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*22 February 2002 - A Major Pain*
Something rather odd happened to me the other day. I received a
message on my answering machine from an Air Force officer that said
that he was interested in reaching me to speak about the possibility
of having me pursue a commission and act as an officer in the
Air Force. The guy was calling from Air Education Training Command
(AETC) HQ at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama.

Now, I'm sure some of you have been pestered by military recruiters in
the past. The thing about recruiters, though, is that they go after
people in order to get them to enlist as grunts in the military. They
don't actively seek out people for officer positions because the
qualifications to become a military officer are much steeper than
those for the enlistees. Also, even if a military recruiter DOES call
you, it's a sergeant at the local recruiting office for your area, not
some captain based out of another state.

So why was this guy calling me?

Curiousity got the better of me, and I called him back the next day.
It turns out that my prior military record was flagged to come under
review after a certain time period had passed, and this guy was
assigned to handle it. You see, at one time I was on my way towards
becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. I had received one
whopper of an Air Force ROTC college scholarship straight out of high
school, and I figured that going to college for free wasn't going to
suck. Plus, I was guaranteed a job as a military officer when I
finished college. Not too bad a deal, right?

Right. Sure it was. That's why I dropped my scholarship two years
into the four year program. I think I spent more time shining my
shoes than sleeping for those two years.

Anyway, I dropped the ROTC program, eventually paid back all the
scholarship money, and all was well. When I reported to the ROTC
detachment at college in my sophomore year and said that I wanted out,
they wanted a formal statement from me saying exactly why I wanted to
leave. What I said was:

"I want to concentrate on my studies. ROTC takes too much time, and
it's impacting my education. I'd prefer to pursue a commission once
I have completed my bachelors degree."

... what I really meant was ...

"I'm tired of making banners out of bedsheets, I'm tired of having to
bark 'HOO-RAH!' at the top of my lungs whenever some idiot says the
words 'Air Force', and I'm tired of doing hundreds of push-ups while
someone stands next to me yelling encouraging things along the lines
of 'You're a DISGRACE, cadet!!'."

Yeah, that's what I really meant. But I have a feeling that since I
was about to go into debt to these folks for roughly 2 years worth of
college tuition, it was best not to push the issue.

The combination of my rather open-ended statement and my spectacular
test scores on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) marked me
as a prime target for an officer commissioning program, so they
tagged my file. With the US military ramping up a lot more these
days, I guess the Air Force wanted to make sure they have all the
officers handy that they'll need. And they must be have a big need
for officers... I figure that breaking a scholarship contract with the
government would place me a spot or two behind the candidates without
legs when it came to any sort of offer for a military commission.

I assured the officer that I had no further interest in pursuing a
commission with the Air Force. He gave me a bit of a recruiting
pitch, but let's face it... going through more abuse and getting paid
a whopping $27K a year as a 2nd lieutenant wasn't high on my list of
fun stuff to do. The guy wouldn't let up, and he continued to dig
through my file and tell me why I was perfectly suited for a life in
the military.

"Mr. Henderson, you have a spectacular service record. The only thing
I can see on your record that has any kind of negative connotation
is... *typetypetype*... something about a rifle and the Daytona
Beach police?"

Uh oh. I forgot about that little incident. They actually wrote that
down in my record? It must have been a slow day at my detachment and
someone felt the urge to file a report on it. Well, it HAD involved
the local police, and it HAD involved an ROTC cadet, so the training
detachment probably was required to record the incident in my file.
Still, if something like that was going to stop the military from
trying to recruit me again, I guess it wasn't quite so bad after all.

I heard him tap a few keyboard keys as he quickly went through the
report in front of him. He was quiet for a little bit before he
asked, "did they really send out three squad cars for that?"

"Well, the police are a little over-zealous down there," I replied.
No kidding they were over-zealous... I used to cause at least one
major explosion a week in that neighborhood, so the cops were always
on edge when it came to any reports of disturbance in the area. The
police probably thought they had a terrorist in town.

I could almost hear the marbles rolling around inside this guy's
head. He apparently had only just now spotted that blemish on my
record while he was on the phone with me, and now it appeared that he
was trying to gracefully back out of the conversation.

"I see. Well, I'm sorry to have taken your time. I can tell that you
aren't interested in a position as a military officer, and I can
respect that. Have a good day, Andrew." And with that, he hung up.
Not so graceful, but at least he left quickly.

What's the scoop on the incident with the rifle, you ask? Good

A good question indeed.

Next Military Update: Rifles, and the women that love them.

When this .plan was written: 2002-02-23 07:49:02
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