My military career requires your insight 👌

tquig01

TJ Enthusiast
Mar 12, 2018
339
Brewerton, NY, USA
Interesting story, I got to hang out with some Canadian infantry dudes in Afghanistan. You fellas talk silly, but super nice.
I had the option to be a tanker, nope, I'll take my chances walking...however, it would have been nice to have a vehicle to carry all my crap around rather than my knees and back.
I also trained with some at Ft. Drum. As a 12B (one "smarter" than an 11B) I had the pleasure? of being assigned to both mech and light infantry units during my 14yrs. Each had its perks, worked with some of the best people I will ever meet.
 

S.McArthur

TJ Enthusiast
May 31, 2018
298
Greenbrier, TN
This thread should be all of our recollection of military memories we feel like sharing. Shit I’ve got a few LOL
Most people want to know about combat experiences, but damn, barracks parties, nights out hogging, training was where I have the best memories. The shear stupidity of young men full of rage and alcohol, yet, here we are, still kicking.

I really miss that part of the Army, you get super close to people.
 
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wigsajumper

New Member
Sep 17, 2017
19
Maine, United States
And where is the rest? 8 years Army here. 31C/33W got out because I got bored. Would be retiring this Spring. Spent most of my time either in 82nd or 101st. I actually enjoyed my time, probably would have stayed in if I hadn't met my wife (the second one.)

So from a Squishie lets hear the rest of the story.
 
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tquig01

TJ Enthusiast
Mar 12, 2018
339
Brewerton, NY, USA
Most people want to know about combat experiences, but damn, barracks parties, nights out hogging, training was where I have the best memories. The shear stupidity of young men full of rage and alcohol, yet, here we are, still kicking.
It always amazed me that we could come in from the field, dragging-ass and were ready to go out on the town after a quick bite and a shower, just looking for booze, women and trouble, in no particular order.

I really miss that part of the Army, you get super close to people.
Been out for 16 yrs and my two best friends are a couple of rangers I served with. We are all old and broke, but the memories are still strong!
 
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Wildman

Over Analizer Extraordinaire...............
Supporting Member
Dec 12, 2015
292
In the hills of WA
I wouldn't trade my years in the Army for anything. Yes I bitched about training and going to the field just like everyone but MAN did I have some fun. Spent 6 years total in Germany, 18 months in Korea, 3 years in Alaska, 1 year @ Ft Lewis, WA and 3 years at APG, MD as a Cadre of the NCO Academy. And 2 months Kuwait and then 6 months in Iraq before I got lead poisoning. Plus some short stops in a lot of other countries that we don't need to talk about.
I was single for my first 6 years in the Army and boy did we have fun.

Would I wish my injury on anyone? Nope but life goes on and you drive on. Can't let things get in the way of life.
 

BuildBreakRepeat

Garrett Hoover
Supporting Member
Jan 21, 2019
184
Corvallis, Oregon
Bitching about everything with your buddies is honestly what made us so close. Doing impossible shit every day with your friends and then laughing about it at night over beers is something I’ll always cherish. Never forget the day we saw SGM with toilet paper on his boot walking around the DFAC though :)
 
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OP
Evathetj

Evathetj

Member
Jan 4, 2018
42
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
As someone who served as an 11 Bravo (Infantry) in the U.S. Army attached to a Stryker unit (I'm assuming you know what a Stryker is), I'd love to hear the rest.

I have both fond and miserable memories of the Army.
Amen brother. If I remember right the LAV III and Stryker are near identical save for the turret and electronics.

I spent 28 years in service to my country. I joined the US Army in June 1978 3 months after I had turned 17. I was never very good in high school so I had been kicked out when I was 16. So I joined the Army to get an education. I was a generator mechanic 52D. But once I got into the Army I found I liked it and was even really good at it. I did 14 years 2 months on active duty when after the first Gulf War they decided to reduce the size of the military. So they offered to buy me out and I got off active duty. Spent 18 months in the inactive Reserves and then joined the Oregon National Guard. I was a 19K M1A1 tanker at this point. Spent 3 years shooting tanks and had a blast.
Then I transferred to the Washington National Guard and went back to being a mechanic. That was in 1998. In Aug 2003 my unit got activated to go to Iraq and they made me the 1SG for the Security Company that guarded the main gate of the camp I was on. In Oct 2004 I got shot in the right thigh so my military career was over. In June 2006 I was medically discharged from the Army 10 days shy of 28 years.

