on the screen.

By the way, I think you shaved about 10 years off of my life in the process of destroying that generator.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha. We looked like Rokit Scientists. It was great. secret network communications platform crashes...all work potentially scrapped...lives put in danger...thank god for RRT ideas. " What about a hotmail chat?"

It was fun when they would watch us put that crap together. They would stare in disbelief as we would make it work, but we had never even touched the stupid thing before.
Step 1. Turn on.
Step 2. Use internet.
In the event of signal collapse, jiggle the antenna.

That and the Generalissimo's aid kept wanting us to unplug the whole wystem so that he could plug in the general's camcorder.

Nothing like sleeping in a truck with good friends, lulled to sleep by the cries of some hot, man-on-man action happening in the tents all around you.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Paul said...


Trouble shooting the RBGAN for dummies:

Step 1: Turn computer off, then on
Step 2: Disconnect components
Step 3: Stare at components suspiciously
Step 4: Blow on them (like an atari cartridge)
Step 5: Reconnect
Step 6: Shoot an azimuth and scratch your head scientifically
Step 7: Re-do the above steps in a different order until it works.

And if that doesn't work, blame someone else. Here are some possible excuses:

o W**S didn't pay their subscription on time
o W**S didn't package it correctly and it was damaged during the ride (not because you were driving like an asshole)
o Just say W**S and that's usually a good enuff answer
o The Nepalese guys were looking at kiddie porn and we got the service yanked
o Sherpa shot it for being smug
o Matt broke it while demonstrating how to gut a catfish

The weird thing is how often it works without having to accuse anyone of pederasty. I seem to remember doing the above steps for about 2 hours and blammo, it worked, which we followed with a dance of joy.

2:14 PM  

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