You meet your recruiter. You believe everything he says.
You enlist. Say goodbye to family and friends and that mop of hair you’ve worn all your young life.
Basic training. 6 weeks vacation at a summer resort.
Technical training. Three weeks vacation in a winter resort.
Report for duty. You quickly notice everyone else has stripes on their sleeves. You have none. They call you “slick sleeve.”
Promotion to E-2. Hey, what did you expect, a cake?
Promotion to E-3. You can breath now kid.
Parade duty. It’s not a duty son, it’s a privilege. Report at 0700 in your dress blues.
Chemical warfare training. Suit, mask, gloves, oh what fun.
Promotion to NCO. Better hurry up and mature sarge.
Re-enlist. The big decision. Change your life forever.
Orders for an overseas assignment. “FIGMO.”
One month left. Don’t even give me anything to do, I’m short.
Welcome to Shemya Island. The good news is you only have to stay here a year and then you will get your choice of assignment. The bad news is…. well, you’ll find out soon enough.
Orders for stateside. Welcome home. Back to the real world. I’m going straight to McDonalds!
Study for E-5. Man, this shit is dry.
Passover party at the NCO club. Why is there mud on my pants?
Promotion to E-5. You’re in charge of a section and five people. Four are super troops, but one of them is a problem child. Great.
The squadron is moving to a new location. You get to work weekends.
Mobility exercise. Hurry up and wait. God help the man who forgets anything on the personal item checklist.
Here’s your additional duties. You’ll train yourself, by the way.
Operational Readiness Inspection. You deploy to a remote location for a one-week vacation. Your bunkmate snores. The heater hardly works. You learn to love broccoli and your own bed.
The wing flunked the ORI. The base goes on 12-hour shifts. We can’t even spell morale.
Orders for TDY, Temporary Duty. Three weeks vacation at a guard base where no one zips up their field jacket.
GI Humor sheet passed around. “If the military wanted you to have a wife, they would have issued you one.”
New clothing regulation. That perfectly good light jacket is no longer allowed. The new one costs ten times your clothing allowance.
New boss. Wants you to write a new Continuity Folder. Doesn’t she know no one uses these things?
Annual performance reports due. Where are those copies of mine?
Orders for overseas. What do I do about Lucy?
Welcome to Timbuktu. I’m sorry, but the guy you’re replacing is already gone. You’re also one man down and two others have orders. The equipment needs replacing but the budget cuts have been severe. There’s your desk, there’s the manuals. Oh, and I’m real sorry, I forgot to send you a welcome package.
Ten days and a wake up. How did I survive this hell-hole?
New assignment. Back in the states. Thank God. Hey, what’s that?
Promotion to E-6. The boss likes you. The wing passes the ORI with flying colors. You go three for four to help the squadron win the base championship in slow pitch. One of your troops wins Airman of the Year. You run a marathon. You get married. Life is good.
Cold War ends. Downsizing. “We’ll have to do more with less.”
Operation Massive Buildup. 12 hour shifts. Deployment overseas. Rations for lunch. A friend dies in action.
Back home. Visit the doctor. My back is killing me.
Retirement ceremony. Job hunting. Adjustments. You’ve come full circle. You’re a civilian once again. Start your life all over.