My Journey in the Military: MEPS Day 2

4am came awfully early. I wasn’t hard for me to get out of bed; I guess I was excited, maybe anxious is a better word. Breakfast sucked. I was runny eggs; I was actually worried they were going to run right through me.

The security line at the MEPS building was interesting. The guards were big jerks. They probably couldn’t get into the military so they take it out on the new recruits. It was comical that they made such a big deal over the files on nail clippers. How can a file that small be considered a weapon? I could probably do more damage with a metal pen then a file.

At 5:20am we started the spiel at MEPS. There were about 20 of us processing at 75 shipping out. I started out at the ARNG liaison office to turn in my packet, pickup my name tag, and find out my AVSVAB score… it was an 82, good enough to be a cook!

The medical checks were next. It consisted of a couple of stations: Hearing: You sit in a booth with 5 other people listening to beeps over a headphone and press a button when you hear one. It got harder as people finished and started moving around inside the booth. Vision: Kind of like what you do at the DMV, but I don’t think they did a depth perception test. Then we had a briefing on how to fill out our paperwork. I was amazed at how some people could mess everything up, must have been Marine recruits. Next was the blood work, just like at the doctor’s office.

After that was the private consultation with the doctor. He looked over the records and checked out vitals. It wouldn’t have been complete without the standard turn your head and cough. Next up, was the urine sample. This was a pain since I hadn’t drank enough and it was freezing cold. There were two guys who couldn’t go worth a damn and 4 of us who had to work very hard to make it, but did.

Then came the famous duck walk and height weight check. Everyone in my group was within weight. The movement exercises were funny to do and not hard or embarrassing. After we got dressed again we met one on one with another doctor. This is where I found out that I passed everything but was still disqualified based on some extra red blood cells. Even with the waiver. How does that make since? At this point it was 10am, and I was told I couldn’t leave until 2:30pm, the time the shuttle would pick us up. I called my recruiter to see if I could drop off my packet when I got back to Madison but couldn’t reach him.

After chillin’ for 45 minutes with a delayed entry from La Crosse and guy who was shipping to Bennett I decided to hit up the mall for something good to eat. I was able to kill 2 hours at the mall but got bored pretty fast. When I got back I got paged to the ARMG liaison office, I guess MSG Dawson was trying to get me in so he had to fax some stuff to his office.

About 1pm the shippers got called out for the bus to the airport. Alec looked nervous but was one of the first in line to the briefing. I hope he has a good experience. The MEP employees were a lot nicer when the big group left, guess they didn’t feel as overwhelmed. Time still moved very slow… that 4am wake up was killing almost all of us.

At 2:45pm the shuttle finally arrived to take us back to our regular lives. This time there was only three of us on board. The guy from La Crosse, me, and a cute girl from Tomah. I felt sorry for her because she was supposed to ship out but was screwed by the height/weight requirement. She was one pound over weight, and the tape test didn’t like her wide hips. She was not out of shape.

After a short conversation the rest of the ride was quiet since the other 2 riders were sleeping. I was looking forward to getting back to work; hopefully I don’t forget the milk I am supposed to pick up…

My Journey in the Military: Trip to MEPS Day 1

I met with my recruiter again to sign more paperwork. It was a blast since this was the third time I initialed and signed some of these forms. When I got done I went over to the Armed Forces Recruiting Center to wait for a shuttle van.

It was actually kind of hard watching the guys going to boot camp say their good byes to their families. There was a 30-year-old who had his wife and kid with him. It was obvious they had said their good byes earlier and he was just trying to enjoy the time with his kid. The other one was a young man, I later discovered his name was Alec and he was only 17. His mom burst into tears and then left while his younger brother and his dad stood pretty solid.

The ride to MEPS was awkward. We tried to do some small talk between the eight of us but two guys who got on earlier had a real negative attitude. They were split option, so they had already gone to basic and were now going to AIT. I did talk with Alec a little bit. I was amazed at the fact he was only 17. His birthday will occur while he is at basic training. He was really nervous and shy, I hope he makes it ok.

When we got to Milwaukee we dropped off everyone but their were two of us who had to go to the federal building and take the AVSVAB that afternoon. I wished Alec good luck and we parted ways. The shuttle driver took us over to the MEPS building and after getting through security I was in the military world.

I was actually a tad disappointed in the size of the facility. Somehow I pictured hundreds of people processing at once. I do think they like confusing us new recruits as most of the directions they barked out consisted of 7-8 steps with multiple left and right hand turns. I did chuckle whenever I saw anyone mess up or look super lost; almost without fail they were joining the Marines. I feel sorry for Dave.

I’m not sure how I did on the AVSVAB, I didn’t know a lot of the math equations and the automotive killed me. I got done early, picked up my bag and wandered over to the hotel. We were staying at the Howard Johnson that is about a block and a half away. Its a nice place although it has an old building feel to it. After signing a bunch of rules I was issued my key and meal ticket.

My roommate had just finished his junior year of High School. He is on the Split Option and was already to MEPS once before, he had to come back because of a logistical error. All he has to do is take the oath and meet with a counselor; he’s not looking forward to waking up at 4am just to sit around until 1:30pm. He was a computer geek so we talked about UW-Whitewater and the MCS program for a while. He’s from Janesville and is most likely joining the Military Intelligence Unit in Madison; I’m guessing it’s the same one as me.

The night was very uneventful. I talked with a few guys at dinner about their experience. Most were split options and going to AIT. After dinner I just hung out in my room. The game room didn’t look too exciting and the fitness room was a joke. I was hoping to talk with Alec and one of the other guys I rode down with but couldn’t find them. I’m still a little nervous about tomorrow but it’ too late to chicken out now so I’m stuck. I was hoping to hear from someone from camp but nothing yet; hopefully all is going well with the Cubs…