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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book of Me, Written by Me--Prompt 11: Military

The Book of Me, Written by You is a blogging theme where one can write about their own life using blog themes posted each week. More information can be found at Anglers Rest here.

This week is week 10 and the prompt is Military.

  • Did you join the military
  • Were you encouraged or discouraged?
  • Did a family member?
  • Regular or for a particular incident
  • Did you or your family serve overseas in the line of service either during a war or as a posting?
  • Any thoughts, photographs, memories relevant
I had two close calls to joining the military. At a job fair in my senior year of college, I spoke to a recruiter from the United States Coast Guard. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my very general degree of a BS in Biology. He was looking for graduates who would then go to Officer’s Candidate School and then serve time in the service (the time I don’t remember—this was way back in 1977). I think I let him take my contact information and then I didn’t think about it again. 

I got a job working in the office of a sporting goods store. I didn’t like the job at all but felt a bit stuck there. Well, the recruiter contacted me and I thought, why not? I’d get to see a bit of the world and do something more exciting than counting money and entering data into a computer. Since I didn’t know much about boating, I took a class given by a local Power Squadron group. Then I had an interview with a panel.

The recruiter was shocked when I showed up with a cast on my foot, resulting from a sprain when I tripped on a curb. He tried to take the photo of me without the cast showing (luckily I wore slacks which covered most of the cast). Then I had the interview.

I had been very honest in the interview for the sporting goods job and it got me the job. Being very honest with the Coast Guard interview did not get me a spot at OCS. And I knew it as soon as I walked out of the room. I so wanted to reopen the door and try a “I think I blew it and can I try again.” But I didn’t.

I learned to never say you hate your previous job. I learned to really research what the job entails and to answer questions with those details. I also learned you tend to get things when you really, really want them.

And, I would have never met my husband, Norman.

Flash forward a few years. I’m a train operator now and working a late shift. A regular on Sunday evening was this guy who worked for the San Francisco Muni. We’d talk some and I let him ride in the cab. One day he spoke of his Naval Reserve job.  He was in a unit where he drove trucks and that if one had a background in the field, one would not have to attend basic training. It sounded like fun, so I enquired about joining his unit. This was before women in combat (in the 1980’s). So I went through the application process, took some aptitude test, and had a medical physical (where the doctor informed me I had a heart murmur that I never knew). 

But this was never to be either. I think my friends who I had asked to fill out recommendations never did. Probably just as well. A few years later my two daughters were born and I had a new role to play in life, one I was now very ready for.

Now if I want to involve myself in the military, I just pick up a nice novel and read. Some favorite authors include: Tom Clancy and W.E.B. Griffin.

Family members who did serve in the military:
  • Grandfather, Tom J. Johnston, Jr. in the Navy for a short time in 1944.
  • Grandfather, William Cyril Hork in the Navy, aboard the submarine tender, USS Alert, out of Long Beach, California during WWI
  • 2nd Great-Grandfather, Reuben Mack Johnston, Confederate Army from Texas in the Civil War
  • 3rd Great-Grandfather, George W. Lancaster, 6th Texas Cavalry, Civil War
  • 3rd Great-Grandfather, Benjamin W. Jones, 3rd MS Cavalry State Troops, Co A.


Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

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