GJD Other, or Gregory J. Daniel Other, is a collection of random writings by Greg that he shared on his Onision site under "Etcetera". (Source)
Guide: MEPS of Seattle
When I first found out about my appointment to participate in the MEPS program I went to About.com and read the experience one recruit for the National Guard had on his course to join up with the United States military. This story helped me to a great extent in telling me what I should expect, and in this memory, I wish to repeat the favor. I now assist all those who are wondering themselves what MEPS should be like for them if they are to go.
Before I ever went to my MEPS date I took the ASVAB, which is a test that all branches of the military require potential-recruits to take in order to have a good chance of enlisting. Foolishly, I chose to take the ASVAB on a computer, instead of on paper (the ASVAB on computer adjusts itself to your level, however contains flaws, in my case, repeating the same question over and over, which is terrible if you don’t know what the answer is). Because of my decision, the 15 hours I studied & the 3 practice tests I took prior became useless data. This is considering the fact that I had studied for what I expected to be a near-replica of the paper version, but ended up being much more complicated, containing questions I had never seen before.
In result, I scored a 54, which is good to some, but for me, it just not good enough. Maybe because my sister scored above a 70 ~ by that I am both impressed and confused in her/myself.
Regardless of this factor, the jobs I wanted were still open, which seemed to make the ASVAB score I got rather irrelevant.
Upon retrieving my scores, my recruit discussed my MEPS date to come. I had listened to what he was saying to the person before me as I showed up for our meeting early, and he knew this, so he skipped the gruesome details that I am now going to present to all of you.
Driving over to the Holiday Inn (the hotel all Seattle/Tacoma-area recruits go for MEPS the day before) I was nervous, just as I am in all situations that involve following maps/directions. I searched for the Holiday Inn upon arrival to the place I was sent to (you know, that huge building that no one could miss), but as the directions stated, the building was not on my left, but rather, my right. Because of this simple mistake, I was forced to backtrack and turn around to give another go at it (Holiday Inn is right off a 5 lane road, and I was placed in a turn lane that could only go back on the highway from which I came).
Once I arrived at the Hotel I went up to the main counter where the worker there directed me to the military section of the building. Smiling politely I turned away from the woman towards the direction she had specified only to come upon a small sign pointing me down another hall. Walking into the room I immediately saw an overweight computer-geeky man already talking to me about the hotel rules & what I should expect.
The man gave me two food cards, one for dinner and the other for the breakfast that would follow. Happily I realized that this specific room (where everyone hung out) had a PlayStation 2, a lap top (with high speed internet) & a big screen with plenty of movies in the attached room. Continuing to nod to whatever the man had been saying, I then took my card key for my room, 139.
I then left the introduction room walking back & fourth looking for the right number (wonderful as I am with directions). I then found it only to walk in and see I was the first one there to occupy the room, as the person who would be bunking with me was not yet there. Throwing my backpack and lap top bag on the bed I then pulled out my cell phone, plugging it into the wall. I then got familiar with the room, and returned to where the overweight man had greeted me.
Soon after I watched others play “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” for a short while I asked the man if I could go out to my car, as he had before stated to not leave the grounds without first asking an authority. Surprised that I asked, he gave me the ok (as the parking lot is part of the holiday inn) and I hastily walked out to grab a couple of things. Out in the lot I saw more potential-recruits showing up, not one I had seen was without a recruiter which made me wonder whether or not any of the applicants had cars of their own. Something else I noticed was how well the recruiters were getting along with their subjects, as if they had known each other for years.
Walking back in, I sat down and was given the PS2 controller where I began to play. Urgently, the overweight man started giving me instructions, like he had others, on how to play, and where to go. Smiling & not telling him I already knew how to play he began to pester and bash me as if I were the dumbest man alive for not decoding his instructions precisely as he chose to deliver them. I laughed and smiled at most every little thing he said, knowing it was just a game, and that the guy before me had gotten worse treatment from him.
The overweight man was then called a jerk by one of the potential recruits only to have him responding in regards to how he once made someone quit playing because they could not take his unstable criticism. Laughing he then spoke of how a person who can’t handle him should not be signing up for the military, as boot camp would "eat them alive" ~ grinning still, I agreed and continued to play.
The rest of the night I spent in the restaurant (they have good hamburgers, but you should all remember to bring spare cash so you don’t feel like a jerk like I did for not tipping) and in the introduction room playing PS2 and observing the others playing cards while a guy and girl flirted off and on until they decided to run off to the hot tub. After they had left a former enlistee of the US Army began telling us some pretty intense war stories, of such I will not include entirely other than to say, “people were decapitated”.
