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This One Time in the Military-Bus Ride

This one time, in the military, I took the weirdest bus ride of my life. The process leading up to boot camp is much different than when you step on the bus to take you to boot camp. Military recruiters are much nicer when you are a customer and a potential quota of theirs. The recruiters are friendly, supportive, and give you very little indication to what life will be like once you step on that bus. I boarded a plane from Kansas City to San Diego and was given instructions on where to go once I landed. I was given a meal token for the San Diego airport, and because of my hatred for lines, I chose McDonald’s as my last civilian meal before boot camp. I arrive at the USO to enjoy my $20 worth of McDonald’s in peace, or so I thought. What I wish I knew is that I didn’t need to board the first bus when I got to the USO. That these guys who came in hollering could have no way of knowing if I was a recruit or a Veteran. But halfway through my fries, the orders were being shouted to GET ON THE BUS, and my abidance to authority caused me to leave my Big Mac and Nuggets behind as I followed the masses to our honorable future, and our living nightmare. The constant shouting would continue for the next 3 months of my life. Once we were on the bus, the drill instructors made us put our heads down as they drove us to the Recruit Depot. If movies have taught me anything, it is that anytime someone is shouting for you to put your heads down, you are likely being robbed. Was I supposed to hold my wallet in the air…who knows? I resisted the urge to comically put my wallet in the air (a good decision by the way) and off we drove. The problem with boot camp in San Diego is the drive. The boot camp facility shares a fence with the airport, so it shouldn’t take long to get to our destination. However, they drive you around in circles for a while as a tactic to intensify the emotions brewing at that point. Then, you get to the infamous yellow footprints. A Drill Instructor comes on the bus shouting as clumsy recruits stumble over themselves as they try to hurry off the bus (an inevitable result of someone yelling at you). It is here that you begin to operate successfully while under intense pressure. It is also here that you question the decision to step on the bus, but by now, it’s too late to turn back. I know I will never have another bus ride quite like that one, but those feelings always come back as I smell the rubber isle strips and leather coverings of any bus I have been on since that day.

This is the first step to changing your entire identity when you enter the military, a process that makes the transition so difficult upon exiting the military. It’s also the reason Camo To College is so important, so we can provide training and a support system for Veterans after exiting the military. Please click the donate button on the right to help us achieve our goals. Whether you donate a little or a lot, we appreciate your commitment to our Veterans!