Friday, November 12, 2010

Letter 1

The following has been copied directly from a hand-written letter. Some sections may be edited, due to personal nature.

"First thing, Tuesday the 26th, I woke up at 0400 at the hotel. I was just numb. I was kind of just existing at that point. I felt like I just was there to ride the ride. Well it's been one helluva ride. MEPS was the typical crap of being treated like a kindergartner, but at 1130 we all finally loaded on a bus to the airport. Our flight was supposed to depart at 1900 but when we checked in at the ticket counter, it was noon, they said they had a flight leaving in a half hour, so we took it.

"Flight was nerve-wracking. The whole time anxiety built up.

"We arrived in Chicago and reported to the USO Lounge. Two hours later and we were taken down to the "pick up" area, basically 100 or so recruits, in the lobby of O'Hare airport. The RDC/Drill dude that showed up was freaky. It all began there.

"At MEPS we were given manila envelopes with our military record. We were instructed to give them to the RDC. Well the "asshole" routine started right there.

"I mean, from that point till now it feels like we haven't been viewed as human... I suppose I knew it would be like that, but physically being exposed to it has been taxing. You ask a legit question and my - well, any one of the RDCs - will say any number of things:

"What do you think, fuck face?"

"You know? You're a real fuckin' idiot."

"Stuff like that...

"We share our compartment, that's basically our room with our racks, with a senior division, 902. I made a friend and he told me: "It's all just a game. You have to turn your head off and just do it."

"I talked to a chaplain yesterday and he said pretty much the same thing, only he divulged more info. (redacted, just in case)

"In-processing was a nightmare, I didn't sleep till Wednesday. And even then I only got 2 hours of sleep Wednesday night. While at in-processing, two RDCs walked into the room where 200-some recruits were being staged and sorted. The first started pulling people with musical ability. I considered raising my hand from my saxophone experience, but I wasn't in the mood, so... After that they started asking for the "smart" people... college, high ASVAB scores. I raised my hand, the RDC checked my record and said: "Okay, you got an 82, go sit over there..."

"Ok...long story short, we - my division 904 - are a "push" division. We are being pushed through Boot in 6 weeks instead of 8 or 9. And we're performing at graduation! We're a flag division, we do a ceremonial show with the state flags. We had our first practice today.

"Being in a push division is just insanity. Everything is rushed. We have to figure a lot out on our own. One problem we have is our division can't follow direction well, nor shut up.

"Boot camp is the most difficult thing I have ever done. It is for sure testing my limits. But being away from you (wife) and the puppies is the hardest. Sometimes I feel it was a mistake. I feel like I abandoned you. Other times I'm motivated to get it done. Other times I just want to give up. I've been thinking and relying more on God (that guy I met is a Christian) and also you're a major motivation for me too. The thought of seeing you on December 17th is pushing me.

"Well, its 2300 right now and reveille is at 0600. I will write more tomorrow!

"Love, Mark"

Monday, October 25, 2010


Aurora, in Latin, means Dawn. Tonight, Monday October 25th, 2010, marks the dawn of a new chapter in our lives. It is 1335 currently and around 2100 I will say goodbye to my wife, sister and our roommate. The last three people to say goodbye to. I was again, trying to think of what this feels like. I told my wife I feel like this whole experience has been like when one decides to be adventurous and go on the big scary ride at the theme park. You see it from a distance and are all pumped up and you march across the park with your chest puffed out, people get in your way and you just blast through because you have business to take care of. Then you get to the queue and suddenly things get real. You want to save face as friends are asking if this was a good idea, but deep down you're like, "Oh Crap I am doing this.". But now you're committed. With us it's a water slide. And now we're both sitting in the rushing water looking down the dark tubes of our slides waiting. Each of the slides twist and turn in different directions and different drops. But, we can't see each other until we come out in the pool at the end.

I guess maybe you had to be one of those kids who gets psyched out from the "Big" rides with scary names like "HELLS HILL" or "BLACK MAMBA'S REVENGE" or "FLESH RIPPER". But once you take the plunge and get through it the Adrenaline rush is awesome.

