Linda Maye Adams

Soldier, Storyteller

The least likely to be in the Army


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A to Z Challenge Participant

I’m participating in the A to Z challenge in April, and I thought I’d have some fun with my time in the military. For a little background, I was in Los Angeles when the Berlin Wall fell, and that instantly killed the aerospace industry. Jobs were not good shape, and I was unemployed. So l looked at the Army, and also wandered into a Navy recruiter’s office.

In hindsight, I was not really a good choice for it. I’m not an athlete, and, in fact, my family has a history of flat feet, which I inherited. It makes doing anything resembling athletic kind of hard. My brother warned me that there would be a lot running and that would be a challenge for those of us with Adams Feet. He was in the Army himself and stationed at White Sands Missile Range. People thought he was always going to fall over when he ran. I was probably worse, and, as I quickly discovered, had no sense of rhythm. And this was actually a bigger deal to the Army!

But a job was a job, so I decided to check it out. I went through Military Entrance Processing Station (the military abbreviates everything in jargon soup, so this becomes MEPS, which is pronounced like it looks). I actually went through twice, because what they do is put you through all the examinations and tests in one day. It’s designed to be an exhausting experience, so by the time you get to the end, you’re ready to sign up. I rebelled against it and refused to sign up. I wanted time to think it over.

But then, I was also not an 18 year old, which probably helped push me to do that. I was 25, which is a huge age difference.

Then I made my mind up, went back through the MEPS again (I think I must have been crazy!), and made the decision to sign up for the Army Reserves. I was still a little wary of making such a huge jump without really knowing anything.

Went through Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (which is training in my military job), and then back to the Reserves in Los Alamitos. I was so buoyed up by the experience that I went active duty and landed in Fort Lewis, Washington.

I stayed at Fort Lewis six years and the unthinkable happened: War started. Then I was off to Desert Shield, and Desert Storm. I returned, and eventually went to a joint service unit in Washington, DC.

When I decided to get out there, the Army was offering a big bonus for getting out three days early (don’t ask; it makes no sense, which is the military way). My choice was to go Ready Reserve or National Guard. This was where I goofed up and needed the extra day. I allowed them to pressure me into NOW and went National Guard. That was not a good place to in, and I got out two months after 911.

So, I still have post slots open. If you have a question about something military, ask away!

Next up will be “the first day of Basic training,” so tune in, same military channel, same military time tomorrow.

17 Comments

  1. Hey! Welcome to the first day of the challenge! This is my first time doing this challenge so I’m very excited. But, I have a question. How did your family react when you wanted to join the service?

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    • My brother and I were the first the family’s recent memory to enlist (we had one WWII vet, and several Civil War and Revolutionary War). My father still recites the story about how the recruiter woed my brother with a meal at Jack in the Box and made him feel wanted. With me, it was more practical: It was a job and a paycheck and that was a fine reason. My mother didn’t really say much — she tended to stay quiet and go along with the flow — but I’m sure she did worry (definitely everyone worried at Desert Storm!). I’m also sure there was a lot of behind the scenes discussion that I didn’t hear!

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  2. It’s incredible where our decisions can take us, a friend talked me out of joining the Reserves when I was young, I wanted to do it for fitness… How did you feel about going to war? I would have been terrified. I’m part of co host Pam’s Unconventional Alliance. Dropping in from the #atozchallenge. Reflex Reactions

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    • I didn’t even think of war when I enlisted. During the early part of the build up, I kept telling myself this whole thing would get settled. As it got closer, we had a sergeant who told us he’d been mobilized, got on the plane, got in the air, and then they turned around and came back. No one actually told us we were going; they didn’t come out and make any announcement. It just became reality, and we all accepted it.

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  3. Nice to get to know of your story. Enjoy A to Z.

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  4. Damn. You went into the any without being athletic? I am more surprised by that than anything else.

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    • It’s not even a friendly environment for an athlete, in my opinion. You don’t train like an athlete does; rather, they’d expect you to push, push, push and just use yourself up.. I’d always see the guys who were 15-20 years in, and they’d have knee and back problems.

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  5. You have my deep admiration and gratitude for serving, and continuing to do so by using your post to help civilians understand what military life is like before, during and after your years of active duty. My observation, as a civilian, is that we are so removed from military families and what they experience while family members are deployed. There is such physical and awareness chasms that I think hurt both civilians and the military. I’m curious to know your thoughts – as both active and National Guard. Are there connections? Are you supported?

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    • I have a friend who’s an actor, and it’s like he and Hollywood live in their own world, and it’s not like the rest of the world. The military is like that, probably due to the unique nature of what they have to do. But it does make it hard for civilians to understand what it’s like and how it can get crazy. There are even chasms between the services (which I will have in the post on April 11).

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      • Hollywood – an odd, but certainly apt analogy about “worlds apart” from the rest of us. I bet there are some good stories about the differences, and disputes, between the services. Look forward to that one.

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  6. First of all, thank you for your service. Secondly, “don’t ask; it makes no sense, which is the military way” ROFL!

    Thanks for this glimpse into how getting into the military goes. I really enjoyed it!

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  7. Hi Linda. A great insight into your work life. The QnA in the comments are just as interesting. Did you have to undergo the same kind of entrace tests as men who aspired to join the army? Looking forward to your next posts.

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Trackbacks

  1. The day I got a red cross message during desert storm | Linda Maye Adams
  2. A to Z Challenge Wrap Up | Linda Maye Adams
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