Tuesday, April 09, 2013

World War III has started!

After graduating from Colorado State University I served in the Army for 4 years because the Army paid for 2 years of my college tuition. That was unreasonable to me because 4 year scholarships served four years too, but that were my orders. I was in the Army R. O. T. C. at C. S. U. after completing four years of military training I was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant. While most of my classmates were trying to get jobs through interviews, I was lucky because I had my orders. At first the army wanted me to go to Fort Hawthorn Depot in the middle of the Nevada desert. It is an ammunition storage depot. I really wanted to be in a repair facility rather than an ammo depot. My passion repairing equipment. My first choices when asked where I would like to be stationed were Japan, Germany and Alaska. I could not believe that I was being sent to the middle of the desert and had to do something about it fast! I had a friend who got orders for Germany and she didn't want to go. So I traded with her, success! At the commissioning ceremony my dad and mom pinned my bars on my collar. They were very proud of my accomplishment.

The Army sent me to Maryland for Officer Basic Course. It was a six month training.
I graduated at the top of my class! Later I learned that the Army is a lot different than what I learned in training both at C.S.U. and in Maryland. For example I never got used to the political nature of the Army. My dad convinced me to join the Army as he did in his after college days. He said the experience would be worth it. When I went to Germany I called him and asked if he liked his time in the Army and he said he hated every minute of it! Oh boy dad thanks!

My Germany first time experience was an incredible. I flew Frankfort and was totally jet lagged. My Army sponsor, another lieutenant drove me to my Army base in a little town called Fulda. I checked into my company and my commander said go across the street and check into the guest house, a hotel. He was very nice and I liked him on the first encounter. At the hotel I could not speak German so I had trouble ordering dinner. I played it safe with pizza and a beer. My waitress asked if I wanted water and I said yes. She brought me a little bottle of water. I took a sip and immediately wanted to spit it out. Bubbles! To this day I can't drink fancy bubbled water. He he. 

I was tired after dinner and went to my room to sleep. I was awakened at 3 AM by an alarm going off across the street in the base. The next surprising thing was tanks and armored personal carriers were driving down the street. I was terrified! I wasn't even issued a weapon or protective gear. I thought World War III had started and I wasn't in it. Fulda is right on the border of what used to be the country of Czechoslovakia until it's independence in 1993.  It was 1981 when it happened and our president was Ronald Reagan.  He said that the Soviet Union was the Evil Empire in one of his speeches! If Russia crossed the border into Germany they said our unit had a 50 percent survival rate!   Looking at the military vehicles drive by made me petrified. I went back to bed thinking that if the bad guys take over the hotel, well I will just have to survive it somehow. Luckily in the morning I found out that it was a monthly drill to keep the soldiers alert. After that situation I knew what to expect and it became routine.
I absolutely loved traveling all over Europe but didn't like the Army and counted the days until I got out. Not many of my friends from high school or college got the experience of travel like me and I am grateful!   Fortunately the Army sent me to Fort Lee, VA where I met my beautiful wife Hing! And we lived happily ever after!  
The End