I know all about the joys of working on armored vehicles and pulling the pack. Breaking track isn't any fun either. Keep on with your story.
If we ever cross paths we'll have to crush a few beers over stories of retarded commanders/drivers throwing track.

My Dad spent 26 years (if I recall correctly) in the Navy, and retired an E-9 (MCPO). Sometime in 1979, I believe it was, us kids brought home our report cards from school, and as always, we discussed them with our parents. Only this time, my Dad announced that he had a report card, of sorts, that he wanted to discuss with the family. It turns out that he had been recommended for the position of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON). There is only one such position held by an E-9, and they are considered the most senior enlisted member of the U.S. Navy. Dad told us that it was quite an honor, but that he wanted to know how we all felt about moving from Whidbey Island, Washington, to Washington DC for what was a minimum of two years, and a maximum of four years (length of term). We all said that we wanted to stay on Whidbey, to which he also agreed. DC wasn't for him, either. Therefore, he drafted a letter respectfully declining the position. He kept the notification of the recommendation framed and hanging on his wall for years. We were all so proud of him. We lost Dad on April 15, 2012. My brother now has the notification.

I never served, myself, but admire each and every one of you who do, or did. @Evathetj, I really look forward to reading more of your story. Please, do share. Can't wait to see where it goes!
That's an absolutely epic story and I think I speak for everyone here when I say it would be incredible to hear more stories about your Dads career.
You're an excellent writer @Evathetj. It's interesting hearing about the military experiences of our allies. I spent time in the USAF as an aircraft maintainer, and I absolutely loved it (retrospectively anyway)... I was a regular car mechanic for several years right out of highschool, was always a gearhead growing up. I enjoyed working on cars but wanted to take it to another level. So, I joined the Air Force and got a gig working the weapons system on F-16s, and from there messed around with A-10s and F-15s as well. Military flightline maintenance can be a real meat grinder; mechanics are on the hook 24/7, rain or shine, cold or heat... Fixing a jet in the middle of the night on yet another 12 hour shift outside while it's snowing to get it ready for A.M. goes really has a way of motivating you to consider other career paths lol.

Anyway the active duty life is not for everyone, and that included me. But, I leveraged every opportunity afforded to me by signing on the dotted line, got an aerospace engineering degree and now get to play with some of the coolest equipment on the planet. I've also gotten to spend time working with different branches and various foreign partners, and I love seeing how everyone does business in their own way. I have not spent a lot with you Canadian types, though I did once go to Cold Lake for some type of joint exercise. Beautiful country!
Thanks for the compliment. And christ I almost forgot about Cold Lake! Haven't been there in a few years now!
Interesting story, I got to hang out with some Canadian infantry dudes in Afghanistan. You fellas talk silly, but super nice.
I had the option to be a tanker, nope, I'll take my chances walking...however, it would have been nice to have a vehicle to carry all my crap around rather than my knees and back.
'Eh' is something American soldiers always start yelling at me. I just come back with 'y'all' 😉
Just watch... he'll never come back again and finish his story. The ultimate cliffhanger :ROFLMAO:
I'm working on it! A hangry wife makes it hard to break away and write haha
 
OP
Evathetj

Evathetj

Member
Jan 4, 2018
42
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
After much anticipation and excitement the day finally came when it was time to get behind the wheel of the LAV III. The drivers hatch was a monstrosity of steel and bullet proof glass and when closed from inside made me feel like I was hermetically sealed. It was surprisingly quiet and comfortable on-road (I’m sure the noise cancelling headset played a large part) and even though it was 8 wheeled, was maneuverable and predictable.

It wasn’t until I was driving in the off-road training area that I was able to stretch its legs. Having wheeled since I was young helped with the basics obviously; lines, throttle control, etc but one thing it couldn’t prepare me for was…invulnerability. By that I mean the entire vehicle is essentially a skid plate; it took me time to mentally adjust to not having to worry about causing damage to the vehicle, that I had double the amount of traction that I was accustomed to. That’s not to say you couldn’t get stuck (swamps and marshes) but christ…put it in 8x8-LOW and combined with the Caterpillar diesel engine you were a crawling god over anything that the tires could even remotely get a start on.

2 months and hundreds of driving hours later I was very comfortable with the LAV III and after completing other training requirements, graduated from my secondary phase of training. Shortly after I hopped on a plane and flew to the opposite side of the country where I was posted to my new unit. The base was massive compared to what I had experienced at that time although I would later discover that some of the US’s bases were basically their own city and dwarfed ours by comparison.

