Happy Memorial Day! My Depressing Yet Hysterical Military “Career”

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I need a montage! A montage!

There were two dreams I’d had since childhood. One? To be a writer. The other? I wanted to be in the military. Dad’s family is Scottish and Mom is all Viking, and our family has served in every war…probably ever (knowing my family, we might have even started a couple).

They heard you get free beer.

Soldiering is in My Blood

Legend has it great-great-great Oma Damsgaard was a hell of a shield-maiden, when she wasn’t haggling over the price of pickled herring or rosemaling the outhouse. Seriously, I watch the AWESOME show Vikings, and I am all like Now it all makes sense.

OPA!

OPA!

Hellions of the Highlands

My father’s side of the family (the Lamonts) fought the English from the Highlands of Scotland, then high-tailed it to America after the clan they’d aligned with to kick some English butt betrayed them and allied with the enemy. Most of the Lamonts were killed, but a few were at sea…probably trying to woo hot Viking women. Anyway, once in America, the Lamonts (now LAMBS) served in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and on and on.

Remember the ALAMO!

I even had TWO relatives at the Alamo (from paternal grandmother’s side–Holland and Rose). Tapley Holland was the first to step across the line and volunteer to fight the Mexican Army. Of course, legend also has it, he thought that was the beer line. Moses Rose was the only one to leave the Alamo, namely because he preferred wine and was tired of fighting. He’d been fighting in the French Army most of his life, thus was used to retreating war-weary and wanted to get home to his family…and wine.

And Miss a WORLD WAR???

My mom’s grandfather lied about his name and age (took his older brother’s name) so he could fight in WWI. He served until they found out and kicked him out, so he just signed up again using his real name. My great-uncle died in Pearl Harbor and my grandfather was a paratrooper in WWII. He served in Northern Japan and helped set up the first elections. Dad and Mom served in the Navy during Vietnam. My Uncle Jimmy was a Navy Master Chef who cooked for two U.S. Presidents.

So, since writing wasn’t a real job, guess what I wanted to do when I grew up? You got it. I am such a joiner. Also, I’d switched high schools so many times I don’t even know how I graduated and I needed college money.

My Brief History of the Army

I decided on the Army since I spoke German and really wanted to live in Germany. After rocking the ASVAB, I pretty much had my choice of what I wanted to do. I get my paperwork filled out, they send me to MEPS, all is good. The day of the physical, I become violently ill out of nowhere and…that part where they make you stand in nothing but underwear (and bra)? Where they check for scars, tattoos, and knee problems? Passed clean OUT. BAM! HIT THE FLOOR!

I have had broken bones, given BIRTH and never passed out….EVER.

As soon as I was out of MEPS? I was fine. Like I’d never been sick.

Even Briefer History of the Navy (Part One)

So I figure, WTH? I’ll try the Navy. Apparently the branches of the military actually do communicate no matter what movies tell you, and a medical disqualification lasts two years.

The Air Force AND MARINES

I go ahead and go to community college. I know I have two years to make AWESOME grades to get a scholarship with the military. The MDQ is up and I apply. I win TWO scholarships. A full ride to medical school from the Air Force and I can go to TCU (where my grandfather went and it’s local so no moving) OR I can take a partial Marine Corps scholarship to be a pilot, but it’s at Texas A&M…which requires moving.

GO USAF! 

I’d love to say I wanted to become a doctor to save lives, but it really had more to do with inherent laziness when it comes to moving. Thus, I decide I am going to be either an M.E. or a flight surgeon (LOVED Quincy as a kid but checking out hot pilots held great promise, too).

So, I swear in.

YES! I MADE IT! I AM TOTALLY IN THE FREAKING AIR FORCE! SCORE! *fist pump*

I spend two years as a Neuroscience major. I am even offered an opportunity to attend the Air Force Academy. I had a congressional nomination AND an AFROTC nomination. Granted, it would mean doing a year over, but hell, I was used to that after high school…and it was THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY! I decide, tempting as it was, I would remain at TCU (the whole “moving thing”). I’d finish my Neuroscience degree and then go to med school in Dallas.

