Thursday, September 19, 2013

20 Years Ago this Month...

Recently while on Facebook, a friend of mine had posted, “20 years ago today, I earned the title”. At first I had thought about his statement, to be honest I was a little confused. I thought about his statement for several minutes until I realized what he had meant. 20 years ago in 1993, we had both graduated from the same High School and had gone our separate ways. His path took him to a place where he had trained and learned the ways of becoming a Marine. So, I started to really think about that time and realized that 20 years ago this month (September 1, 1993), I had reported for basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Funny, the memory that sticks out is how on that day that I had to report to the Military Entrance Processing (MEP) Center in Springfield Mass, I had to sweat as a military member prior to ever even signing any paper. See my recruiter (Sgt Cartwright) was going to pick me up at my house. I don’t remember the time. But, we lived in Holyoke, over by the Southampton/Westfield line at the time.

That morning started with my dad waking me up to bid me a proud farewell. He had expressed his confidence that I would do fine and this path would be a start to a new beginning in my life. But most importantly that he was proud of me. Then he had informed me of a death within the family. I remember him saying don’t worry about having to go to visit family, that I must continue my mission. That he would inform the family of my situation and explain why I would not be attending the funeral.
I remember feeling hurt. But, I also felt that he was right. But that is not the reason why I’m telling this story. I was standing outside on the porch when the recruiter had driven up my driveway.

I got into the car and his first words were, “is there a gas station around here?”
“No, it’s about 10 mile from here.”

He looked stressed and express, “I don’t think we will make it, I’m running on fumes”

Our goal was to make it to the Mobile Station on Northampton Street, close to the Old Lynch Junior High School in Holyoke. We were driving down Cherry Street/Beech Street coming from the Soldiers Home. As we are turning left onto Northampton Street, by the Yankee Pedlar Inn, the car dies…

I remember his statement to me, “Son, your basic training starts now… You must get out of the car and push us to the gas station”…
So here I am, a measly 100 lbs soak and wet, being ordered to push the car to the gas station down the road. Yes, I push that car for 1 mile while he sat in the car. I bet when he dropped me off at the MEP station, he laugh.

I never really told anyone this story… But 20 Years ago this month… I pushed a car to jump start my military career…


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