This is in response to Wanda's post re:entering the service at a young age. What got my attention was her mention of entering at Richmond, Virginia at the age of 22. I also entered at Richmond at the downtown AAFEES Station albeit 10 years earlier also at age 22 during the Vietnam conflict. I was fresh out of college and had received my draft notice only four days after graduation.
I said goodbye to my new wife at 5:30 am in Hampton, VA and under military orders rode the Greyhound to Richmond. The entry day was one of standing in line and listening to the frightful stories about war being told by draftees knowing no more, probably much less, than I did.
At the end of a 10 hr. day of being tested, poked, made fun of and hunger, our group was finally taken to the railroad station for travel to Basic Combat Training at Fort Dix, NJ. I will never forget that night. Already being homesick, I missed my pretty new wife and wondered why in the world God would put me in this situation.
Now over 43 years later, I know. The Army taught me rules, listening to others, and it helped my conquer fear of the unknown. And it ultimately made me much closer to my God and the realization that I needed Him. Following my basic training courses I attended Officer Candidate School and became a 2d Lieutenant of Infantry before heading overseas. I accomplished things I would have never attempted had my service not been required.
So thanks, Wanda, for reminding me. It has been a long time but I still remember vividly that day. Thank the Lord that he keeps our good memories alive while muffling the bad ones. I can laugh thinking about that day. At the time it was no laughing matter.