Then, in early March of 1995, Fort Worth has freak ice storm. TCU decides NOT to close the school and I have a paper due. All my school money is contingent on me making As. While rushing to class, I slip, fall…and fracture my lower back.

Yep, you got it. Lost the scholarship and no longer Air Force. Medically disqualified AGAIN.

Ironically, had I gone to the Air Force Academy I would have been okay….or crushed in a freak avalanche.

And We Are Back at the Navy

So a few years later, I am still denying that I really, really want to be a writer, because writing was for homeless hippies who wrote bad poetry at Starbucks, right?

I go to the Navy. I take all the tests. With my degree (Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa) and language skills (I spoke three at the time—now I can barely speak ONE) they TOTALLY wanted me as an Intelligence Officer.

I sign the papers, make an appointment for MEPS. Over the weekend, I have my 5 year-old nephew at the pool…and I slip and get a third-degree sprain on my left foot (tearing almost every ligament up to the knee) and taking off half of my toe (they put it back :D).

BAD KRISTEN!

So SHORT OF HITTING ME WITH FREAKING LIGHTNING, God was all *thump* “NO! You will NOT be military. BAD KRISTEN!”

*celestial newspaper cracks*

Oddly enough, right after the ankle thing, I applied for law school and got in….only “magically” the letter of acceptance made it to me too late. I received the letter the DAY OF Freshman Orientation.

Thus, I do feel I was born to be a writer.  In a sense it seems almost my fate, my path. So if you don’t like my blog, it is totally God’s fault :P. Talk to Him.

Heck, I tried everything else and this is the only thing that has seemed to work, :D. Yet, as a compromise, I DID marry an Air Force guy, so the military tradition remains…though I hope The Spawn grows up to be a writer NOT a Navy SEAL. Or even better, he can write video games ABOUT NAVY SEALS. For what it’s worth, I DO play all the CALL of DUTY games on expert level…though in real life I am ruthless as a rose petal.

Spiders get scooped up and tossed outside.

So please enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend for the REAL heroes out there. Hey, I tried to help but apparently God knows me too well. The Army would’ve told me to charge a hill and I’d be all like, “Um, I dated that hill in college and that is a hill that will NOT change.” 

And, with all my injuries I am more accurate than Doppler radar when it comes to weather.

Have you served? Do you come from warrior stock? Did you give it a good college try like I did? Feel free to laugh at me. I totally do. What’s your story? Kind of hard to outdo this sort of epic stupid, but I double dare you to try :D.

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of May, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of May I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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  1. #1 by Barbara Forte Abate on May 24, 2013 - 10:47 am

    I’m might’ve left a comment if there was anything about this story that can be topped! Just brilliant, Kristen!

  2. #2 by Nin Ashmore on May 24, 2013 - 10:59 am

    Kristen, as usual I love your blog. This is especially sweet! Wow! You did make a valiant effort to bless the beautiful America you were born in. I think you would have made a wonderful contribution and I definitely see you as an officer.

    Me personally? I have never been in the military. My husband was drafted. I don’t think it would’ve been my cup of tea. But! My husband and I have worked with the military in the ministry, and they have a special place in our hearts. The only branch we have not worked with is the Coast Guard. But who knows? Even that is yet, possible. We church planted a church in the Philippines, Okinawa, and Panama, especially for the military and their families. Very rewarding work. God bless our military!

  3. #3 by dianekrause865 on May 24, 2013 - 11:02 am

    Loved this post! It was a blast to read, and I always enjoy your “about Kristen” posts because I’m a native Texan — born and raised west of D/FW, now in Houston. My grandfather was a WWII vet, and I have an uncle who was career Army, which gave me the opportunity to spend two summers in DC during high school (awesome). We’re now honored to have several nephews serving in the military, and two years ago welcomed a son-in-law to our family who is an kick-ass Army captain getting ready to go into Special Forces. (There was a fair amount of gun-slinging going on at our house at Christmas when new pistols were unwrapped.) Our daughter just started a master’s program to eventually become a counselor serving military families. I love that our family is now closer to those who protect and serve our country. And I love that you wanted to, even if you couldn’t.

