Monday, May 28, 2012

8 Years

Since it is Memorial Day and this seems to always come up once people find out I was in the Army, I thought I would just share some thoughts on my experiences while I served...
Basic Training:  8 weeks of HELL that I would not want to do again.  There are many misconceptions about what takes place during the training - any stories about violence directed at trainees in the modern Army is not the standard or accepted practice.  Believe it or not, the modern Army is about professionalism and that is what is expected from the complete chain of command.  Back on point, basic training is essentially about testing the limits of the recruits and molding them into soldiers.  The Drill Sergeants DID stress us out and push us to the limits.  War and combat is - regardless of cartoon portrayals - a stressful situation.  When you get to the end of it, the first thought is "Oh, it wasn't that bad" - YES, it  After basic training, there is AIT; the training for your military speciality.  I was at Ft. Leonardwood for a total of 3 months; 1 week in processing, 8 weeks of basic, and 3 weeks of bridge training. 
Ft. Campbell, KY:  Six of us left Ft. Leonardwood after AIT and were assigned to Ft. Campbell.  It was kinda cool knowing that there would be 5 other guys that I already knew there.  Out of all the places I was stationed, Ft. Campbell was my absolute favorite.  It is actually on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee with most of the base being on the Tennessee side.  The only reason Kentucky is associated with the base is that the post office is located on the Kentucky side.  I did several cool things at Ft. Campbell.  I was part of a team that went to West Point and trained cadets, I was also a part of the team that built a Bailey Bridge for the Atlanta Olympics, and there were 5 of us that volunteered to go to Somalia.  Fortunately, the biggest battle we usually fought over there was against the forces of boredom.  There were a few times it could have gotten nasty but it did not.  I was at Ft. Campbell for over 2 years.
Ft. Riley, KS: HELL on Earth.  There is absolutely nothing there at all except flat fields of nothingness between the towns and cities.  The only good thing about being there is that it was just like 4 hours from home.  I was only at Riley for a year.  I got lucky that I missed out on the entire unit going to Bosnia because I was on orders for Korea.  After having been married for a little over a year I was on my way to Korea on an unaccompanied tour. 
Camp LaGuardia, South Korea:  I was not a big fan of South Korea at all.  I was stationed at a small camp that had my unit and the band.  The whole thing was very small.  There was no big PX close by, the movie theatres on base were showing movies that I had seen 8 months ago, I was on the other side of the globe in a land that I just did not care for, and the food was terrible.  I am a pretty boring eater, I admit it, but I just have no desire to eat squid jerky, dog, or whatever the hell else they might try to cook. 
Ft. Hood, TX: It was nice to be back in the states and somewhat close to familiar ground.  Hood is absolutely huge and has two of just about everything - PX, commissary, class six, etc.  By the time I had gotten to Hood, I had a growing desire to get out of the Army.  I showed up everyday with a good attitude and I did my job to the best of my ability but I really just did not want to give up any more of my life.  The re-enlistment guys would bother me periodically but I rode out the last of my time at Ft. Hood and just went home.  I spent almost 3 years at Ft. Hood.

I was in the Army from 1992 to 2000.  I do not have anything bad to say about my experience.  It was just one of those things that turned out to not be my thing.  There is nothing wrong with that.  The only thing I would change is that I would have checked out the recruiters from all four branches to see what they had to offer. 


  1. Your service is greatly appreciated, Mr. Warren.

    Thanks for sharing that.

  2. I hope you hear this all the time...thank you for your service to our country. And I am sure you've heard this many times, but you did something that I don't think I could have done.

    Also, I tagged you for a few awards.

    1. Thanks, Heather! I appreciate it and I have heard that a few times. It's a big adjustment but I think most people could do it.

      Hmmm....awards? What do I do to get them? I like awards :-).