Be, All That You Can Be... In The Army!
I took the ASVAB(Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery) test while I was a Senior in High School and did well enough that I was solicited by US Army recruiters. It sounded like a good idea because I didn't have any plans for after graduation. My folks didn't have the means to put me through college and the Army was offering a lot of money for education. It was agreed, I was to join up soon after I graduated high school. My Dad had to sign for me because I was underage(17).
I had performed pretty well on that ASVAB test, so I was able to choose just about any job that I wanted. I chose a field in Signal Intelligence, I can not remember the proper name for it but it was Signal Intelligence Communications Warfare or something like that. Anyway, so I go to Basic Training at Ft Dix N.J. and one day, they have me report to an office where they are going to ask me some questions. See, this job that I am going to train for requires a Top Secret Clearance and this questioning is part of the background check. They wanted to make sure that everything that I had said on the sign up forms was true. It was like an interrogation and they told me how important it was that I was being truthful because once I had a security clearance, I could be blackmailed by the bad guys if they found any skeletons in my closet. So if I had anything to confess, any falsities on my sign up form, the time was now..
Well yes, there was this one thing. Back when I was with the recruiting agent, he had to ask me if I had done drugs. I told him, the truth, that I had smoked some marijuana. He said that I should probably just leave that out because it would not look good for the job I was going for and I said okay. But now, here I am in this room being interrogated and I'm wondering in the back of my mind if they had talked to any of the few people that knew that I had smoked marijuana.
I decided I had better come clean. I explained the whole thing how I had experimented a little, and how the recruiter had suggested that I keep it to myself. Well, it was kind of a big deal, I had to write it up in my own words. I thought telling the truth was going to help my situation but I soon learned that I was denied for a security clearance and that I was going to have to be reclassified to another job.
They gave me a few choices and I choose 81E - Illustrator. When Basic Training was complete I went to Lowry AFB in Colorado for training in that field. Very early one morning after I got back from Christmas vacation, there was a loud pounding on the door to the room that I shared with one other student. It was what they call a health and welfare inspection and they were shaking down all the rooms on our floor. They searched`our room and they were done, but then the MP guy goes to look at one more thing, a sock on the floor under my bedside table, and he finds my little hash pipe. I think he must've sensed it from my looks, I must've been a little nervous or he might of caught me looking at that sock. So now the MP has scored and they are going to probably find it so I tell them where my stash is hidden. I had a little bag of marijuana that I had brought back with me from Christmas vacation. It was in an empty cassette box in my locker. Rush - Signals was the cassette box the bag was in and the MP told me, Oh yeah, I like Rush too, LOL! I can laugh about it now but at the time I didn't have much to smile about.
So, Anyway, This is January of 1984 and now I have me an Article 14 and I've lost my first stripe. Okay so lets fast forward to January of 1987. I'm stationed at Ft. Lewis in the state of Washington. I am freshly returned from Christmas vacation again. This time my girlfriend and her friend flew up from Los Angeles to see me. From Seattle, we drove to Vancouver B.C. to ski at Whistler. One night at the hotel, a guy approaches me because he is interested in these two girls I'm with and he wants to get a feel if he can get some action I guess, so he offers to smoke a joint with me and I accept.
After that vacation was over, I was back at Ft. Lewis and I am called on for a random urinalysis test. I'm Positive. This is my second incident and I am kicked out of the Army 4 months before my scheduled discharge date. I received what they call a 'general discharge under honorable conditions' which is a step below an honorable discharge.
You know, when I was reassigned to a different job while I was in basic training, I had to write to my Dad and Explain to him what had happened. It was one of the hardest things I had to do at that point because I was ashamed and as far as I knew, he wasn't aware that I had tried marijuana.
When I got discharged, I lied to my folks and said that I was getting out early under some early out program to save money.
To this day, I have never admitted to my Dad that I was kicked out.