  4. #4 by jwtroemner on May 24, 2013 - 11:08 am

    Wow– you’ve got an incredible story here!

    My grandfather on my mom’s side served in WWII, on the German side of the conflict (he loved his country, though not the things it was doing), on the Eastern Front. At one point he was wounded and trapped behind enemy lines, and a Russian soldier carried him back to the German side, saving his life.

    He went back to fighting, but this time he was captured and sent to a labor camp in Siberia. The way the story goes, he was one hell of a looker at the time– one of the wardens at his camp was female (come to think of it, that may have been an assumed detail… after all, my Opa never had any hangups regarding gay rights), and developed a crush on him. The warden kept sneaking him extra food and blankets and stuff, keeping him alive until the USSR eventually returned the soldiers back to Germany. He was on one of the last trains. He doesn’t talk much about what happened to him, but he’s got soft spot for Russians.

  5. #5 by Dr. Catherine Al-Meten on May 24, 2013 - 11:09 am

    Dear Kristen, Really enjoyed reading your adventures and the path of most resistance you took to discover your true path. So funny, though probably not as it was happening. You have so much fortitude and determination. Thank you for the reminder of how curvy our paths might be.

  6. #6 by Sherry Joyce on May 24, 2013 - 11:11 am

    “We Are Not Alone” is now a must read! Read your Memorial Day blog and thought it was the best ever written piece–worthy of a visit on Ellen or The View. I laughed and laughed as I read it, enjoying learning so much about your mishaps (and a degree in Neuroscience! Who can say that?), dopler broken bone-weather forecast lady who speaks several languages. I’ve heard that when you don’t get the message from God, he whacks you over the head again until you “get it.”
    Sorry you had to have so many whacks, lol. But writing is your “gift” for all of us to enjoy, be inspired and forge on to successful publication. I hope you submit your article to magazines – not only are you a brilliant, hysterical writer, you are beyond gorgeous, even in a military hat :) Bad Kristen is now Great Funny Writer Kristen!

    • #7 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 24, 2013 - 3:30 pm

      Awww, thanks. Ironically, I have USED EVERYTHING. In this new book I wrote, there is SO MUCH Neuroscience. I talk about how technology changed the actual structure of the human brain. And then the Political Economy taught me to think like an analyst, which made me strong when it comes to seeing trends and breaking down complex ideas to simple, manageable pieces. And the injuries? I ROCK at predicting weather. It DID serve me better when I funneled all that stupid bulldog tenacity into writing, though. Been far less hazardous to my health, ha ha ha ha ha.

  7. #8 by Kira Lyn Blue on May 24, 2013 - 11:13 am

    Wow. Your military history is so much like mine. God sent me a busted knee and two head injuries before I finally got the message, though.

  8. #9 by Sharron Riddle Houdek on May 24, 2013 - 11:27 am

    Kristen, thank you for the fun post! You are where you’re meant to be!

  9. #10 by TLJeffcoat on May 24, 2013 - 11:29 am

    My Dad was a warrior. Marine, crawled around the Vietnam jungle looking for a guy named Charlie. Then became a Drill Sergeant and boxer. Left Marines and went pro for a while. Great stories. Other than that, a lot of military in the family, but I think all the Irish in us made us more like brawlers. I did have relatives in most wars.

    Me? I almost joined the Marines. My girlfriend at the time begged me not to. So I married her instead and floated in limbo because writing was my only other passion and I didn’t want to take it serious for many years.

  10. #11 by Amy McBay on May 24, 2013 - 11:37 am

    Oh my, your adventures made me smile. Sounds like you are as accident prone as it gets. I served 4 years in the USAF following my Grandfather’s footsteps. Amazingly, I was even in the same career field, Liquid Fuels Maintenance, and that is where I met my Hubz. I only deployed once though before I got preggers and decided to get out and take care of the baby. Would have loved a bit more adventuring, but I could never be strong enough to leave my kids behind. Still, I’m thankful for my years in the service. They made me a better person. I’m glad God put you on to the path of writing! I love your blog!

