For several years I have noticed that what Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has said is true, there is a gap between civilians and military where some things about the service are not understood by the average American. I believe this has been going on for several years so I have decided after much time considering to write about my time serving in the United States Army, some of this you may know but some you may not.
Basic facts about my service.
I was born in Brooklyn, NY and lived most of my life, including now, in Staten Island, NY. I worked for several years in the commodities market plus some shorter jobs such as warehousing, brokerage and car service.
I was in the United States Army from January, 1995 to January 1999. I spent January-March, 1995 in Reception and Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. One thing I did not know, before Basic they hold you in a place called Reception that can last from a few days to about a week. During this time you get “Inprocessed” by having measurements taken for clothing and gear plus initial work started for administrative and medical purposes.
My Advanced Training was March-July, 1995 at Fort Gordon, Georgia; the rest of my time was mainly Fort Hood, Texas with a couple of 1 month deployments to Fort Bliss, Texas and Fort Polk, Louisiana. I learned this is actually a rare occurrence, usually the service sends you overseas for part of your first enlistment, in my work this usually meant Korea for one year though there were some who served in Germany for two.
The military term for my job was Network Switching Systems Operator / Maintainer, can be covered by a few different civilian equivalents. Basically it falls under the Telecommunications field though some skills can convert to other job fields. One of the hardest things servicemen have had to do since the 1990s if not earlier is figure out how to have civilian life understand what the civilian equivalent of his/her military service is.
I only received four ribbons during my service, the National Defense Service and Army Service that are received when leaving training, an Army Achievement for something connected to the deployment at Fort Bliss and a Good Conduct for years in service with no problems.
I guess that is enough to cover the basics for now.