Southern Boy in ChiTown

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

In the Navy

Dad freaked me out yesterday with an email letting me know that my 18-year-old nephew is going to be living about 15 miles away from me for a few months. Here, in fact.

Lady J and I are both having a little trouble coming to grips with my very smart but very slack video-gaming nephew joining the armed forces. Somewhere in the back of my head, I knew it was a possible solution for him and maybe it'll be good for him but pardon me if I have my doubts that the kid that fears pain more than any other human I've ever known is going to get through this.

My family does not have a military history at all. Neither of my grandfathers served, nor did my father or his brother. One of my uncles (Mom's youngest sister's husband) got drafted and served during Vietnam, my other uncle was in NROTC at Vandy but washed out due to health problems after a couple of years. That's it - that's the extent of it. I don't think my brother-in-law's family is any more militarily-inclined. So this is going to take some getting used to.

I'm not anti-military per se, although I have serious issues with the techniques that the military (all militaries) have used to indoctrinate its recruits. I've known very few people that have come out the same - some may have come out better but many come out demonstrably worse (read the frequent newspaper reports back home of domestic violence around Fort Bragg). Most of the people that seem to have come through their experience okay have been folks I knew in college that were a little more mature by the time they joined up. But the kid's been raised by good parents and good grandparents so I think he'll be fine.

And maybe I'll get to show him Chicago...


  • Our nephew is at Parris Island right now. He's joining a Marine reserve unit, not active duty. As I understand the details, he owes them two years only, and he's contractually guaranteed not to be sent overseas except for a 2-week training course in Japan. At this point, I have my doubts about any military contractual guarantee; on the other hand, the administration appears to have figured out that using Iran as the boogyman wasn't helping the GOP's election chances and has switched to Messicans and Teh Gay, so maybe he'll be all right.

    By Blogger Lex, at 5:10 AM  

  • Memories. I did the same thing although I was not a gamer nor did I even own a computer at the time. I can't say that being in the Navy was necessarily a bad thing because my life has turned out fairly well so far. I also can't say that it was a good thing. By week two in boot camp I knew the Navy (military) was not for me but I stuck it out for the next five years. Going to college may have been more fun but I don't know that I would be better off. My family didn't have the money for college and I didn't apply for scholarships. I wish your nephew well and that he keeps his head above water.

    By Anonymous R, at 6:33 AM  

  • Thanks for the comments, R. He's a good kid with (I think) a good head on his shoulders so I think this'll be a good move for him.

    By Blogger Southern Boy, at 12:29 PM  

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