Yes, I served. I enlisted in the Navy when things weren’t going so well for me. It was a bit of a whim decision, but one I don’t regret at all. They fixed me up in more ways than one.
My time was pretty uninteresting. I never went to sea. I served in Goose Creek, SC for a little over a year. My biggest highlight was getting injured during training and spending about 7 months on medical hold waiting for the results of a physical evaluation board. Eventually I was discharged honorably to my great relief.
Boot camp was absolutely horrible for me. For some of the guys who were in better shape, I think it seemed a bit of a joke. Not for me, though. I dropped from about 230lbs to 170lbs in those three months. It’s also where I broke both tibias, torn my ACL and meniscus. The docs gave me motrin and told me to drink more water. Take that as a lesson, NFL players.
Anyway, my service was pretty unremarkable, but I was there. The time I spent in South Carolina after basic training was pretty great. My short time in A-School introduced me to some wonderful new friends, and studying to be a Nuclear Engineer was pretty awesome. Wearing my uniform to my sister’s wedding was incredible, too. It was all the joys and none of the danger, I suppose.
These days, I still collect my disability from the VA and I’m a member of the American Legion. Would I have died for my country? I never had the opportunity to find out for real, but the pride I felt at basic training graduation still lingers with me. I like to think I’d have kept with my oath in times of trouble, but we really never know until the moment happens. Anyway…
To all those out there who served quietly like I did, and to those who really carry the burden of military service, and especially to those who didn’t make it back, have a happy Veteran’s Day, and thank you all.