Reporting to my new unit was surprisingly smooth and pain free. After watching countless war movies where FNG’s are shunned and teased by their peers, I was not expecting the respectful and professional environment that I did. Of course there was ridiculous jokes and chirps on one another but it never went past that. I guess Heartbreak Ridge gave me an old-school outlook of what to expect.

Garrison life was simple enough to succeed at. Between working out for 2 hours in the morning, conducting vehicle maintenance, and staying up to date on basic soldier skills the day to day routine went by quickly. Leaving work and heading home to base shacks (think college dormitory) was a treat too despite what preconceived notion you may hold. All new soldiers were required to live in base shacks for 1 year to become financially responsible…i.e. learn to live like an adult. A lot of recruits had 0 life experience and the military wanted to ensure that they had the tools necessary to not be a financial burden to both themselves and their employer. Exceptions were made for older recruits who didn’t require this.

Our course that had flown in together occupied the same floor of the shacks and since nearly all of us got along like brothers we kept all room doors propped open. People would freely move in and out of your room to offer you a beer, join in on video games, or just shoot the shit. There were huge open pit BBQ’s outside and when coupled with the patio area proved to be a wicked hangout area in the summer months. I can only remember 2 negative experiences about the shacks, the first being waiting for a washer/dryer to free up, and the second being when people began moving out. The group that I lived with on that floor became my family, the family that I came home to everyday. It might seem funny but that was the reality and when that started to fall apart I couldn’t help but feel a little bit saddened.

All part of growing up. I was one of the last to move out and when I did it was with my best friend into a top floor condo that had vaulted ceilings and a wraparound balcony. Remember how I just said we weren’t supposed to be a financial burden? Well, I wasn’t. But we sure as shit spent a lot of money on that rental unit over the next 2 years. The CAF, if I remember correctly, is in the top 3 paying militaries in the world and living comfortably wasn’t out of the question. Of course this being my first “adult” home all logical thinking goes out the window and you go for the best you can afford…just as long as the remaining bills are able to be paid.

“Savings, RRSP’s, overseas vacations? Fuck, I have none of that! But look at this view!”

The work side of things continued to progress well. Like all militaries we conducted exercises throughout the year. We call it “the field.” We head to a massive training area (think thousands of sq km’s) and live and fight as we would in a real-time warzone. It allows us to practice skills ranging from night driving to division level combat team attacks. The time spent there varies based on operational requirements, the shortest being 2.5 weeks and the longest being 7 months. There are large friendly and enemy forces, the latter being able to be “engaged” courtesy of what is essentially laser-tag. For you American vets reading I know you have a system similar to ours, and if it’s anything like ours, leads to levels of frustration that I did not know existed in the human mind.

During field portions we also conducted live fire exercises. Watching a battalion of MBT’s, artillery pieces, and bombers level the ever-living shit out of a grid-square sized area for the first time was mind boggling. The concussive forces resulting from it were otherworldly and put a schoolboy smile on my face. All of my childhood fantasies and questions (“Dad, what would happen if a tank shot Godzilla?”) were coming to play before my eyes. At the end of that field exercise I knew it was time for me to become trained on the Leo 2. I was over the LAV III.

But fate had other plans.

Shortly after returning to garrison life I was ordered to the Sergeant Major’s office, something typically viewed as a negative. A Sergeant Major is the person that the boogie man looks under his bed for when going to sleep. Yes, officers are in charge of squadrons but ask any real soldier and they will tell you the Sergeant Major is the real deal, the muscle behind the orders.

Coming to attention and presenting myself at his door I was relieved he cut me off. “Come on in brother, no need for that horseshit.” After taking a seat in front of his table he calmly told me that I had been selected for a door gunner position, which entailed me being attached posted to an air force unit. The rest of what he said is foggy to me because all that was going through my head was Blackhawk Down. After signing the dotted line I was on my merry-fucking way to said air force unit.

For those reading who haven’t served, I’ll fill you in on something the movies don’t convey. Basic training is the way it is for a variety of reasons. Is measuring your bed sheet with a ruler to the exact centimeter conducive to real life? No. Is doing 100 push-ups while an instructor yells in your face because you missed a literal molecule of dirt in the sole of your parade boots conducive to real life? No. But these things and more are done to put stress on a recruit, to make him/her break. Once broken, the instructor/s are able to “rebuild” the recruit, like the 6 million dollar man but without the robotics or sweet sound effects. By doing this the recruit is able to increase their tolerance to stress and develop effective coping methods which in turn sets them up for success on the battlefield. The training system is not allowed to torture or physically assault recruits so this is the next best thing; giving recruits seemingly near impossible tasks and punishing them when they are unable to complete them. When recruits graduate from all phases of training they are by the book, especially regarding rank structure. “Yes Sergeant, no Sergeant, Thank-You Sergeant.” In real life, that isn’t how things are done. When talking to a superior you use his/her rank once and then talk with them like a human being (unless you’re being jacked up, then stfu).