So here I sit, trying to just relax. My wife is emotional, to be expected. But, for me to see her like that I can't help but feel like I am abandoning her, or hangin her out to dry. I know it's not really like that, but those feelings emerge.

Well, I may or may not have her update this with all the news as she gets my letters or just wait and go through the letters and update all at once. Guess you'll just have to wait and see.

Thank you to all who are and have been reading this. I hope it helps those who are thinking of enlisting or have enlisted and those who have wondered what it's like to enlist or whoever is just plain curious.

Next you actually hear from me and I will be a US Sailor.

Monday, October 18, 2010


This past weekend was the closing of a chapter. I had my last day of work on Friday, October 15th. Then on Saturday I drove down to a good friend's place. Two of my other good friends are room-mates with him so it was *bonus*. We had a mini-LAN party playing Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Then we went to see the movie "RED", came back to his place and cooked two Tombstone pizzas, always a staple for impromptu LAN parties. After we ate, we played more CNC3: KW until 3am.
The thing about my friends is we're all so weird in our own ways. Sean is loud and obnoxious and can't keep his hands to himself. He's always grabbin someone's butt or twisting their nipples... You see he isn't Gay. We have our way of interacting and as odd as it is to outsiders, it's how it rolls. Below all that is true friend though. We both like to enjoy a good cigar with my other good friend, his room-mate and brother, Sam. It's at that time that the calming scent of cigar smoke bends conversation into something more serious and we just relax. Sam is a Psychology major, and has OCD tendencies. However sometimes his room says otherwise. Sean is scatterbrained and one would think his room would look that way. Oh well, maybe he just had a lazy week??? nahhhh... Sam likes zombies, which was one of the things that allowed our friendship to take root. He also likes, as well as I, playing Ultimate Frisbee. Sean, is always molesting him(not in a sick, bad way. But in a figurative way). Sean will come up and try and lick his cheek and Sam, who used to have the look of horror, now just holds him just far enough away and makes noises. But it's all in good fun. Those two, even though they are not true brothers by blood, are "blood" brothers. They are close.

I put this post on hold for a week. Now I am up in Duluth visiting my parents. And am watching this show on Child Beauty Pageants... Those parents are the most selfish and ignorant people... Children are not meant to hold such rigorous schedules and are not meant to be exposed to attention they can't comprehend. They are teaching their kids that beauty is something you can use to get what you want.

I am sure there is some parent out there that will read this and be outraged that I have such strong feelings against this, but I have a solid reasoning behind it. But this blog is about my military career, so why would I write and gripe about what I am watching on TV? Well, this the eve before my last three days before I leave. And I am enjoying just chillin out with my Wife, Mom and Wife's Cousin before I don't see them and sitting here in utter shock at the life that these little girls have to endure just to make their parents happy is nice because I am thankful that my Mom and Dad didn't put my sister through that.

Going into the military knowing that I have a good solid family behind me makes things much easier. I can't imagine going in to the military with no family support. A documentary I watched highlighted a few sailors that had parents that were drug addicts, prostitutes, etc. and I wonder how they deal. I suppose they are so tired of the life their family is living and they figure they just want to start over... I dunno, it will be interesting to meet those sailors and ask.

In keeping with the title of this post, I will close with this. The memories I will get to bring along with me to Boot Camp, at School and on Ship will be what gets me through. In addition creating new ones to share with my wife and future kids.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Time is quickly drawing near. October 26th, 2010. The date I ship out. On the 25th is the day I officially say goodbye to home, to my Wife and my Family. The clock is ever ticking with a near audible effect. And there are times when I am excited. Other times I am terrified of the change. It's hard to fathom that my life is really going this direction. I mean I have had a pretty stable daily/weekly schedule. Five consecutive eight hour days of work followed by a two day weekend. I could pretty much do things how I wanted. Now I have volunteered to put myself in a position where I have no control.

I know that I have not posted much lately but I have been out-of-sorts trying to prepare for this.

My wife will be Head-of-Household meaning she will be responsible for paying the bills and taking care of everything here at home. Plus, work near full-time and have no time to herself to take care of the emotional adjustment... Let's just say, she's my favorite. I am so proud of her.

