"Can't match wit, with warriors..."
As rapped by Lupe on 2015's Tetsuo & Youth ("Blur My Hands [ft Guy Sebastian]").
Given my recent affinity for lists and the collection of fading memories from my time in the military, I figured what's one more foray into the fray.
1.) I showed up to Basic (Training) with a small Afro, and more or less returned home from Iraq the same way three years later; with several close cuts in the meantime between time.
2.) I blew one of my knees out about halfway thru Basic on a ruck-march (fast paced walking with heavy packs for a [usually] predetermined distance). To this day, I don't know how on earth I recovered so quickly, and to the extent that I made it thru the rest of those grueling subsequent marches, save one or two during convalescence.
3.) I bought my first Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) with my first certified check (thanks to my enlistment bonus) while I was at the lowest enlisted rank (PV1; Private; E-1) at the time, from one of the highest enlisted ranks, Sergeant Major (SGM; E-9). It was an SUV.
4.) Received my first case of bruised ribs from a random bodyslam during training. The fight was a draw and I definitely put a hurting on my Battle (Buddy) too.
5.) Bought my first digital camera while I was deployed, which I used extensively during the few short months that I was blessed enough to be a dismount (as opposed to a trucks guy or a "Fobbit"). Random facts: It was waterproof with a 12x zoom feature, and later gifted to one of my brothers/cousins after he joined.
6.) Copped my first iPod and laptop right before deployment. Good times.
7.) Purchased at least half of my book, DVD, and CD collections right before I deployed too. Catalogs.
8.) Caught my first case of severe vertigo immediately before we deployed. Not fun. Too much sodium in my diet, and far too little water intake were the catalysts if memory serves me right.
9.) Bought my first round trip plane tickets not long after getting to my unit; during Spring Break after my first Xmas away from home. Wasn't exactly a sanctioned trip; tho, it was a blessing.
10.) Bought and sold a few .40 cal pistols as well as a 12 gauge shotgun. "Boy, I tell ya, I miss [em]!"- Common ('94).
11.) Bought myself another POV right after deployment. It was a sedan to replace the truck that I destroyed.
12.) Went on my first personal road trip as a driver during my time "embracing the suck". From Seattle, WA to Portland, OR.
13.) I was the first, I believe, to receive a myriad of birthday cards from all over the country during deployment; thanks to none other than my lovely mom's support group "Parents Of Deployed Service-members (PODS)". It was previously called "Parents Of Deployed Soldiers".
14.) Skipped an election that I was eligible to vote in for the first time approximately eight months before my deployment. Ron Paul would've won my vote, and feasibly the election, hands down had he not been blackballed by the Lame-stream media (Mainstream media, aka the MSM).
15.) Bought my first LG smartphone as well as my first BlackBerry. Definitely regret not getting insurance on that Voyager(?).
16.) I'm pretty sure that I still have about a rack ($1,000) in limbo thanks to a Western Union gone wrong while attempting to support the Fam. Won't make that mistake again!
17.) Had my first dealings with racism while I was in. It's everywhere.
18.) Received my very last flu shot right before I got out. Actually, that was the last vaccine that I got in general.
19.) Received my first two speeding tix, and back to back at that (long story). Appeared in court for the first time, and beat both fines thanks to the officers being no-shows (praise Sweet Baby Jesus!).
20.) Turned 21 while Over There, and bought my first bottle of wine not long after making it "Back To The World" (Curtis Mayfield, 1973).
All in all, I definitely don't regret my stint with the U.S. Army. Would like a mulligan on several scenarios. Either which way, wouldn't trade the experience for the world.