United States Army
Active Duty 1984 - 1985

My time in the Army...

After taking the exam and making really high scores, I turned down Officer Candidate School (OCS) because I didn't want to make the long term commitment required. I signed up for two years active duty. I wanted to go to language school but they required more than a two year hitch for that. The two year enlistment was available only to certain Military Occupational Specialties (MOS).

"I chose 76Y, Supply Clerk/Unit Armorer."

I processed in, in Montgomery, Alabama, went to Ft. Dix, New Jersey for Basic Combat Training (ten weeks at the time, I think they later reduced it to just eight weeks). From New Jersey I went to Ft. Lee in Petersburg, Virginia to school. I enjoyed my stay in Virginia. From Virginia I went to Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado for my permanent duty station.

All of my classmates and I were on pins and needles to see which permanent duty station we would draw. They had allowed me to list three preferences with no assurance that I would draw any of them and I didn't, but I was pleased with my assignment.

Reforger (Return of Forces to Germany) 85 and Operation Central Guardian was an exercise where we deployed to Germany for war games. These photos were taken in Germany during January and February 1985.

Advanced Individual Training (AIT)

Summer of 1984 in Petersburg, Virginia

Regrettably, I can't recall my classmate's name that I'm having a beer with, but I can tell you what song was playing on the juke box.

"Jump by Van Halen. I heard it 30,000 times in 3 months!"

Army Airborne Parachute Riggers (92R), Air Force (AFSC 2T2/1P0/1A2/1A9X1) and Marine Airborne and Air Delivery Specialists (0451) all go to school there. "Might as well jump!" "Go ahead and jump!" Nobody would dare put money in the juke box because they knew Jump had already been paid for so many times that you would be waiting until next Tuesday to hear anything else.

When I arrived at Carson along with a pretty large group of "newbies", we were all on pins and needles again, waiting to learn what unit we would be assigned to. With a Military Occupational Specialty of 76Y you could be assigned to any unit! I drew the 461st Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Unit and was attached to Delta Company, a Chapperal unit. All the talk was about "range time". Some units spend more time down range than others, playing war games. Some units never go down range, I wasn't that lucky this time.

The crisp, clean mountain air was nice and I had escaped from the never-ending Jump by Van Halen.

two soldiers having a beer
Me and a classmate at Fort Lee 1984

To this day, thirty-six years later, the words to that song are ingrained in me from that experience long ago.

"I get up
And nothin' gets me down
You got it tough
I've seen the toughest around
And I know baby just how you feel
You got to roll with the punches to get to what's real"

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