There is so much we have to try and prepare for and yet we have no idea what is really going to happen. We're just riding the military wave. It's probably like when an astronaut first feels weightlessness. Losing control over the anchor of gravity and having nothing to grasp on to regain some sort of control.

Well I suppose I will update right before I leave.

Monday, August 16, 2010


This is a little belated, but better than never. Wednesday August 4th, 2010: Met with the recruiter again and this time I have all I need to move on to MEPS. We met around 1730 and had to redo all the paperwork. In the military when a candidate meets with a recruiter and the process stops and restarted again after 1 month, they destroy all the previous paperwork because much can change in a month. With me, things changed for the better because I had my Bankruptcy discharge letter in hand. So an hour or so later we had all the paperwork filled out. The recruiter-in-charge (NC1) told me that I could go to MEPS on Monday and Tuesday. Cool. I get a few more days to study for the ASVAB. I had been studying quite a bit thus far, but the more the better.

After the meeting, my wife and I decided to celebrate the step forward and go to Sonic for some burgers. While at Sonic, I called my boss and told him I would not be at work on Monday and Tuesday. 10 minutes later I get a call from NC1. "Hey, can you go to MEPS tomorrow?" He asked. "Sure, but my boss won't be happy about it." I said.

You see, I have been on this track for along time, and at least in the Navy MEPS goes like this: ASVAB, Physical, Job Classifier (meeting where you pick your job and find out your ship date), sign the contract and swear in to DEP (Delayed Entry Program). The key is the Job Classifier. The Navy at this time is well-manned and many jobs are filled or over-manned. So when a recruiter calls and wants you to go to MEPS sooner it's probably because some jobs have opened up. My boss thought they just wanted me to get in quicker to meet a quota, but it is the beginning of the month and being processed on Thursday vs Monday isn't going to make that big of a difference. So, at this point in Navy enlistment, if one wants to just be in the Navy and the recruiter wants you to go to MEPS now, you go. And that's what I did.

I called my boss back and told him the change in schedule, which as I guessed he wasn't happy about. He wanted me to call the recruiter back to see if it could be postponed. I explained as quickly as I could that jobs are open for tomorrow and Friday's processing and I have to go. I called the recruiter back as a formality but I wasn't going to go later, as my future military career could be affected by the job selections. I asked the recruiter what the deal was and it was as I explained above.

Thursday August 5th, 2010.

I had to be to the recruiting station by 1030 to begin to continue more paperwork. This was to revise and make darn sure that everything was accurate. Paperwork was done by 1130 and NC1 told me to go and break for lunch and return around 1345-1400. So I went to Subway and then took a nap in my truck. I returned to the station and my actual recruiter, AO2, arrived. He had to drive 200 miles round trip to get a copy of my High School Transcripts. What a guy. We tinkered with the paperwork some more then the moment I have been waiting for arrived! The trip to MEPS.

When I arrived the first order of business was going through security, no biggie then to the MEPS front desk to check in. I was asked to put most everything I was carrying on me in a locker (backpack, phone etc.). Then AO2 said see ya later and good luck on the ASVAB. Now the ASVAB is something to study for. I think most kids don't realize it but it is a huge factor on their military future. I mean when you go to bootcamp or if you're in the Army or Marines, I know you don't get to select your job you have to make a list of jobs you'd like. Now if you take two younger guys and they each take the ASVAB... One comes out with a modest 60 the other a 45. Now at the time I took it I think the Marines were only taking people with a minimum of 50 or 55. The Army was taking 35 I think. So, one guy 60 the other 45. The guy with 60 we'll say studied or paid attention in school the other just took it and whatever happened, happened. The Marines would probably make the 45er retake, the guy with 60 would keep on going. Now for the sake of argument lets say they're both going Army, and skip ahead to where they talk to their Liaison (the people you talk to at the end of the MEPS experience to find out ship date, job blah blah). Who do you think is most likely to get a decent job? It ain't gonna be the guy with 45...