I got to bed around 11pm that night, and finally fell asleep at about 12am. 3 ½ hours later I woke up, a good while before the phone ever rang (which I never heard because I was out waiting in the lobby having already loaded my stuff back into my car) to wake everyone (specifically, it rings at 4:15, everyone is advised to set their alarms before that so they may better prepare).
Waiting in the lobby for only a short while, they opened up the dining room for breakfast in which I ate whatever I liked (people are advised to eat light, as their blood pressure reflects it, and that is a significant reason why some people are not aloud to join), the common eggs, sausage, oranges, cereal & milk. Mmmmm...
After I had finished, I went back to the lobby and waited more for the other potential recruits to get ready, this was a longer wait. :)
When everyone had finished eating they joined me in the lobby where an instructor told everyone to load the bus. I just as quickly ran out to my car and found the bus behind the INN. It again took a moment for everyone to be 100% ready to go, so I waited for a short while behind the bus only to find that another person had driven, an old ford truck. Moments later, we were off, it was a slightly rainy morning, so it was somewhat hard to see, and the bus took a route I had not traveled before, however as soon as I recognized the area, I drove passed the bus and parked in a near by lot once we arrived at MEPS.
Running again up to where everyone else was gathering, I found us divided into lines, one going before the other.
The first MEPS test of the day was to check if we brought any weapons with us by metal detector, luckily, no one had ~ so it was an easy procedure.
Making my way through the line I then went to a upper-office USAF recruiters office which gave me some specific information as to what I would be doing that day, and informing me that I would return there after the tests were done. They then gave me a bar code which I wore over to the main counter and stood in another line.
Making it to the front of the line they had me sign a couple documents, which I then took to another class-like room. Waiting with the others I talked to some random people inside the room (many female) discussing a strange small plastic-incased tube on our desks (which we later realized were to test for alchohaul in our systems).
Soon after a man walked in an stated the rules for MEPS and what was expected of us. We then filled out some short papers, later to have a breathalyzer test taken, everyone passed this as well.
Leaving the room, I sat down amongst the others in organized rows of chairs and waited for the other tests to begin. First I went to the eye testing center, where they showed me dots inside of a large circle with certain numbers inside. The point of this test was to figure out how good our color vision was. I passed. Because I am going for USAF I was then directed to a depth perception test, I was intended to identify the circle, in a line of similar circles, that looked different (used to judge if I could see which one was closer to me). I passed this test as well.
Now leaving, the tester signed my papers and I returned to the sitting area. Next up was a mouth and eye examination in which an older medical professional told me about cue-tips and how water washes ear wax right out (coming up after I had spoke of my ears and wax (how I was uncertain of how much I had) where he told me I was completely clean) soon after, he signed my papers and my bar code tag for passing.
Upon leaving the room, my blood pressure was taken, where I again, passed. Sadly, the man next to me repeatedly failed until the final test (you get three chances to pass or they send you home). Upon the final chance, he said he focused on his “Chi”, and that apparently worked, we were all happy for him.
The next test was for drugs, in which we all lined up and peed into cups in front of undivided urinals. We then stood in the bathroom in a line formation with our pee cups. During this time random comments would come up like, “This looks like apple juice” or, “beer” while I just imagined how funny it would be if some one ran in and pushed one of us (they had no caps... aaah!).
We waited in the line for a long while as we were the first group to go through, and they were still setting up. The man at the counter, attached to the bathroom, then had us all initial some papers, and he capped our urine right in front of us so we would know that there was no tampering.
The test that followed was the anal & testicular exam. In this room the doc told me to drop my pants, with the classic “turn your head and cough”. He then told me to turn around and spread my butt cheeks (they say this is to check for hemorrhoids). He then ok'ed me, and sent me out. The entire observation was about 45 seconds, so it was not frustrating at all.
Moving on I went and took a hearing test in which I was instructed to press the one button I had access to whenever I heard a tone. However I had not listened closely as I was adjusting my head set when I was instructed via audio, so instead I pressed the button on every third beep only to seconds later think “Maybe I should press it as soon as I hear it...” which is probably the core reason as to why I passed with such a good score.
I then moved on to take a blood test, this was pretty painless, but there was a small mess.
Now waiting for one of the final tests I sat and talked with the others on random topics. A lot of them involved people praising me for joining and making it into the Air Force, which until then, I did not realize was such a significant thing (They say 80% of applicants are turned away).
A doc then walked out and instructed us to enter the room. Once we got into the new room, he then told us to strip down to our boxers. The man who had been telling us the war stories the night before only stripped down to his pants, having gone commando and never having been told that he should wear underwear on that day. An instructor then came into the room and lectured him where he made the argument that in his previous inspection they all stripped completely nude, which is what he had expected that day. Shocked the instructor gave up and handed a pair of paper boxers.
