“For every member of the armed forces, there are 200 civilians.  0.5% of the population of America is all that volunteers to defend its borders.” After being deployed in support of Operation New Dawn in Iraq, I have finally returned home.  But before Uncle Sam lets us go, they must first “demobilize” us. Basically, they […]

The Chamber

Chapter 15: Trust your Gas Mask “After today, you will love your gas mask.” One of the requirements in order to graduate basic training was to go through a gas chamber exercise.  This exercise was necessary in order to build trust between you and your equipment. So on a glorious morning, we marched out to […]

The Range

Chapter 14: The Fundamentals of Marksmanship “Learn to take care of your weapon, and it will take care of you.” Many people wonder what its like to shoot an M16.  Well, to tell you the truth, it’s a peashooter.  As long as you’re holding it properly, there is very little recoil.  Let’s get down to […]

The Divorce

Chapter 13: Another Regret “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi When you initially enter the Army, you have to go through two phases of training.  First, there is Basic Training, which is approximately 10 weeks.  Next, is Advanced Individual Training, which is usually known as AIT.  […]

The Entertainment

Chapter 12:  Texas Hold’em “From this day on there will be no more cell phones, movies, internet, dirty magazines, newspapers, junk food, playing cards…or any other contraband.  Welcome to hell, boys.” During basic training, we had very few ways to entertain ourselves.  But one day, someone managed to smuggle in a deck of cards through […]

The Food

Chapter 11: Vegetarian in the Army? “Smart, great at PT, decent shot, your only downfall is that you don’t eat meat.” – Drill Sergeant Duffy Many people often ask me what I eat since I’m a vegetarian.  They couldn’t fathom the idea of being one.  Have they ever considered my circumstances in the Army as […]

The Return

Chapter 10: Home Sweet Home “You are now released from active duty.  Go home until Uncle Sam calls upon you again.” I left home on Monday, January 5th, 2009.  I had just completed my first semester at Stony Brook – I filled out a military leave of absence form and submitted it to the registrar.  […]

The Lightweight

Chapter 9: Hand to Hand Combat “This is no cake-walk.  This might end up saving your life.” Halfway into basic training, we began a series of training called “combatives”. Combatives is the Army’s form of mixed-martial arts.  It combines the arts of Brazilian Jujitsu and other various fighting forms to prepare soldiers for hand to […]

The Gate

Chapter 8: Insomnia “Every action has consequences.  Every failure to act has consequences.” A platoon of us were standing outside at 2145.  We were now working “overtime”.  Too bad you don’t get extra pay, just extra work. We all had our weapons ready, locked and loaded with a 30 round magazine.  I hadn’t slept in […]

The March

Chapter 7: Are we there yet? “Oh I wonder what she’s doing now.  As we march all day, and we march all night, singing the same sad songs.  Oh I wanna go home.” – Marching Cadence The final stage of basic training was Victory Forge, an 8 day field training exercise (FTX).  In order to […]