Studying for the ASVAB is worth it. I studied much. I have been out of High School for 10 years. Besides, I get to select my job. And I feel that even though a Grade E4 Cook and an E4 Machinists Mate make the same, if my score only allowed me a job as a cook...I would be more miserable than the Machinist Mate. So study.

I took a leak before I went in the ASVAB room. But 1/4 the way though I had to go again. The last test I took was Coding Ability. 6 problems in...I couldn't hold it no mo! So I guessed on the remaining 10 or so problems and called it good. I scored an 82! Not BAD!!! I knew I would qualify for some good jobs.

I thought that would be it for the night, but thankfully they decided to get some of our medical stuff done. So we were directed into Medical and got my Vision and Hearing tested then went into another room and did some more paperwork. This saved us much time the following day. The guy was in a bad mood. Understandably, he has to put up with some pretty dumb people day in and day out. Believe me, I saw them and had the wonderful pleasure of interacting with the imbeciles.
After that we checked out, and were filed down to the parking lot where a van that smelled like a bunch of old gym socks pulled up to shuttle us 13 recruit recruits to a hotel that no-kidding was 10 blocks from my apartment. Nothing eventful really happened except that one kid was offering 20 bucks to the guy that could score that night (I could have just called my wife and been 20 bucks richer). I also got him to admit that he smoked pot 2 weeks prior. But, he made it through just fine. It's like "DUDE!!! If that shows up you're wasting MY TIME, the MEPS staff and your Recruiters!" KIDS!!! Do Not Smoke the Marijuana! Your security clearance counts on your being responsible. Security Clearance = More interesting and better Job.

August 6th, 2010

Alarm goes off at 0430. Get up and eat the Continental Breakfast. Coffee = Required (in my opinion)

The bus showed up right on time, 0515. It will leave on time at 0530. Get there or miss it. That bus driver wasn't foolin around. He just checked his watch, got on the bus, closed the door and he was outta there.
Arrived at MEPS. They filed us off the bus. I have watched boot camp videos...Many of them, many many many times. This is a small taste of that. They lined us up and we single-file filed into the MEPS building.

Processing started with a briefing from the MEPS Lieutenant. This guy was extreme to the extreme. His aura was Respect. I liked the guy. He held my attention even though what he was saying was just common sense. There was one kid though who was Mister Non-participate. You see if he asked if we understood we all said "Yes Sir!" in a positive, active and participatory attitude. This idiot just sat there. Now Lieutenant caught this right now and immediately confronted him: "Does your mouth work?" "Yes" "Yes? Around here we respect authority. Yes what?" In a sheepish manner, "Yes sir..." Lieutenant stared at him good and hard then continued with his presentation. It was intense. Later he asked us to state our Name, Service we were enlisting in and the reason. The same kid said "Uh. Marines and uhhh I guess I want to kill people and uhh serve my country..." WHAT??!! Lieutenant asked him if he wanted to kill the good guys or the bad guys, thankfully he said the Good guys but my recruiter was surprised they didn't sent him off to Psych. for a Mental Eval.. So, Medical. This is just a series of hurry up and wait. Nothin special. I breezed though and was done by 0930. From there I was directed to go meet with my Liaison. I took my file and went to the Navy office and they said "Have a seat and we'll call your name." They said they had a conference call to finish. Ok, so I waited there until 1430. I watched 3 movies and ate lunch. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I was antsy and cold. It had to be 60 degrees in that place, I kid you not. So I asked the Processor Woman how things were comin along and she said she was just finishing something up and it would be a few more minutes. So I meandered and just as I was about to pick up a Navy book she came toodling past and said "Don't start reading, Come on in!" She is one of those women where no matter how much stress she has on her plate she always smiles. It made the wait seem like no big deal.

After she reviewed my file and fixed a few errors I met with the Classifier.

I qualified for whatever job I wanted but the bankruptcy affected my security clearance, but only Top Secret. So, I selected from: Sub Yeoman, Mineman, Meteorologist, Mass Communication, Hull Tech Welder, Sonar Technician Surface, Cook (haha)and a few others, but I selected Sonar Tech Surface (STG). After that I was told to run to the front desk because otherwise I couldn't swear in. I ran!