Following this we lined up again, where we were weighed (some re-weighed and measured) and performed various body movements in which the doc checked for any pain in our faces & for any joint abnormalities.
It seemed everyone passed the test, however many were turning purple and complaining about how cold it was, while I felt absolutely fine.
Putting back on our clothing, we then had the papers finalized where I was then to return to the upper-office recruiter who then took us to an Air Force-exclusive test in which we had to lift a set of weights above a certain line. The person before me did it moderately well, while I showed ease in doing the same. I believe the weight was about 110lbs, so it was nothing to be afraid of because technically you are just pushing the weight up with support from the wall, it is not barbells, just weights attached to a wire & vertical support beam.
Finishing up, we then returned to the office. I was given quite a few job options, and from them I filled out my list. What was shocking however was that I was one of the few who had passed the depth perception test, which is the key requirement for many USAF jobs, while another did not pass the blood pressure test, and as stated before, no pass, no job.
Now handing me the documents I needed, the recruiter told me to head down to the main desk where I handed in most of my papers. They then sent me in to get my finger prints on file, had me swear to various phrases such as “I have never attempted to overthrow the government” and so on.
After doing this, I walked over to another room in which a man spoke to us slipping out the question “None of you are f&gs or anything ar..?” but quickly cutting himself off realizing that it was a bad thing to say. I just smiled and looked on.
The man then told us that we would have to sign some final papers after swearing in, then pointed us to a room in which we were instructed to put our hands at our sides and stare forward with our chins relatively horizontal. A high-ranking officer then walked in and had us repeat a few binding phrases after her. Upon doing so, she thanked us for joining, and shook our hands.
We then walked out to the previously occupied room and signed the papers we were told to.
Now turning in the documents the person at the desk told me I was free to go ~ and so I did.
Normally MEPS will take anywhere from 6 to 14 hours, so expect a long day. Many complained of being tired, so try to get some sleep. I personally only had 3 hours of sleep and was fine regardless... so I believe it depends on the person.
Nevertheless, as long as you can do what I did, and pass all the tests like I did, you should have no problem enlisting ~ best of skill & luck to you!
Guide: Welcome To USAF BMT
Before I start, I’d like you all to know that I do not regret joining the Air Force, it has benefitted my life thus far in various ways, but it is a job everyone should take... less than 1% of this country is enlisted in the USAF.
In order to be a part of this force, you must be brave, you must be strong, you must be able to persevere through hard situations - it’s just not for everyone, so before you consider joining, ask yourself if you are really ready to go through what I have gone.
I have faith in the Air Force, and its cause — this is just an honest report of my experiences.
The Reality That Is: BMT
Basic Military Training often made me wonder, mostly about what was the purpose of it all, even knowing that it is supposed to morph our minds into something strong, at time I just felt it was insufficient, and lost in simple screams... endless badgering.
If you are planning to join any service, and have no prior service, BMT is a milestone that you must pass. For the Air Force of today, BMT is 6 weeks long (I’ve heard it will be longer in 2K6), the following will explain most everything you will be doing, once you arrive at Lackland AFB or rare other destinations.
In the morning we arose at MEPS of Seattle, ignorantly excited for the times to come later that day. We were up at 4AM, the usual MEPS wake call, and on the bus soon after eating a decent warm breakfast. Soon enough we were at the airport, I was with 10 other people joining the USAF, as the Marines had left the day prior.
We all got on a large plane, then transferred to another plane to meet our final destination, San Antonio. Throughout the entire day we were all happy, even up to the point in which one of the A1C’s watching the newcome trainees, yelled at us to be quiet... we all looked over, and silenced ourselves, I myself disturbed by the fact that she was flirting with her co worker, and not paying attention to what needed to be done.
Shortly after, we were all called to load a bus, somewhat of a grayhound. Rushing out the doors we loaded quickly, passing a female TI, but not knowing that she was until later.
On the bus the elderly man driving began to talk and laugh about random BMT moments he had heard, he gave us advice... and soon after, we arrove, all gritting our teeth, all terrified of what was about to happen.
Waiting, we saw a young man walk out, telling the bus driver to have us unload, and line up in front of a main office. In front of that office we stood for about 20 minutes, doing absolutely nothing, not seeing a single TI, not knowing who these men in front of the office building were, (later to find out they were just trainees) monitoring us, some even silencing those who were foolish enough to talk.
Another man then walked out, and told us all to enter the building, leaving our luggage outside, we proceeded inside, now sitting in a room of uncomfortable desks, as a woman called off the last four of our social security numbers.
