Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today I went off to basic training ...

and my whole life changed.  I remember standing in my recruiters office with my parents and my sisters holding back tears and hoping that the next six months would go by as fast as possible. 

I remember sitting on that air plane reading The Great Gatsby and not paying attention to a single word I read.  I was so nervous.  All I could think about was getting there and failing.  I will never forget getting off that bus and standing in formation with my bag.  I felt lost.  Out of place.  Awkward.  I was sure that I had made some kind of mistake.

But sure enough, as the days passed by and the waking up at 04 got easier, I became more and more confident.  I wasn't afraid to talk to Drill Sergeants and I really wasn't feeling any fear at all anymore.

 A couple weeks had gone by and we had been issued our rifles.  It was like that awkwardness I'd felt in the beginning just started all over again. I swear I couldn't even lock the bolt to the rear.  If you know anything about the M16 you know that isn't hard and it shouldn't have been, but it was for me.  I felt stupid and weak.

After a couple of days of practice though, I was finally comfortable with my weapon.  I mean, they hardly left our hands.  It would have been harder not to get good at handling my weapon.

So that was good.  I was feeling good.  I was getting to know the people around me and I was totally ready to kill it.  Then PT started.  Of course, we were doing PT all the time when someone did something wrong or not fast enough or not good enough, but it was much different when we started the real stuff.  PT wasn't really all that hard.  I sucked at push-ups but I was getting better.  I wasn't great at running, but it wasn't killing me, but every day it was cold and windy.  I was getting sicker every day and my entire battery seemed to be screwing up more and more.

But eventually it all just...started to get easier.  The ruck marching didn't hurt so bad and the packs seemed to get lighter.  My PT score soared from a failing 170 to 260.  We did our 16k ruck march and it was finally time for graduation.  I was told by the battery's XO that I was getting promoted.  My family was coming to graduation, I'd found an amazing friend in my bunk mate, and I'd finally made it through some of the hardest days of my life.

My whole family was there at graduation including my brand new niece who's birth I happened to miss in my absence.  That reunion was one that I will truly never forget.  I have never been so happy to see my family in my life.  And after family day and graduation, we said our goodbyes and I headed off to AIT.

AIT was a whole new set of challenges that made my life...interesting, but it was all a completely life changing experience.  I know that without those nights I sat up tearfully reading about my nieces birth, and without those days that I spent at sick call because I'd sprained my ankle, and without those days of feeling on top of the world I would be a completely different person.  I am so happy that I made the decision to join the Army.  It was a life changing experience that continues to enrich my life.  I love being in the Army and I hope that many others can find joy in their service.

Happy Army Birthday to me!


Jen said...

It's amazing how things change!

Katie said...

It really is amazing! I'm so happy I made that decision 3 years ago to join the Army. It brought me so many wonderful things.

Ashley said...

Wow! I can't believe that was 2 years ago! Happy Army Birthday!

Lauren Coburn said...

happy army birthday! :o)

MeandMySoldierMan said...

Happy Belated Army Birthday!

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