At 1630 I swore in to the US Navy!

Monday, July 26, 2010


Here are some pictures of USS Mount Hood and USS Cebu. The order of pictures are:
Mount Hood Exploding

USS Mount Hood

USS Cebu

USS Cebu

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I know I said I wouldn't be writing again until August, however, I have learned of my Grandfather's exact Rate in the Navy. As stated before, he was deployed onboard the USS Cebu ARG-6 and was a Chief Ship-fitter. I also learned he was only in Boot Camp for a week before they told him he was good-to-go. He was then stationed at Naval Station Norfolk. He also witnessed the USS Mount Hood AE-11 explosion. The Mount Hood was an Ammunition Supply Ship. The reason(s) for the explosion that killed 327 sailors were never determined. Of the 327 killed, 5 were from Cebu. 1 of them was a good friend of my Grandpa's and was standing mere feet away when a piece of shrapnel decapitated him. I was close to not existing! The explosion occured on 10 November 1944 at 0855. This took place at Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island, Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea.

Studying for the ASVAB is slow going. The more advanced math is a struggle. Also, the anticipation is building. I keep wondering where we're gonna be stationed, who I'm gonna meet, when I'm gonna go... The whole idea of joining the military is surreal. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who think this is silly and naive. Just so they know that I am aware of the fact that the military isn't some extended vacation and the path is going to be outfitted with many challenges. Believe me, every day that passes by I find some flaw in my personality that will be challenged by the Instructors at Great Lakes.

None-the-less, excitement and nerves still wash over me. And there are even days where I am kinda bored with the idea of joining up, but it passes with the realization that I've been waiting so long to enlist that I'm bound to have those thoughts drift in and out of my head.

Well, until next time...

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Grandpa joined the US Navy during WWII. He served on the USS Cebu, a repair ship and sailed 3/4 of the way around the world. At this point I am wishing I would have been able to talk to him more about his Navy career. I believe he was a Chief Petty Officer, and I am not sure of his exact Rate. I called my mom to track down a video interview I did of him when I was in 7th Grade. So, once I get a hold of that tape I can fill you in on more details.

One thing about me is that I am very proud of my Heritage. I come from a line of plumbers with me being the fourth generation. My Great Grandfather, Herald Williams, started the plumbing business and at one point employed over 20 men. We were one of the largest shops in the small town of Austin, MN. My Grandfather, apparently, up and joined the Navy, or as he says "the Service". After his service, he reestablished himself in the plumbing business. Next was my Father and then me. I still get sad that it ended with me. Now the business is sold and my Father and my careers have taken different paths down the plumbing trade road. He is a Master Plumber with the City of Duluth. I have worked at Home Depot as Master Trade Specialist in the Plumbing Dept, as a Sewer Maintenance Worker and now as a Maintenance Tech for my apartment complex. Plumbing has served me well. It has allowed me to provide for my wife and I, and has shown me how much I appreciate my Father and the skills he has taught me. I am proud of my Dad and thankful that I was provided the opportunity to work alongside him for nearly 10 years.

But this blog is not about my past. It's about my future in the US Navy. As you can tell, I am proud of my family heritage. I got my itch to join the Navy from talking with my Grandfather. I originally wanted to join right out of High School. Why I did not is something of a mystery, but I have tracked it down to 3 contributing factors:
1- I wanted to be a filmmaker
2- I just started working for my Dad and for some reason just kept on going
3- Maturity

I am not going to delve into those details.

So I graduated High School in 2000. 10 years later, the Space/Time Continuum brings me another chance to become a US Navy Sailor. And I am taking it.