I swear this ties into my story.

I had been in the CAF 2 years on my first day reporting to the air force unit. I had no direction of how to get to the briefing room. Luckily for me a major was approaching from the hallway. I had my beret/head dress on and when close enough, threw up the high five (salute) with a “Good morning Sir, could you point me in the direction of the briefing room please?”

It was at this moment that I knew this attached posting would be an experience.

“Woah woah woah man, easy on the formalities. You know how I know you’re combat arms? You called me sir. Name’s Ron, how ya doin?”

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a member of the rank police but I am respectful towards it because my job demands it. Yet even I was left speechless by this. At first I assumed this was a type of FNG thing, a joke. It wasn’t.

***I'll try and get the next blurb written by tomorrow
 
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Wildman

Over Analizer Extraordinaire...............
Supporting Member
Dec 12, 2015
292
In the hills of WA
I was attached to a Air Force weather unit my first time in Germany. Talk about a totally different way of doing things compared to the Army. I was on a Army air field so the Air Force supplied weather reports for the air crafts and when we went to the field to all the operating units. Air Force guys don't know how to setup a GP small or GP medium.

Hehehehehe, I was a gunner and then tank commander.
 

Squatch

Master Thread Derailer
Supporting Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,513
Everett, Wash, United States
Dude that is a badass story about your dad!!! What an honor, and what a stand up guy to turn that down for the sake of his family. Speaks volumes about what he really valued.
Thank you so much for the kind words regarding my Dad, @qslim. As the anniversary of his passing approaches, I've been thinking a lot about him. He was a good man, and I miss him...
 
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wigsajumper

New Member
Sep 17, 2017
19
Maine, United States
NTC flashbacks!
NTC Flashbacks. They had the brilliant idea that we were going to Drop into NTC. So first we flew to an airport outside of NTC. Rigged for a jump on the tarmat. Then waited, waited, and waited. Jump got cancelled so then we climbed into trucks and "Dropped" via LMTVs. After that NTC was a blast for me. Was the S3's Driver so spent most of my time driving around his HUMVEE that I prepped out before going. Didn't have to deal with trying to get the NTC motorpool to take it back.
 
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Wildman

Over Analizer Extraordinaire...............
Supporting Member
Dec 12, 2015
292
In the hills of WA
NTC Flashbacks. They had the brilliant idea that we were going to Drop into NTC. So first we flew to an airport outside of NTC. Rigged for a jump on the tarmat. Then waited, waited, and waited. Jump got cancelled so then we climbed into trucks and "Dropped" via LMTVs. After that NTC was a blast for me. Was the S3's Driver so spent most of my time driving around his HUMVEE that I prepped out before going. Didn't have to deal with trying to get the NTC motorpool to take it back.
We went to NTC in 2004 and the jump they did injured over half the unit due to high winds.
This was when MRE's were being tested out. 3 weeks of NOTHING but the first iteration of MRE's. I lost 12 pounds during that time. We had a NO pogybait rule for that trip. 2 guys got Article 15's becaue they got caught with food other than MRE's.
We were out on patrol and found the simulator rounds for the tanks that they used with the MILES gear. Sunk two cases of them home. 4th of July was a BLAST that year...…….... I broke my collar bone too. Didn't notice it til the next day. Way too much beer that night.
 
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Fixer6

TJ Enthusiast
Oct 12, 2018
116
Kingwood
I logged about twenty something jumps into NTC. The ones on the dry lake bed always sucked, so we started sending a couple of guys out ahead of of us to set up “impromptu” dz’s out in the dunes. The powers that be out there hated it. Trying to get a whambulance on site was almost impossible, and they required one be there.
We had to go there to train a round out brigade prior to deploying for DS/DS and somebody put the word out that any woman that was pregnant could not be deployed. There were lines to some involved, and later I heard there were Article 15’s passed out like candy. While training, they were carting out people left and right because of so much time spent in MOPP 4 gear. 120 degrees in the daytime, then maybe 50 at night. Then onto JOTC in beautiful Ft. Polk. Truth be known, I liked it a lot better at Chaffee. The ground was a shit load harder there though.
Good times