I grew up in Hampton, Virginia, at least for for the first 18 years of my life!
I enlisted in the Army early (July 1978), as a delayed entry soldier and went on Active Duty right out of high school in 1979. As a matter of fact, I celebrated my independence on July 4th and then lost it the next day when I reported to Fort Jackson for Basic Training.
Joining the Army was the best decision I ever made! Basic training was a little difficult, but only 8 weeks and the Advanced Individual Training (AIT) was a breeze. AIT was a 12-week, self-paced course, I finished in four weeks by challenging and passing all the tests.
My goal was to become a mechanic and get a college degree; both of which I accomplished. I first became a 63B, power generation and light wheel vehicle mechanic. I was a little disappointed because it turned out to be the military equivalent to a Jiffy Lube job. But, over time, I would be asked to do more complicated tasks and was eventually called upon to do advanced troubleshooting, repairs, and technical inspections.
In the pursuit of being a mechanic, I obtained an associate degree in mechanical and automotive engineering.
In my first four years of the Army, I went from shop mechanic to shop foreman. The duty stations were Fort Benning, Georgia, Camp Shelby, Mississippi, Fort Benning, Georgia, Camp Garry Owen, Korea, and Fort Hood, Texas.
- 586th Engineer Company, Ft Benning
- Provisional Support Detachment, Camp Shelby, Mississippi
- 43rd Engineer Battalion, Ft Benning
- 4/7 Cavalry, Camp Garry Owen, Korea
- 303rd MI, Fort Hood, Texas
I figured I was doing well if I was supervising a shop within four years and was promoted through the ranks to sergeant, E-5.
At Fort Hood, I reenlisted and chose Korea as my next duty station. That paved the way for further advancement.
Upon arrival in Korea, I was assigned to the 41st Signal Battalion. I became the Battalion Motor Sergeant, an E-7 position which I would hold as an E-5. I also met Donna, another soldier who was also assigned to the 41st, we dated for eight months. she became my wife! We stayed with the Battalion for 5 years. I continued to run the motor pool and worked as a logistician in the S-4. I was promoted to Staff Sergeant during my Tour.
Returning to the States from Korea, I was assigned to the 58th Transportation Battalion, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where, over the next six years, I would hold positions as a 63B Instructor, Operations Sergeant and eventually Chief Instructor for the 63B Light Wheel Vehicle Mechanic's Course. I was promoted to Sergeant First Class, E-7 and finished out my military career.