In 2007/2008, my wife and I discussed joining the Navy. I was a few days away from going to the MEPS, or Military Entrance Processing Station. Over the next few days leading up to that date, I could sense that my wife was extremely depressed. I knew she wasn't fully on-board with the Military idea. We were in the living room of our house and she was on one of our two couches and I was on the other. I got up, went over and sat next to her and asked her how she was feeling. I asked if she was 100% with the Navy. She was not. I told her: "If you don't want me to join, you have to tell me now, because if you don't you will not get another chance. If you're not wanting to do this I won't do it....". She was rightfully afraid. She would be eventually moving thousands of miles away from everything and everyone she knew to be confronted with being absolutely alone for 6 months while I was on a deployment. You see she isn't the type of person to pursue friendships with strange people, and for sure not Military wives. She thinks there is this stereotype that they are a bunch of athletic preppy soccer moms. I think she's crazy in that respect, but none-the-less I know my wife and she is a major introvert. So, with that in mind I knew if she wasn't going to make it and neither would "Us". My marriage meant more than a Military career. What is a career if I'm miserable because a rocky or broken marriage? I didn't want the memories of a Military career to be plagued with a divorce. After I sternly pushed her into telling me the truth about how she really felt, she told me she didn't want me to go. That was it. She felt guilty for taking away the dream, but I didn't want it to be a nightmare.

