The Military

Military… join or get drafted or go to college and still get drafted anyway!  Or.. not pass the physical. See the stories that follow from those who made the most of a stent or two in the military.

I spent 7.5 years in the Navy; 3 years 8 months and 2 days with the Marines as a Corpsman. If I could go back in time,  I would have never left the service.  I made E-5,  and was offered a commission to reenlist.

I did not start medical school until I was 37 years old, and would have been able to go to medical school in the military. So, suffice it to say,  the military offers alot if you’re not stupid like me and able to see the benefit!

Tell us your story and let us hear what you think. I will be adding in more stories here, and some exciting war stories about the Dong Ha Boys!

See comments below from other contributors.

3 thoughts on “The Military

  1. Admin March 10, 2020 / 2:53 am

    Gere Gaige
    Aug 10, 2019

    “Hardly in Harms Way”…. that stolen title is also a good description of my own 1968-1973 USAF fighter pilot career.
    We just reached back to the SC place after spending a month at the AR place – and hosting guests from Russia in July. I don’t have the routine – or the discipline – for the writing regime that you’re doing each morning John, but I am just about reaching a point where I might find some inspiration.

    Your title phrase “…go to college and still get drafted” told my story and the motivation for completing ROTC and effectively being drafted into pilot training. I’m searching for even more inspiration to tell whatever I might know about the MHS swim team years.

    …that title again, mentioned in an earlier post as stolen, comes from a book written by our own Bill German…MHS Class of 61. Bill was a senior swimmer (breaststroke), and captain, on the very first MHS swim team in history when I was an entering sophomore. I was smitten by his younger sister Susan in our class (among other beautiful lasses that commanded attention) and that made me want to be friends with Bill. Besides, he had a car and, since the school district was too cheap to provide transportation for its brand new and untested swim team, I remember him driving me to a swim meet in San Angelo where we beat the more experienced Bobcat team.

    All classmates who remember Bill will not want to miss reading his book published this year – that covers his military career: Hardly in Harm’s Way – the Navy Years. After MHS graduation, brilliant Bill attended Rice University graduating with a degree in architecture – to which after military service he added a master’s degree and parlayed all of that into a career as co-owner of a prominent architectural firm based in Houston and specializing in financial institution design all over the southern U.S.. But he also graduated from Naval ROTC making him a brand new Ensign, U.S. Navy; and with a war going on the architectural career was put on hold.

    The book is an autobiographical memoir of Mr. German’s seven-year career in the Navy, beginning with his attempt at SEAL training, progressing through shipboard duty and on to five years in naval aviation. Whether or not you know Bill, it is a very entertaining read, hilarious in spots and informative on aspects of military service throughout.

    Here is where the story gets creepy. Bill and I met up fifty years after graduation, and forty years after the war ended and our nearly simultaneous departure from the military. We compared notes to find that our careers had been almost parallel, Bill in the Navy, me in the Air Force. Here are the key points that we both passed through at roughly the same time:
    – college ROTC and graduation as officers
    – a year of military flight training
    – pilot graduation to assignments as fighter jet flight instructors
    – base assignments in Texas, with adjacent air space blocks (where we likely anonymously tangled in mock air battles, USAF vs. Navy)
    – exiting the military to a civilian professional career in real estate (him architect, me appraiser), both of us in Houston, Texas.

    We each had the same attitude about leaving the service. Many of our brothers-in-arms (military pilots) went to the reserves and then stood in line to get on with an airline, but not us. Although we both loved flying and had strong feelings and reservations about leaving behind more than five years of committed career building, we both made the clean-break that was rare among our fellow officers. Here is how Bill puts it in the final paragraphs of the book. “Leaving behind the immersion in a critical mission. Separation from all the friends made for life. The sudden feeling of “what is missing?” Where will I experience the uniting pressure of command training, goals and teamwork? It was like having to cut off an arm.”

    Those near panic feelings of loss of a valuable past, and the absolute uncertainty and risk of the future (unemployed), made the decision incredibly difficult, but we both made it the same way, and progressed somehow to satisfactory outcomes. Maybe it was the Midland water.

    Those 50 years of parallel but unconnected careers, including wartime military service but “Hardly In Harm’s Way”, makes us closer friends today.

    I highly recommend the book… don’t miss it.
    about $10 bucks Kindle, $20 bucks paperback

  2. Admin March 10, 2020 / 2:54 am

    John McElligott
    Aug 14, 2019

    I have been trying to get in touch. I need help on the Jimmy Mac trip and party. See RIP. Glad that you did not move back to Russia.

  3. Admin March 10, 2020 / 2:54 am

    Shirley Dorff Sloan
    Aug 14, 2019

    How did you know about my plans to move back to Russia…….even I didn’t know about them!! Perhaps Gere Gage did????? :0) I think tequila might help

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