    • #12 by ShawnM on May 28, 2013 - 11:53 am

      Thank you Amy for your service!

  11. #13 by Diana Douglas on May 24, 2013 - 11:46 am

    I’m impressed by your diligence but think the Universe made it pretty clear it had other things in mind for you.
    My husband was in the Army but I wasn’t geared for the military. Guns creep me out and if a higher rank raised their voice at me (I’m under the impression they do this a lot) I would likely tell them to change their tone. Rudeness is never acceptible when you’ve been raised in the south.

  12. #14 by Ellen M. Gregg on May 24, 2013 - 11:57 am

    You, my dear, were clearly being steered. “No military service for you!” thump
    I’m not cut out for the military. I’m cut out for the spa. Also, I have no interest in the military. I’m Ms. Make-Peace-Keep-Peace. I’m handy with a water pistol and a NERF gun, though, so there’s that. :-)
    But as far as family history goes, I come from a long line of warriors that I’ve traced back to the formation of the clan MacGregor on my paternal side, and Charles I on my maternal side. My Dad was in the Navy, his test-pilot brother died testing a large aircraft for the Air Force, one of my brothers is retired Navy, and another served in the Marines.
    I have great admiration for those in service, and retired or otherwise disengaged from military service. I’m deeply grateful for what they do to protect our freedom.
    Peace.

  13. #15 by kenlizzi on May 24, 2013 - 12:09 pm

    Quite the run of injuries. Wow.
    I had applied to law school so I made a circuit of military recruiting offices to shop for the best deal. Most of the services offered some sort of employment after graduation. I was looking for cash. I enlisted in the US Army Reserves because they offered a certain amount of student loan repayment. When my services were urgently required in Haiti I was forced to drop out of my third year at law school, put on my uniform, and help protect us from the Haitian menace (or whatever it was we were doing.) Unfortunately, not being in school meant that interest began to accrue on my student loans. So ultimately, the amount the Army paid just about offset the amount the Army cost me. But, what the hell. I got a great tan.

    • #16 by ShawnM on May 28, 2013 - 11:54 am

      Thank you Sir for your service and not to mention your trip to the Haitian Vacation.

  14. #17 by AMMahler on May 24, 2013 - 12:09 pm

    Wow. Talk about a series of unfortunate events! In my family, it’s definitely a question of who’s NOT in the military than who is. I got peeps in everything. We are from clan MacDonald. Our big claim to fame is getting nearly entirely slaughtered by clan Campbell. I only grudgingly buy their soup!

    • #18 by Shea Ford on May 24, 2013 - 12:26 pm

      I got to visit that area when I was in Scotland. Fascinating (and sad) history! Oh, but such beautiful landscape!!!

    • #19 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 24, 2013 - 3:35 pm

      SAME HERE! I was being classy and not naming names (you started it). The slaughter (and near extinction) of the Lamonts was evidence used to convict the Duke of Argyle and get him executed. My husband’s clan is a set of the Grahams and they had the same thing happen, too. Needless to say, we won’t buy Campbell soup at all.

  15. #20 by Jessica Knauss on May 24, 2013 - 12:19 pm

    A great way to mark Memorial Day! Thanks for trying to serve, anyway!

  16. #21 by Shea Ford on May 24, 2013 - 12:20 pm

    LOL! Kristen! I totally laughed through this whole reading because it very well could have been me. My parents talked me out of the military, so I never got to try. But in the 11th grade I rotated my knee 180 degrees, resulting in 2 arthroscopies all because I tried to sit down at my desk. Who knows what levels of clumsiness I might have reached if I’d signed up!