One at a time, we were all then called out to another room, where we again waited, this time we waited at least 30 minutes, the time was reaching 11pm.
We were then all called up, in groups of about 35, grabbing our luggage, we proceeded to a squadron entrance, led by who knows... I can’t recall.
Standing now in front of what would soon become our dormatory stair well, we stood, in the dark still, just waiting for something to happen.
Click... click... click click click click! Her boots, his boots, the taps on their shoes rank out, followed by screams, profanities (they are not supposed to cus, but our TI did not care), insults, threats even... they would point out every little detail, every little thing that they felt was wrong with us, they would expose it, and attack again repeatedly.
After we had all been beaten with words (I still in a state of numbness, not feeling much of anything they threw at me), they led us up stairs where we randomly picked beds. (I was bed 49 of dorm B-5 in the 324th training squadron) - Once the three TI’s had finished yelling, they flipped out the lights, telling us we had only 4 hours to sleep... however, we really slept for 8.
That night, some of the boys were already crying, I can only recall a grin on my face... I had known exactly what I was getting myself into... the others could always see it in me.
Zero week was something that the TI’s constantly told us was our hell... but I really did not think it was that bad... that was the week of basically getting hair cuts, clothing issued, mandatory items, and so on. Overall it was just in-processing, the same goes for the first week of training.
Every day, as usual, we woke up at about 4am and of course, screaming was the voice of the day. We would go to the chow hall, many nearly wetting their pants, and it would be off to processing, or off to appointments.
We had the impression that we would not be exercising until the Monday of first week, as our blood work had not yet come back as to whether or not we were healthy enough too... or so that is what I assume the work was all about, but the point of the matter is, we pushed plenty of times before that event, and after the work came back, we had started our official PT (physical training) or PC (physical conditioning).
Zero week seemed like it was aimed at humiliating trainees... the TI’s would like to pin point individuals, have them get in front of everyone, and try to answer a question, such as “What is a reporting statement?” - when they would answer, unless they had gotten it perfectly correct, they would get yelled at for about 3 minutes on how worthless they were. Then they would pick another person and do the same... I was not one of those people, but I did witness a few either cry, or smirk only to then regret doing so moments later.
I almost smiled once in front of a TI... too bad they never knew I was laughing when they were gone...
First Week was the introduction to PT, and a more balanced schedule, we would have first week briefings, a few more appointments to get shots, dental work done, and so on. The shots really were not too bad, I actually was alright with them, other than the one you must take in the rear... yes, you do get a shot in the rear, it’s not too bad, it just feels achy for a while, and may make you jump when you get it.
For the most part, first week is much like zero week with more exercise, and the introduction to things like, dorm guard, drill & general details.
Second - Fourth Week
They say BMT gets easier over time, as people tend to screw up less... this can often be true, but for us, it wasn’t at all... in fact we were probably the most abused flight in the squadron. By the time we got to the fifth week, we had less patio breaks (1) and less base liberties (0) than those on second week.. Like so many say, it all just depends on your instructor.
Through the second to the fourth week, you’re simply learning drill, continuing to attend appointments, get pictures taken of your flight, working details, kitchen duty, and random other things that the TI’s can think of.
Fifth Week - Warrior Week
I personally hate warrior week, it’s basically like being back in the dormitories, except everyone pulls dorm guard every night (well, at least for us, because 8 people were recycled) - and there is less hygiene focus, not that we had much of that anyway. You must carry a dummy gun with you everywhere, learn how to use a gas mask, eat MRE’s for most every meal (meals ready to eat... ick).
The high points of Warrior Week was the graduation ceremony, the confidence course (other than that really loud and mean TI who basically ruined it for us before we started by calling us all imbeciles, worthless, etc) & the shooting range. Other than that, it was a complete bother.
What you need to learn during warrior week is to not fall asleep on dorm guard, or during any briefing. Don’t aim your fake gun at anyone, don’t drop your gun, don’t put it down. Don’t take off your gas mask during the training course unless you are told (you will survive, just hang in there) - Don’t put down your mask case, ever ~ I saw a couple guys fail because they put theirs down.
And as always, don’t be late for anything.
Sixth Week & Graduation
By this time, you should know who will graduate with you, though many are recycled due to bad decisions on town passes etc. even though it is sixth week, you can get recycled, easily.
For us, sixth week was no easier than second week, it’s just not over till you get to tech school really, so if/when you go, don’t ever lose your focus.
Sixth week is all about learning to wear your blues, getting your final orders, and finally seeing your family/friends.