Fast-forward two years and now it's December 2009. I had recently worked as a Sewer Maintenance Tech. However, that job did not last. It also was a job that I would be stuck in one position for 25-30 years with out promotion. I wanted to move up the ranks. But not without a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering. Well, instead I started to go to College for Information Technology. Halfway though I lose the Sewer job, which like clock work I was done with my shift at 15:30 everyday M-F. Immediately I was hired by my apartment complex as a Maintenance Tech, and still going to College, which I made clear in my interview. My boss said I could be off at 5:30 on my school nights to get to class by 6. That lasted but a couple days. Pretty soon I was late for class and getting behind due to work. I worked my ass off to pass my classes and finish the semester. Again, I am stuck in a dead-end job. A job I can progress up one rung of the ladder to Maintenance Supervisor. In-order to go up higher I would have to step down to Leasing Agent then back up to Asst. Manager then to Business Manager and up to Corporate. Not me at all. I am blue collar. Unless it involves computers, count me out. Technology is the only career I would consider in a white collar environment. At this point, my wife is feeling awfully antsy as she wants to restart down her college path towards a Doctorate of English Literature as she wants to be a professor. We moved up to the Twin Cities to get away from small town life and all that small town life involves. But we both still felt trapped in jobs that were fruitless towards our career goals. We both know we are capable of more. She wants to be a Professor and also has serious aspirations towards being a a published author. I want to pursue my IT major or an Engineering Major someday and this current Maintenance job will not allow for that. So with all that brewing in our hearts, I started to talk Military again. I explained that it would be a good opportunity for us both. She could start on her Doctorate and have plenty of time to dedicate to that while I was away. I would be able to use my Plumbing skills in the military to give me leverage into moving up Rates in the Navy and come out with some great experience or continue to be a career Sailor. At first things were touchy, she still had nerves of loneliness. She did not want to be away that long alone. One night I could sense that familiar old vibe from her. She was chatting with her close friend who lives a few hours away and is miserable there, college pressure and drama has brought her to the point where I knew she was ready for a way out. So I whispered to my wife "You should see if she wants to go with.". She stopped and thought for a moment, and then typed "How would you feel about moving to Washington?" Immediately she typed back: "When do we leave.". Now I thought she was being silly, but she was serious. This set the stage for my Navy career to move forward. Sorry this is so long, but I you need the back story.
My next step was to set up an appointment with a recruiter. I met with him on a Monday evening after New Years. 2010. Ok, so the meeting faced with some bad news. You see I mentioned earlier that I had a passion for filmmaking. Well, after High School I tried to start a video production business only for it to flop and cost me some serious credit card debt. To make a long long story a little shorter we had to file bankruptcy to clear that up as we were seriously behind and too far upside down to catch up. The recruiter said we had to get the court stuff out of the way before enlistment can proceed. Well, I started researching to make sure that Bankruptcy wouldn't keep me out of the Navy, as I didn't want to chase a pipe dream. I ran in to conflicting statements from it being a total dis qualifier to it not affecting it at all. So I just had to get it over with and see what happened. That was in the first week of March, 2010. Fast-forward to June 3rd, 2010 and now its our meeting with the Trustee. Court is over. My wife and I were going to go and get some coffee, on our way I wanted to stop by the recruiting station to get an appointment set up. It is Friday and he said to come in Monday after work. FF to Monday after work. The usual questions: "Have you ever been in trouble with the law? Have you ever done drugs?" So I get through all the filter questions. And now he hands me the application and the financial statement and tells me to fill this out at home and come back tomorrow also I would need to swing down to the Social Security Office and get a new SS Card as mine is bleached white from being washed and it's not suitable. This is where my day from hell started. I told my boss I was going to run an errand during my lunch, so my wife and I get in the car and begin the trek to downtown Minneapolis. Traffic was mild. We get to the road that the SS office is supposedly on and it's closed due to construction. We spent the next 20 minutes just trying to go around the block. People walking all over, cars in endless lines flowing down the street we are trying to get back on to. Finally we get out in to the lane and get a parking spot a block from the office. We make to the office and to our "Satisfaction" the office is packed with literally a hundred people, screaming kids and the smell of musty puke. We must have had the most disgusted look on our faces walking in to that Godforsaken hellhole. I walked over to this computer with a touchscreen and selected the "Apply for new SS Card" button. It popped out a ticket and told me to fill out and application while I waited. I got number 167. We surprisingly found a pair of seats and sat. I stared at the application, then around at the sea of depressed people and then decided to get out my phone and search for an out-of-town office, because at that point I would have rather drove in peace a long distance and been processed faster than rotted there. After about 5 minutes of searching the screaming kids and warm stale puke air got to be too much. I got up and went over to the security guard and asked if there was an office in Northfield. He said that I would have to go to St. Cloud or Rochester but that if I lived in the 7 county metro I had to come here. ONE OFFICE FOR OVER A MILLION PEOPLE?! That is...not cool. So we left. That was it, I was already over on my lunch and I had to get back to work. It appeared I wasn't getting a new SS card anytime soon. So, on our way back to the car and some ranting I called my recruiter. "Hey, yeah, it's me. Ummmm, about that new SS card. Won't happen, I would have to take off a whole day just to get one, and the way that place is.....", "Well, don't worry about it, I can do it for you." He nonchalantly said. I thought "I wish you would have told me that, YESTERDAY." Ok cool, that's taken care of. So, I called my boss and told him we were on our way back but that I was going to grab some fast food. We get within a few blocks of the fast food place and run out of gas. Yes, we did, right in the middle of a three lane wide main thoroughfare packed to the hilt with traffic. I told my wife slide over and steer while I push the car out of the death trap. I looked around at the two gas stations across the street to decide if they would have a little gas tank and then see a NAPA and started walkin. So, need-less-to-say I got the gas and back going, got our food blah blah blah. That evening, I go to the meeting with the recruiter and he starts to enter my application info in to the computer and the my financial statement. He gives me a surprise wee wee test and I pass of course. Then, the other recruiter asks if I can still go to MEPS tomorrow. I said yes. After sitting for a while longer I started to get antsy and needed some tea. So I leave while my Recruiter enters info. I come back and the Chief is there. He asks, "So do you have your Bankruptcy info?" I give him what I have. "Well, where is your discharge certificate?" I was like, "We haven't been discharged yet, but we have all our court taken care of." Well, he told me that I have to be discharged. No MEPS..... Ok, so to all you people wanting to join the Navy and have a Bankruptcy (BR) looming over your heads. You can file, but, make sure you get your discharge before you go to a recruiter. Chief reassured me that everything else is good, the hard part was over, but I have wait my 2 months before we can proceed. So, that brings us to the present. Here I sit waiting for my BR discharge. Chapter 7 is 60 days after your meeting with the Trustee. The reason you cannot enlist is because the Navy wants you to be 100% done with the BR just in case during that 60 days a creditor doesn't contest a debt. If that were to happen, hypothetically if you went to MEPS and enlisted and then got a job that required you to ship off for Boot Camp before your discharge and you shipped and then had to reappear in court for that contested debt, you would more-than-likely be dishonorably discharged from the Navy and well that's just not good. I wait. Gives me more time to study for my ASVAB. Next post will be after MEPS in August, 2010.