    But honestly, I’m glad God decided that you were more suited to be a Warrior Writer. I’m proud to have you as my leader! *salutes*

  17. #22 by Lelia Rose Foreman (@LeliaForeman) on May 24, 2013 - 12:33 pm

    *snort*

  18. #23 by caitlinstern on May 24, 2013 - 1:05 pm

    I never served, actually *because* my parents did. My dad was with the Air Force for a while and went on to other things. My mom did 24 years and retired, but she never encouraged me to try to fit a square peg in a round hole.

    But I certainly respect the people who serve–and the family who serves along with them. I had a friend who moved her senior year of high school–from Japan to Texas. Which isn’t as bad as a string of injuries–but, well, teenagers. I’m sure everyone remembers what they can be like.

  19. #24 by TedtheThird (@TedtheThird) on May 24, 2013 - 1:11 pm

    The closest I came to serving was in ROTC. I actually had a 3 year ROTC scholarship, but I had to make a 3.0 my freshman year to get it. I marched, and did PT, and all the stuff all the other ROTC kids did. But in the end, I didn’t have the grades, so I didn’t get the scholarship.

    My late grandmother served as a marine in World War II. That’s right, don’t mess with me, my Grandma was a marine! My grandfather served in the Navy as something like a page or secretary to a ship’s captain.

    My father has shown my family where our ancestors fought in the War Between the States. We had an ancestor who fought on both sides of the War. Our Southern ancestor was captured early on and spent much of the war as a POW, which is probably why he survived.

  20. #25 by hcfbutton on May 24, 2013 - 1:25 pm

    I never served. 2 of my grandfathers did (my dad’s dad and his step-dad) and the only story I can relate is the fact that I’ve inherited a German camera that my step-grandad got off a reporter who was running from the Nazi’s at the time. He needed the cash, step-grandpa wanted the camera, he left it to my mom, and I have it.

    I thank them for their efforts in the wars though. And thank you for trying anyway, even if you were always meant to be a writer. Great post!

  21. #26 by sharonhughson on May 24, 2013 - 2:38 pm

    I have always told my sons to proudly reply, “Yeah, she’s cool!” When kids dissed them with the old “Your mama wears combat boots” insult. I still have them…in the Army issue duffle bag in our attic. They probably even fit (but I doubt I can say the same for the uniform).
    I went into the Army reserves for the college money. I graduated top of my class at AIT and would have went regular Army at that point because I could have chosen my first post (Hawaii, here I come), but I would have had to leave my guy behind.
    Since we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary this weekend, I can safely say I made the right choice.
    The real irony is that I never got that money for college.
    I would have rocked the military because I love the structure and discipline.I have great respect for all those who willingly serve, even if fighting in a war isn’t why they signed on the line.

    • #27 by ShawnM on May 28, 2013 - 11:55 am

      Thank you for your service!

  22. #28 by Sandra Wagner-Wright on May 24, 2013 - 2:43 pm

    Clearly the universe was trying to tell you something … & you refused to listen. Not convinced you are good military material — too rebellious and outspoken. Their loss. But think how many lives you touch now in a positive way that you never would have noticed while you polished your brass. Yes, I was in Army Reserves. I don’t listen very well either. :-)

    • #29 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 24, 2013 - 3:27 pm

      Sandra, I was in trouble ALL THE TIME. It’s why I love Captain Kirk. I can relate. Had a BIG issue with authority and rules. Ignored all the stupid ones (authority and rules). I won more awards than anyone else, more ribbons…but I did more pushups than the whole flight put together, LOL.

  23. #30 by Jen Price on May 24, 2013 - 2:50 pm

    Your stories about the soldier all coming for free beer made me laugh! Here’s why.
    A few years ago, I was in Gettysburg following a pod cast tour of the ground covered by the south during Pickett’s Charge. They talked about how at the fifty year anniversary of the battle that any able southern veterans walked that route again, except this time they made it all the way. There are pictures of the southern veterans shaking hands with Yankee veterans over the stone wall.
    There was a cookout for them all at the end of the ceremony, which included free beer. Apparently some of the southern soldiers insisted that if there had been free beer up there the day of the battle, the Yankees would not have been able to keep the south from taking that hill.
    Apparently free beer has always been an important part of the military!
    And thank you for your repeated attempts to serve!

