NaBloPoMo – Nov 10th

On this Veteran’s Day Eve (and free writing post day), I decided to steal a writing prompt for BlogHer and answer this question:

Are you part of the armed forces?  What moved you to sign up for the military?

I am. I’m currently Active Duty Coast Guard. I’ve been active duty for over 13 yrs, having reported to boot camp on Aug 08, 2000. I left 2 months after I graduated from high school.

Why I joined? Well, that’s an interesting tale.

I didn’t take an easy road, growing up. I was in The Sibling’s shadow and my mother flat out said there was no money for me to go to college. I figured. There wasn’t too much investment made into me. I understand why. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn’t want to work towards any goals. I just wanted to survive high school.

I found out about the money situation around Oct of my senior year of high school, around the time all my friends were finalizing their applications and getting ready for acceptance/rejection letters. I was out with friends and we were, umm, not really unimpaired and we ended up watching WWE (wrestling). I saw a commercial for the US Coast Guard. I saw little boats, racing through the water, people dropping out of helicopters, big boats coming to the aid of others. I thought – Shit, I want to do that! So I sobered up and I contacted a recruiter soon after that.

I entered the DEP (delayed entry program) in April of 2000, signed my contracts (had to ask my mother to sign since I was still only 17), and I set up my date. I left 2 months later.

Since being in, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown up. This experience has taught me that there is more to the world that my small hometown. Sure, I liked living there and all but I was excited to leave. I was excited to get out of people’s shadows and to make a living on my own.

Having been in for 13 yrs, experiencing many migrant interdiction cases, seeing dead bodies, experiencing 9/11, and moving around the country, I’ve learned that I’m a part of something that is bigger than me. I’m a part of an operation that is around for the better of the country and, in some cases, the world. We’ve been a part of training operations with other countries and have seen some fantastic sights. My only regret: not moving around more.

I plan to retire when I hit my 20 yrs (2020, funnily enough) and I hope to land a job as a wedding/event planner with a hotel chain, or even start my own business. I still have some time to work on my master post-service plan but hey, I’m just living the dream until then 😉

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