September 28, 2013

War Stories: 1970s Army or Jail

This story comes to us as an excerpt out of a book Chris Carter is working on. Great flashback, and thanks for sharing Chris. -Brandon

I was one of the people who joined the military right after high school. This was considered pretty crazy in 1979. The Vietnam war had just ended in 1975. It was the days when a judge would say, “Son, you can go to jail or join the Army,” and the guy would actually think about it for a second. I do believe it was the lowest point in the U.S. Army’s entire history. Right after Vietnam, nobody wanted to talk about it. There was no Bruce Springsteen rally cry, no movies, no parades, nothing.

Military Recruiters 101. Your first lesson here is never go to the Recruiter alone. I went alone, of course. I walk in the place and the first door is the Air Force. I never even went in. I very mistakenly thought I was too dumb to get in the Air Force. Keep in mind this is 1979. If you could walk, talk and breath, you could probably get in doing something. The next door was the Navy.

My Uncle Doug was in the Navy. I was always fascinated by his tattoos and his Navy stories. I was not so fascinated with being stuck on a boat. Or ship. Whatever. Next door, the mighty U.S. Marines. I didn’t go in that door because I heard the Marines were crazy people. The last door was the Army. Aaah, here we go. I walked in and did the worst thing you could ever do. After a hello the recruiter asks, “So what would you like to do?” I said, “I don’t know.” Never say that to an Army recruiter. It’s different now, but back then they were really hungry for fresh bodies. He probably had me chalked down as “in the bag” after I said that.

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About the Author

is a former U.S. Navy SEAL with combat deployments to Afghanistan, and Iraq. During his last tour he served as the west coast sniper Course Manager at the Naval Special Warfare Center. He is Editor-in-Chief of, and a New York Times best selling author (The Red Circle & Benghazi: The Definitive Report). His writing has been featured in print, and digital media worldwide. You can follow him on twitter here.

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  • razteca

    TastyBeverage YankeePapa Jake75 forwarded to my 68w son.  thanks.

  • decktechonthe1047

    razteca   Holy shit, you're old fart.  09SEP75 for me.

  • razteca

    oh god, i actually spewed coke (maybe some rum too) on my screen.  great story, and really got a kick out of it.  many things in there i can relate to.  thanks.  joined usmc in '75, but many similarities.  ha, still grinning.

  • BlackOatmeal

    It coulda been worse, coulda been Major Drawback, or Major Backlash. At least with Major Gamble I had a chance. He was very cool actually. Its the Army that did the gambling, sent us in without being ready! Thank god we didn't get in trouble.

  • YankeePapa

    KineticFury BlackOatmeal, Also knew an Army Reserve company commander with the last name of "Marvel"... YP