Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Past Steps: Recruitment

This one was hard for me to write. Im not sure how to convey all this into words, so i appologize if this does not make sense.

On January 3rd 2010 i enrolled into the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) for the United States Marine Corps, with a ship-out date of August 20th.

Part of being in DEP is doing group PT to 'get you ready for boot camp'. What its really for is getting your fat ass to pass the IST. Over the next few months i was a machine. I worked out, i ran, i did pull ups, i ate healthy. I also started to gain some disipline. However sometimes i had to work late and would miss PT. My favorite was when i finally was allowed to lead PT. We did hard workouts and went home sore as balls. For the first time in my life i really felt like i belonged. I loved every second of it. The people were awsome. Even the people i hated and got me in trouble were cool as hell.

It just kept going, week after week, month after month, pool function after pool function. In july, my buddies from highschool decided an ireland trip was needed, and so they paid for my airfare and my hotel, and paid for some food and drinks. It was an amazing trip, i have never felt so fat in my life and never realized drinking with breakfast was normal. When i got back from Ireland, i found out i was getting laid off from work, which was fine as i was leaving soon anyway. I packed up all my stuff in my truck and drove from Miami to Durham to drop it all off with my sister. Then i came back to Miami and shipped to bootcamp.

August 20th i formally enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I shipped to MCRD Parris Island that day.

It was the single scariest moment of my life. Standing on yellow footprints outside the massive (looking) brick building. Amazed at what i was doing, and how my life was going to change. The next 72 hours were a blur. We were kept from sleeping to adjust our sleep clocks in line with what the USMC wanted of us. We cleaned our squad bay. made our racks and i remember the first shower i had in 3 days, granted was only 4 minutes long but it was the most glorious 4 minutes of my life. Processing week is what processing week is, bullshit paperwork followed by more bullshit paperwork followed by more bullshit tests. The friday after i got on the island forming started. We met our drill instructors and thats when fear set in. I have to say for a Drill Instructor team, mine was not that bad. Our senior was awesome, our 2 'kill hats' were the devil and our actual instructor was fairly patient compared to others.

I was recruit 33. My rifle number was 19211014. My lock combination was 22-32-10.

In training week 1 i was Second Squad leader. That same week I lost a recruit to dehydration on the PT field. His heart boiled while he ran. His final core temp was 115ish. That afternoon the whole platoon drank 4 canteens or until we puked. We were then given a gatorade to have on our footlockers for the night to replenish the salts we needed. I had firewatch that night.

1 week into recruit training in the USMC and already i allowed one of my men to die under my watch. It was heartbreaking to me. I questioned time and time again during my 2 hours of firewatch (i was being punished and rightly so) what my future in the USMC would be. Did i even deserve to wear the uniform. My constitution was shaken and i dont think it ever recovered.

The next week was me always on the quarterdeck and sandpit. Again, deservedly. During morning cleanup i made the entire squad drink at least 1 canteen. Any time i was allowed to do something with my squad they were drinking a canteen. I think my squad was the only squad to drink the 7-10 canteens they needed.

The friday following we had PT. It was hard, but i was with senior as he liked working with second squad (he also did not trust me to make sure my squad was drinking water). We were doing the Gunnies Cycle and we got to burpie pullups. My body was killing me from the quarter deck and the sandpit. I went to do them trying to be big and bad and it happened. I jupmped up to grab the bar, my right arm caught it, my left arm didnt and my shoulder pulled out. I fell off the bar and screamed fuck. Then i tried to get the guy next to me to pop my shoulder back in place. He couldnt do it. By then senior had seen and came over and i knew my career with the USMC was over. Done. And i was right. I was done.

I was in Branch Medical in 10 minutes. My shoulder was reset and i had a medboard the very same day.

I entered RSP that monday. I was gone by the following tuesday.

I spent 1 full month in the United States Marine Corps. I learned alot of things while i was there. But im not sure if it was good for me in the long run. I know i miss it and if i ever had another chance, i would most likely join again.

I feel that i failed everyone at the same time. My mother has had to let me back into her house. My father and mother have to support me and now i cant even find a job to earn my keep.

I have no real idea how to deal with this. Its been 8 months, but still dont know how to feel about all this. I ignore it most of the time to get through daily life, but i miss it so bad. I miss the structure, i miss the not worrying about bills and food. I miss the life. Most of all i miss my buddies. They have all gone on to job training, to deployments and they tell me i was lucky. But all i want is to be where they are, doing what they are doing fighting for me and my way of life, but instead im here doing nothing while they fight and die.

i feel worthless. Discarded. Used.

And the worst part is, this time i did it to myself.


Anonymous said...

sweetheart, don't do this to yourself. it has nothing to do with the value you place on yourself, your relations with your family, or your desire to serve this nation. your shoulder popped out. there was not a thing in the world you could do about that. at all. you cannot and must not let this define you, because there is not way that it does. your are still a man who was willing to serve, and you will someday make yourself and probably someone else very happy. again, do not let this one event define you. from what i see and read, there is no way it could.

Kenneth said...

I don't know why I feel the need to comment twice in a 5 min. span, but I can tell you that I went through something very similar. I had what I think of as my year from hell. Family issues, finishing school issues, loss of a job, and some other hard core things. I'm still dealing with all the repercussions. You just need to move forward even if in the smallest ways. I am 100% that one day-maybe not for some time, you'll understand why things unfolded this way, and you'll be ok with it all. ...just as I am sure you will appreciate philosophy.