FUTURE SOLDIERS DON’T SAY I DID NOT WARN YOU!

For all you future soldiers of our great nation who are pondering your entrance into our armed forces, THIS IS FOR YOU! This is a must read for anyone who will be placing their John or Jane Hancock upon government paperwork that legally binds you to any entity you so choose to be apart of.

This is dry dock 2000 Bremerton Washington PSNS Puget Sound Naval Ship yard and the picture was taken in front of the screws in the rear of the ship. What a time to be alive!

This is certainly not a sway away from this decision nor is it a recommendation to join a military branch. I do however have great admiration for those who do and you, if you can complete your initial basic training, will always be my brother or sister, however, I want to take it upon myself at this time, and feel obligated to lead those who want basic general advice from an actual Navy veteran whom lived it and suffered heartache and regret for many mistakes I made out of utter youthful ignorance. I want to help all of you who want it to become a soldier in the correct way, what to do, look out for, mistakes not to make, preparations made for future successful achievements. I want to teach you the way about it where your military career will be easy going with no speed bumps like I encountered. My experience in the military was not so great and if I had someone such as myself doing this here for me then I probably would have retired military but due to my youth, trusting in people, and ignorance I overlooked many things that led to my despising my own government and feelings of betrayal racked my being and causing a short end to my Naval career.

