Today is the first of 90 days on active duty with the Army. I am at Fort Meade in Maryland attending the defense information school. This morning my wife saw me looking anxious as I got ready to leave and asked what was bothering me. I thought for a minute and then told her that I was thinking about going to a new unit and having active duty soldiers presume I was a shitbag.
The Army and all military services are very competitive. Everyone is sizing everyone else up based upon their appearance or how they speak or how they carry themselves. So I know that when active duty soldiers see someone who is my age and my rank they assume I am some kind of hold over National Guard failure. At my age I should be a general or a Sgt. Major or a warrant officer five. They don't assume I started over after a quarter-century break in service.
When I reported to school today they sent me to the billeting office to get quarters. I walked in the company responsible for quarters and told them I was reporting for school. There were four young soldiers at two desks in that room. One of them got up to ask the Sgt. in charge where I should be assigned a room. The soldier who was walking turned and asked one of the soldiers who is sitting down which group I should be in.
One of the soldiers who is sitting down said with an obvious sneer “He’s a reclass, look at him.”
The soldiers who attend Army schools are either straight from basic training or they are being reclassified. I am obviously not straight from basic training.
At 5 AM tomorrow morning I will start to undo one assumption that young active duty soldiers make about old National Guard sergeants. Students have physical training every morning at 5 AM. They will expect me to have a profile or waiver and not participate.
When I reenlisted six years ago I knew this would happen. At the time I didn't think I'd still be here past age 60. Tomorrow I will process into the school and do what ever other paperwork and medical tests they require.
And tomorrow night I will let you know how things go with fitness training. It should be fun.