But somewhere between Business Machines and Business Math classes, I realized something. I really didn't want to spend my days behind a desk. So, instead of dismissing that realization and pursuing my original plan, I changed plans.
My new plan was... I want to be a hollywood stunt man!
Wanting to be a stuntman is an interesting goal for a high school drama geek. All of the sudden it was my goal to work a cool stunt into everything I could get away with. I learned quickly that I did have a few traits important to a stuntman. I wasn't afraid of hitting the floor, in fact, my rolls were as instinctive as they were impressive. I could fall flat on my back from a standing position without flinching. I fell 8 feet from a set of stage portable stairs onto (what looked like) my head... hitting nothing but the hardwood stage floor.
A couple of years of Gravity for Fun and Profit (ok, grades) taught me a few more things about being a stuntman... I wasn't going to be one. While I had the guts for the glory(less) job, I lacked connections, any real knowledge of the profession and well, I really should have kept up on the tumbling classes I started in elementary school
I know that any and all of these could be overcome if I really, really, really wanted to put in the work, but apparently, I really, really, really, didn't want to. So, I made another plan... I joined the Utah National Guard.
My first Guard Unit was Signal Co. 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne). I enlisted as a Single Channel Radio Operator (31c for those of you well versed in Military-ese). Having joined up with that particular brand of US military special ops units, I was also encouraged to volunteer for Airborne School at Ft Benning Ga.
Being a paratrooper isn't exactly a hollywood stuntman, in fact, we regularly made fun of "hollywood" every chance we got. But it did offer the rough and tumble life my adrenals demanded.
A year later, I decided the NG wasn't enough for me and my family, a full time paycheck was much more liveable than a one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer gig. Yeah, I could have continued to try my hand at civilian jobs, but well, my work ethic seemed pretty dependent on how much I liked the job. So off to the Regular Army for me!
Having already completed the Single Channel Radio Operator course at Ft. Gordon, GA, I assumed I could just enlist and pick up some commo slot somewhere (preferrably Airborne), but the guys with more stuff on their collar than I played by different rules.
(Note: As many of you know, there is a right way, the wrong way, and the Army way... the Army way is the way that plays the right way and the wrong way against each other.)
Even though I trained at The US Army Signal Center and School on the Regular US Army post, Ft. Gordon, GA... I trained right there with all the Active and Reserve 31c gonnabees, with the same standards, fighting sleep in the same classrooms, and doing everything else right along with the Active and Reserve troops... since the state of Utah paid for my training, I couldn't realize that commo slot assumption. I had to go somewhere and get trained for another MOS
(Note: MOS: How the Army spells "JOB").
So, my ASVAB scores were put into a computer and viola, the perfect MOS's for me were displayed for all the Army Career Counselors to see. I basically had two choices. Only two choices because, while my Radio training didn't seem to count, since my initial entry training and Jump School put me over the magic number of 180 days, I was considered "prior service".
(Note: "Prior Service" is the classification the Army gives to people who got out of the Army, then decided to get back in. While one would think the Army would appreciate welcoming back one of their own (as well as someone they dumped 10s of thousands of taxpayer dollars into), pretty much the opposite is true. The assumption is that the prodigal son or daughter realized the error of their ways and is coming back with their tail between their feet.
Hence, few choices.
Because I was prior service, the 1st choice was 11X... which means , "Infantry, Open Contract". In other words, whichever flavor of Infantry the Army decided to stuff me. On the other hand, my test scores were pretty high, so my other choice was pretty much 180 degrees different than the first... Intel: Signal Interceptor.
Seems like an easy choice, I mean what's easier than a night and day difference in the options, right? Well, if I wanted to be Infantry (which I admit, I didn't) it would have been the easiest choice ever... After all, what hard charging Infantry wannabee would be able to live with themselves accepting an Intel pogue position. However, there was a catch to the intel pogue thing... I had to pass this strange animal called the D-LAB Test (Defense Language Aptitude Battery)... So the choice really came down to how I did on what could be considered the strangest test in history.
Well... I PASSED. And the rest is history...
Ok, That's enough for now... All stores start with a Chapter 1, hopefully making the reader hungry for Chapter 2... which if you're still here, I'm hoping I did.
See you at Chapter 2 where we'll talk about the silly little geekfest called, "Defense Language Institute"
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