Saturday, March 6, 2010

How I Began My Military My Career - Jack K.

The year was 1954. We lived in Lancaster, PA where my step-father was stationed. He made the army his career. My father also served in the army. We moved to Lancaster in the middle of my senior year of high school. It was a much larger school than the previous one.

During that time I was friends with a young man who was no longer in school. This young man was having a difficult time making ends meet. If it weren’t for what we then called his “Arkansas credit card”, he wouldn’t have enough gas for his car. I tried to talk him out of siphoning gas, but to no avail. Unfortunately I was with him once when he did it. A high school student who was mad at me told the police about it. The police came to school and whisked me away to the county jail where I spent the night. My mom and step-dad decided that it might do me some good.

The next day my step-dad bailed me out and we appeared before the magistrate. At that time joining the military was a reasonable option for young men who found themselves in legal difficulties. Since I was very close to graduating and had no other job prospects it was an easy decision. On June 15, 1954, I enlisted in the US Air Force. I spent four years in the air force and achieved the rank of SSGT E-5 prior to ending my enlistment.

With the availability of the Korean GI Bill I was able to go to college. While attending Arizona State University, I enrolled in Army ROTC. I was commissioned at the completion of summer camp. The Military Police Corps was my first choice for branch assignment. The first orders I received were to attend the officer basic course, go to a duty assignment for six months of active duty and spend the remaining duty requirement in the active reserves. It is funny, now, how things can change so suddenly. While I waited the month from the end of summer camp to reporting for training, those damned fools built the Berlin wall. It didn’t take long for me to receive a telegram extending my orders from six months to two years.

Well that was a start. Somewhere along the way I changed my status to voluntary indefinite. Between tours to Viet Nam I then decided to go Regular Army. I stayed with it until I had accrued 22.5 years of active Federal service and then retired.

There just may be a few more stories to share. Stay tuned


  1. I knew several young men who chose the military as an avenue as escape from problems in their lives.

    All of them, in the long run, were the better for it and became upstanding citizens. Military servitude had a way of turning troubled lads into men.

    I dare say you have no regrets.

  2. None at all. Hindsight is perfect. There were days when I wondered, though.

  3. nice to get to know the details! But why MP?

  4. SSG, I was still influenced by positional power. It took a while for me to discover the concept of personal power. It's never too late for that discovery.