First of all you must decide if this is truly the right option for you in your life. If you earned a scholarship to Harvard then I seriously doubt I’d throw it away for a uniform. If you absolutely must insist on serving in this sort of case then for gods sake please listen here. First, go to school, get your degree, enjoy your youth and college life, than if you still feel you must wear a uniform join up because with a degree you will pass going to jail and wrap the monopoly go board and dominate your career. Instead of washing dishes you’ll be an instant officer of high rank and live life spoiled and in high cotton by the government. If at all possible do not, I repeat, do not join as an enlisted man. Example the navy, E-1 through E-3 is ideally ranks you want to avoid at all cost. Get at least two years college before joining or if your an Eagle Scout you’ll be an E-3 upon basic training entrance then upon your pass and review four months later you’ll be promoted to E-4 if you do not get into trouble and that’s not a bad entrance. You will hate life as an E-1 or 2 washing dishes, working mess decks or galley, basically doing all the shit work. This is a complete waist of time that takes precious rank promoting time away from your career. Would you rather do a year washing thousands of plates per meal or perhaps doing a job that you actually want to be training at for your career advancement. Through proper and smart singing up, making sure everything is done correctly to where you know exactly what is going to happen in every step of your career is key for a happy career. Do not join with an undesignated status as for what job you want to do. They will say of so you don’t know what you want to do in our great fighting force, no problem whatsoever. You can join up, finish basic training, report to your first command, they will show you around and all the different job potentials for you according to your test score qualifications, then you can choose what you like and within six weeks you will be training for the career of your choice with that actual division. That was the route I took and they immediately put me into deck department 1st division under the command of Command Master Chief Santos, a short Spanish and old hard salty ass hole who thrived and loved being an ass hole. I marched into his office onboard my aircraft carrier and said, “Master Chief, I firmly wish to request beginning my training with the Gunners-mates as that is my choice in career and wish to begin training as promised upon signing up for the Navy!?” He glared at me as I stood at attention in front of him with my thousand mile stare not daring to lock eyes with the big bull and said, “Sailor, seaman recruit Richard, you don’t realize that upon singing your contract your recruiter fucked you! He failed to tell you, apparently, that if you sign undesignated that gives your Master Chief in charge of you full decision on whether or not what is right and best for you and that happens to be me. I could allow your request however I feel for right now and since we are in need of men to fill much needed boots in deck department I am going to decide against your request and keep you here with us until your four is up. Then you can reenlisted and I’ll then sign you over to the gunners. First however you must stay deck department whether like it or not. Your ass is mine my friend not get the fuck out my office shit bag!” I was devastated, this meant he was robbing me of four years of training and knowledge, a huge head start for me and my career. This meant I’d have to wait four years doing the jobs no one wanted to do, waiting precious learning time and experience, rank increases and so much more. This is a worst nightmare of all and nothing I could do. This was the catalyst and first blow to him sabotaging a loyal sailors confidence in my military that I so loved. This led to my ultimate discharge and the Navy lost me and believe me at my Captains Mast I was greatly complimented on by my chain of command there and the captain said he wishes he didn’t have to let me go because sailors of my caliber were hard to come across and the ideal type to groom for and into an accomplished and successful career. He was saddened to have to let me out because I chose to smoke some marijuana and get out. I knew in nine months after release I could ask for an upgrade in discharge which was Other Than Honorable and so I did and luckily with the help of my towns chief of police, priest, and mayor and their letters of recommendation I received my request sent to Washington D.C. to the Admiral back with my new DD-214 paperwork with my honorable discharge on it. All this could have been avoided, the navy would never have a highly trained sailor that they spent millions on to whip into shape and groom, I would have had a career like what was initially promised to me, my life would have been a lot better. And by no means am I condoning my actions by weed smoking to purposely be discharged but at that time almost everyone was doing exactly that, it was a problem for the navy. I was wrong and should have just sucked it up and ultimately blame no one but myself for being young, ignorant, too trusting in people or gullible, should have really read and gone over my contract to make double even triple sure, quadruple even, maybe hired a lawyer to read it to make sure everything that was being promised to me and reasons why I decided to chose one certain branch over them all was all in my contract therefore must be done in accordance. If you sign that contract and you were promised a 30,000$ sign on bonus, like myself, and many other things then find out afterwards that those things were not included in your contract then you are officially screwed. They own your ass and not a name anymore your now a number and you will be given what you signed up for included in your contact and only those things. The stuff “accidentally” left out by your deceiving snake of a recruiter who sees you as only a promotion in rank and more ribbons for his chest plate with praise for signing up people for as cheap as they could get you. I was screwed out of my career and my 30K sign on bonus and had to witness all the others smart enough or lucky enough to receive an honest recruiter and got their money and enjoying brand new motorcycles and cars fresh out of basic training with that money and I was left suicidal and depressed to the point I gave up on anything dealing with my beloved military that since a kid couldn’t wait to be a loyal soldier for and maybe even die in battle heroically. As long as I could remember that is all I wanted and when I get it the