My sister, her friend, my mom & my girlfriend came to visit me... I honestly was worn out, and drained, the last week was the hardest for me, as they had constantly threatened to take away my job, and said they would not let me see my family, I only later found out they could not actually do that...
Thursday was the day we first got to see our family, and have a short base liberty, Friday was graduation, where we just did one march in front of bleachers (having family members and high ranking officers there) and basically then just waited to be snatched away by someone who knew you. Saturday was a town pass, and Sunday was another base liberty ~ it would have been much more enjoyable if only the TI’s had not threatened to take away our base-libs and town passes away every moment we were back in the dorms...
It’s just so weird, why would the TI’s continue to badger you when they know you’ve already made it to graduation?
[sighs] One of the last moments we had with our TI’s was Amnesty Hour, where everyone tells the truth about the flight, its members and so on...
A lot of people told me I was extremely sarcastic, and that nothing phased me... which is true, up to the 6th week at least... I just began to break down in that time as I so desperately wanted to see my family, I had planned for it, same with my occupation ~ and they acted like they could take that away, that they could take away my life... it killed my spirit in a lot of ways. Before that I would always smile after the TI’s had just finished screaming at me, and I was pretty much always smiling or laughing about something I found funny.
Overall, sixth week was the goodbye, many said goodbye to basic training, some could say goodbye to Texas, others were stuck there for longer as their tech school was on the same base, I was one of those people...
I look back now, and wonder if half of boot camp was even necessary, a lot of it just seemed like it was to hurt us, we were broken down, or so that’s what I saw in others when I would enter the bathroom, and hear crying coming from behind the bathroom stalls... they never really brought us back up...
An example of what misery we went through in boot camp is... Amnesty Hour again... our TI’s told us that everything we had done, everything they said, was the truth, they really did hate us, they really did think we were their worst flight...
They said these things even after we graduated...
I want you to know, that not all boot camp flights are like this, some can be fun, ours however was terrible, our TI’s broke the rules, and told us to have integrity. They would do so many things that they would bust us for, it was like learning from someone who was not even wiser than you were...
The Air Force is a highly respectable branch of the military, and many of its members are amazingly positive individuals, however, the TI’s we were given, they did not help us as much as they hurt us ~ some could say that makes us stronger, but those who really think about it, know we are all weaker now...
I don’t want to scare anyone away, just remember what you are getting yourself into, it will be over in 6 weeks, can you handle it? I sure did... but I was slipping in the end... I don’t know how many of the people who were in our flight survived... they were as bad as I was in the sixth week the first day they got there.
Good luck, too all of you, as it was rarely about skill ~
Random: Motivational Statement
The venture to supremacy is not a course in life many choose to take. Your journey must involve ideas, logic, aspiration, and most of all, the willingness to work consistently on one task until it has become profitable and/or complete.
Focus on your future, do not let the present or the past rule your ambitions. Work every free hour of your years, work at all times where boredom and unnecessary rest is found.
Depend on yourself, live for yourself, yet consider others. You are the power, you are the future. Let this be a fact in itself, and find nothing to hold you from your goals.
Script: Safety Sam & Vincent
Safety Sam: Hello folks! This is Safety Sam saying hello from Safety Sams Spectacularly Super Safety Special... Hour!
Vincent: Fail to introduce me, and die mortal.
Safety Sam: Of course silly! Yes, welcome Vincent!
Vincent: I don’t need your pathetic welcoming fool!
Safety Sam: Ooookay! Well, today we are going to discuss crossing the road... now children, always remember to look both ways before you...
Vincent: Die! [laughs histerically in the background]
Safety Same: Actually I was going to say “cross” but I guess everyone is right in their own spectacularly special way!
Vincent: Cross? Jesus died on a cross, because he was a pathetic mortal!
Safety Sam: I was not talking about the Bible, I was...
Vincent: You were preeching about God, just a few seconds ago, because you love him! And you want to get on your knees and please him!
Safety Sam: Vincent you’re making me feel uncomfortable!
Vincent: Shut up pathetic mortal, this is my show now, seperation of church and state foooel!
Safety: SHUT THE F&$# UP YOU STUPID WANNA BE FREAK!
Safety: I’m sorry... tee hee hee! I just want everyone to be happy! Jesus makes me sad.
Vincent: Fine mortal, let us find a way in which we may extend our lives only to think more of our inevitable deaths.
Safety: You know, I get paid to talk to you. Tee hee hee.
Vincent: You know, I get paid to want to kill you.
Safety: [sighs] Tomorrow we’ll have a new guest on who’s not an absolute social retard! Yaaay!
Vincent: I know all things mortal, your address is one of the things I know, sleep with one eye open fool.
Safety: Show’s Over!