"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Soldiering Life

There's some interesting stuff going on over at Chris Murray's Texfiles. I'll offer my own story here.

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I was in the U.S. Navy from November 1990 to October 1994. I was honorably discharged as a 2nd Class Petty Officer, a Yeoman. That's "secretary" to all y'all non-Naval types. My monthly salary upon discharge was slightly more than what I make now--12 years later.

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Did I experience hazing? Yes. I also watched my Company Commanders (what the rest of the military calls "Drill Sergeants") abuse other recruits much more severely than I was abused. I later learned, after boot camp, that my experiences were not generally shared by others who went through training under different leadership at approximately the same time. My Company Commanders were particularly abusive.

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One was a 28 year old First Class aviation mechanic. I don't remember his name, but I recall that he liked to play Motley Crue and AC/DC while we did pushups and other calisthenics. He was particularly verbally abusive. He loved to call us "faggot" and "pussy"--it was kind of like being back in middle school. Sadly, I don't remember his name.

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I do remember Senior Chief Boatswain's Mate Timothy Tuzicka. At 34 years old, he looked about 54. He was a mean son of a bitch. On Christmas Eve, 1990, the whole company was being punished for doing poorly in a recent inspection. We spent the entire day inside our cramped, sweaty barracks, folding and refolding clothes, making beds, and holding mock inspections. I managed to miss a crease when folding my seabag and was ordered by Senior Chief Tuzicka to place it over my head and walk up and down the barracks (blind) shouting aloud "I am a big green dildo. I am a moron. Look at me, I can't fold my seabag." This went on for ten or fifteen minutes before I collapsed. Luckily, a fellow recruit caught me before my head could hit the concrete. My extremities were completly numb. I couldn't walk and I couldn't make a fist or extend my fingers. I was dizzy, had the chills, and was frankly rather terrified. Senior Chief Tuzicka looked very worried and offered me a half-assed apology/threat along the lines of "I went too far--don't report this or I'll go further next time." I didn't report it.

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Merry Christmas!

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There are more stories.

9 comments:

3LeggedCat said...

My bootcamp was ever so easy. One CC was lazy and did not care and the other guy's wife had a baby half way through bootcamp and I hardly ever had to deal with him after that. Heck, I even met a woman in bootcamp and had relations with her.

Justin Evans said...

I was in the army from 1988-1992. Maybe we should trade notes on crazy stories some time.

shanna said...

whoa.

CLAY BANES said...

i was drafted into the united states air force and served 20 years, 1987-1991. i hated it. ostensibly to get money for college, which my people believed in. my people knew jack.

i worked as an auditor and was sent to west germany to win the cold war.

when i first got to the dorm (which the air force insisted on calling the barracks), word went around on my floor that i was gay, because when my things had arrived, my possessions, i had about five boxes of books. i commenced drinking.

about four months later i began taking university classes at night and started dating an attractive woman who worked as a registrar for the university—the separated, soon-to-be-divorced wife of an army captain. she wore a nose ring. when she started sleeping over with me in the dormitory, talk about me apparently changed. only one or two people had ever or did ever say anything to me directly. but where we'd stand in line and the row of sinks and mirrors each morning, all shaving—people used to avoid me and say nothing, but now they'd say things like 'hey banes' and smile but i said nothing back. about two months later my girlfriend and i moved out and got a flat. people just talked like that. said 'flat' which sounds pretentious but there it wasn't, just natural, the coin, living on the continent and mingling or semi-mingling with europeans.

i took classes throughout my years in the military, all of them in west germany. i maintained a 4.0; i took my SATs for the first time, 1650, and ultimately near bothered finishing college.

we won the cold war.

Tony said...

Well, okay then!

This stuff gets weird if you let it.

Tony said...

I thought SATs topped out at 1600....

CLAY BANES said...

oh yeah, you're right: it was 1450.

i got lost in a reverie speedily typing about my uncle sam days, lost days i hardly can remember and nearly never get to talk about, because no one believes me.

thanks for the opportunity. um, to confess.

if i took the test now i'd probably score about 1000.

Tony said...

Clay,

Hey--I got confused when I read your post the first time. Didn't mean to dismiss it.

Anyway--yeah, I took the SATs once...in like, 7th grade. I scored pretty low, but I was, like, 12.

Vick-a-roni said...

Funny I am pretty sure that you are talking about my Uncle here. Small world