stab me in the back so deep the wound to this day is still trying to heal but never will. I’m now 41 years old and now have manic bipolar depressive disorder, PTSD, severe insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, night terrors, alcoholism, drug abuse but now five years sober, four suicide attempts, four hospitalizations, in several new medications, see a psychologist every month and councilors. I never got over my bad luck and how wronged I was and I was not even close to being the only one. Everyday I think of it as my greatest failure and how could such an accomplished and well rounded good kid end up with that fate. I consider myself as the ultimate failure to myself and my family and it mentally and physically has taken its toll on me as a person. This is a traumatic event to have to live with for anyone and I am writing this today and now because I do not want to see others have to deal with this torment when it is so easily avoidable and unnecessary. Anyone and everyone who signs that blank check and themselves over to their country willingly should always get what is promised to them. They deserve that and believe me will earn every bit of it. I did three and a half years and felt more like 14 years because of the rigor daily life of a sailor in deck department. Days with no sleep, going from line handling to one of many four hour watches some in unforgiving sea weather then to your 12 hour daily shift then do four to six battle station drills a day at all times of the day and night then to the spray team or needle gun team on your knees on nonskid for hours. Often I’d feel like I wouldn’t make it and I was going to fall out unconscious but just when you think you have nothing left in you you find more somewhere and learn that there is always a little more but it don’t stop the mental draining fact that you feel like the walking dead wanting to actually die to get ready at least but not allowed to die only to keep getting whipped to perform like a horse. Life onboard was never ending, everyone hates everyone, four to six thousand people at any given time elbow to elbow all eating, sleeping, shitting, farting, stinking, working, playing, partying, fighting, etc, etc…together…always freaking together. This does form a tight form of brother and sister bond amongst each other. One day slugging it out and the next buying each other a beer in port. I would never trade my service no matter how horrible I was treated for anything in the world and would do it all over again exactly the same way good and bad if I was told the way I had it or nothing. I wish I could do it all over again but with what I know now and go about it to form and mold a perfect career for myself that I would of loved, deserved, and should have never been deprived of. I didn’t and no one deserves that especially considering I signed my life over to my country to do my duty and my part. Go to high school and keep out if trouble, do not get a police record at all, don’t do drugs and make the best grades you possibly can. Graduate with honors and get scholarships or grants and study like crazy to score high on the college entrance exam. Go to college and start early with a solid decision of what you want to do with the rest of your life as a career. Think about this long and hard make sure it is something you will always enjoy doing and excelling in, that you see yourself doing for 20-40 years possibly happily. Choose something that feels like fun and not work to you and that you’d constantly and consistently achieve a better and better intelligence about. Get the study guide for the military ASVAB entrance test and get also the ASVAB for dummies book and spend a lot of time perfecting everything you can find that may be on it from engineering to mathematics, English to military history. Get the Blue Jacket or military law not civilian totally different and learn them, learn all your can about military rank and rates and what it takes to be successful at them. Learn your General rules and chain of command and proper marching formats in front of your chain of command and all that. Really familiarize yourself with military life, if you have someone in the military or ex-military that will be willing to show you the ropes the more you know the better off you’ll be allowing you to focus on more pressing things that would otherwise leave you behind always attempting to catch up. When you receive your degree from college and your continent in your ASVAB knowledge and ready to smoke that test then you call a recruiter and schedule a sit down with him. I’d suggest finding one that’s honest or one that you know personally. Or have an ex-military or active member sit with you for the meeting. Explain to him or her that you know all the tricks they try and screw people with right off the bat that way they reluctant to try any funny business even if you don’t actually know. This is a form of reverse psychology that will allow somewhat of a level playing field. Never trust any one trying to recruit you no matter what. I was positive mine was honest and my best friend bringing us to see the blue angels and eat out, just really charismatic and friendly but this deception is learned while in the fleet, we all develop this because you deal with all types of people from all walks of life all the time 24/7 and you learn to profile people quickly and how to make friends with anyone. Just the way it is. Then he totally screwed me and I never saw him again. He never cares I was only another one signed up on his books and promotion for a great Navy Job Sailor. Take that test and never be satisfied until you want to be satisfied because you can take it as many times as you want before signing the, your ass is now property of the US government and will be jailed if you try to back out, dotted line. DO NOT SIGN ANY PAPERWORK UNTIL YOU ARE 100% POSITIVE, not 99.9% but 100% POSITIVE YOU WILL HAVE EVERYTHING YOU COULD WANT OR NEED TO BE HAPPY AND HAVE AN OUTSTANDING CAREER OF MEANINGFUL WORLDLY EXPERIENCE AND SOCIAL SKILLS. IT WOULD DEFINITELY BE WORTH PAYING A GOOD LAWYER TO COMPLETELY GO OVER AND MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS UNDERSTOOD. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW ALL YOUR RIGHTS, what you can and can not do once it’s a done deal. Always keep in mind that you will be entering the real world now, this isn’t a high school soap opera. The world is brutal and unforgiving, it will eat you up and spit you out without a second guess. You have to develop a hard and tuff exterior and attitude. Don’t act timid or shy, be assertive and demand what it is you want and what it is you will tolerate and will not tolerate from your peers who will always try to get a one up on you however they can. Never allow someone to attempt to run your life and what is in your best interests. If they attempt to run you over then do the same right back only twice as hard to make them second guess even thinking about trying that again. Don’t be scared to stand your ground if fighting is the only option. It’s flight or flight and if you typically have the nature of flight instead of fight in life then DO NOT JOIN THE MILITARY, it’s not for you and you won’t last. It’s kinda like prison, if you allow someone to disrespect you without retaliation then all the sharks will smell you as chum and will constantly try getting a bite out of your ass but if you fight and show them that your not worth the hassle and trouble then they will find other easier chum. Once you have your contract ready to go and you are entering basic training or ROTC if lucky or worthy or whatever entrance you receive and you have your job ready. You did well on your ASVAB so possible four to six year A school on land for four years would be ideal staying off the water unless that’s what you want but Naval schools are never something your want to pass up on. You succeed in basic, and do awesome in school, go in to the fleet to do and learn an awesome top notch job that gives you options. If your decision is to be discharged early you’ll have skills if high paying jobs as a civilian and will always be top of the hiring list anywhere your go. I have a buddy who got out after eight years in cryptology then got out and went to DELL in Denver right next door to the infamous Columbine High School. He seen it all happen when these two young men opened fire there killing many including themselves. He made 500K his first year with that company and was actually hired in with them a year before even being discharged. He’s now a college professor and very rich to the point he don’t know what to do with all the money he has. If you decide to go 20 years at least or even 30 years as a military lifer you’ll be just enjoying time in eating donuts and kicking back collecting bank with everything you own house vehicles children everything payed for by the military. You get lazy and fat then can not pass your PT exam every six months and the military has no option but to boot you out at 20 years with a big fat pension and not compared to military life a boring life and no one to order around. You wanted to get 30 in but most can’t make it that far they get too old and can not run a mile and a half in under 13 minutes anymore and the reason most only get to 20. Either way you still have it made in the shade drinking purple kool-aid riding in an Escalade and your family also. If you finish college with high marks and your ASVAB with outstanding scores then you will enter as an officer junior grade at least and live like gods onboard with a separate galley eating steaks and lobsters living in a state room instead of a birthing with 100 other farting men or women. You are treated like royalty and paid royal bank. If you qualify and go the route of ROTC then surly you’ll be a military god and treated unlike anything your ever going to witness. You basically get paid mad bank to not do much at all except look pretty. Always keep your nose clean, don’t get into trouble because they literally take your pay and rank with ever offense and they are anal about behavior and how you act and represent the branch and the USA. It’s not a good idea to stay in trouble and lose rank because I knew an officer who did just this and within two years he went from a lieutenant Jr grade or the lowest rank officer all the way down to E-5 which is second class petty officer for a total of 4-6 ranks if I remember right. His pay dropped from probably 10K every two weeks to maybe 2500$ which is still not bad but get used to living that life and then have to downgrade and give up the sports car and mansion, the high class supermodel women and all that comes with that lifestyle. Make sure to always make good friends with the guys that stand shore patrol and the master at arms, go out your way even for them and to get in good with them. Bring them a Starbucks while they standing those cold pier watches. Invite them to your gatherings or if your wife or girlfriend has a beautiful single friend without a date introduce them. Stuff like that because in times of need or distress they are the ones that won’t ever let you down or keep you out of the brig with literally bread and water daily every day on average at least three days. Be in the know, keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities that benefit you or your cause because if you don’t take advantage of sometimes really cool opportunities someone will missing out on a possible life changing situation or whatever. Be a leader, never follow the heard because everyone else is. If you disagree with something or someone even if it’s going against the grain of your chain of command then raise your constitutional rights to freedom of speech and make it known that you disagree or dislike and challenge them to explain who, what, when, where, and why. Never stand around with your hands in your pockets, pockets get so many people on the higher ups shit list and in trouble. Hands on, ask questions, get on your teachers nerves, ask dumb questions, don’t be overbearingly obnoxious but show consistent enthusiasm to where they say in private that your annoying but at lest your wanting to learn and succeed. The respect that more than those that don’t care. Never give up, be stubborn, always ask for what you want, if you want a rank upgrade but it’s before they said your time would come for consideration and you been excelling at your job and complimented for it then ask despite what they said. It can’t hurt and who knows I’ve seen it happen. Be brave and willing to take that bullet for your lieutenant commander.

Command Master Chief Santos, the man that single handed caused the navy to lose a lot of money training me and my reason I decided to get out early and lost me as well.

One of my next blogs I want to really get into depth about everything nuclear aircraft carrier and my outstanding naval experiences onboard the second to largest carrier at the time. That’s a story you will not want to miss out in. Trust me. 😁

Always remember: “What does not kill you only makes you stronger. Scars aren’t ugly they are stories, they events, memories good and bad and ultimately say that you lived life and proof that you did so.” ~Jude Richard AKA Piers Grey

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