basic training
Marc Carlson/Flickr

I had to jog in order to first get into the Army. My recruiter told me to lose 10 pounds. One day I was running through the woods in a park near my mother’s house and almost stepped on a sleeping snake! It must have been asleep, because he didn’t bite me.

On the night I was supposed to leave for the service, the recruiter had a list of items for me to bring. I took them all with me downtown and they gave us a nice dinner. I thought this was how the Army was going to be: a lot of food and a lot of fun.

A couple of hours later we were on the airplane heading to South Carolina. We got off and went to our base. They gave us uniforms and took our picture at about 2 a.m. We went to sleep and they woke us back up at 4 a.m. with orders. I guess they said “welcome to the Army, Private Smith.”