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"

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