  24. #31 by Kathy on May 24, 2013 - 2:52 pm

    My father and his four brothers served in WWII, and afterward, when my father worked for Air Force Civil Service, I thought it was so neat to be waved onto the base by those good-looking soldiers. I never had any illusions about my fitness for service, however; the doctors would have taken one look at my feet and said, “Go home.”

    Your post was delightful. I’m going to send a link to a friend who wanted to join the army but was told by her grandfather, a retired general, that she wasn’t going to. So she didn’t. I think she’ll enjoy reading about your experiences.

  25. #32 by tomwisk on May 24, 2013 - 2:53 pm

    Hi Kristen, I served. USAF, four years. I came close to getting bounced in basic because of attitude but they read my test scores and figured they could put up with me for four years. As anticipated I didn’t get too high up in rank but it paid for a college education. One thing though, despite your great desire to join the military, it might not have worked out as well as you would have believed. In all your efforts you became too educated. This can be a drawback in the brass’ eyes.

    • #33 by ShawnM on May 28, 2013 - 11:56 am

      Thank you for your service!

  26. #34 by Stéphanie Noël (@atuaStephanieN) on May 24, 2013 - 3:18 pm

    This is a great story, it made me laugh! (sorry I laughed…) I’m confused, tho, isn’t Memorial day May 31st?? (Silly Canadians, they now nothing about America…)

    • #35 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 24, 2013 - 3:25 pm

      Technically it is Monday, but no one will likely be on-line. Too busy grilling red meat, so I beat it to the punch :D.

  27. #36 by darcyflynn on May 24, 2013 - 3:18 pm

    So fun to hear about your military heritage! Can’t say that I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you in that area. Otherwise, who’d be teaching me about blogging for brand, & all the great writer stuff you share most every day! I would hate to have missed out on that! :D

  28. #37 by Kelly Miller on May 24, 2013 - 3:18 pm

    After a story like that there can never be any doubt that God had an intended path for you. Good thing you switched over to writing when you did. Who knows what catastrophe would have befallen you had you decided to enter veterinarian school.

  29. #39 by Maryann Miller (@maryannwrites) on May 24, 2013 - 3:31 pm

    That was so funny, I thought I would never stop laughing. I do come from military stock on my father’s side. There was a Van Gilder in every war and they are all clearly marked in a graveyard in West Virginia next to a church on land donated by the family. I guess if you donate the land, you get first dibs on cemetery plots. I did not serve, however. I wanted to join the air force, and had filled out paperwork, etc, when a friend who had joined a year before came home on leave and told me horrible stories of sexual abuse. I wasn’t too thrilled with that report. About the same time, I met my now husband, who was in the air force and he told me that I would not want to join. That all the women in the military have a reputation of being either a lesbian or a whore. I didn’t want to be either one, although I wasn’t all that sure what a lesbian was. Keep in mind this was a loooonnggg time ago and gay was a word that meant you were happy. LOL

    Anyway, I basically chickened out, but I am not disappointed. And we have children who have served, army and marines, so the legacy continues.

  30. #40 by Widdershins on May 24, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    ROFL … so glad you survived your procrastination!

    • #41 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 24, 2013 - 3:54 pm

      If I would have become a writer right away I wouldn’t have all these great stories (that are, granted at MY expense). Hey *shrugs* I’m easy.

  31. #42 by Alison J. McKenzie on May 24, 2013 - 3:50 pm

    I have not served, but it’s always been a backup plan for me, and still is. I’m lucky enough to have a full time job doing what I love—writing—but I’d always heard it’s hard to get work as a writer, so I kept my options open.

  32. #43 by David Erickson on May 24, 2013 - 4:15 pm

    Most of my uncles served in WWII. Dad got to Japan right after the Armistice and left for home just before Korea started.

    Me, I’d planned on going in at some time because they promised to pay for 4 years of college. They actually paid for 5.5 and I got some awesome training while in. I wanted to be a jet jockey in the Air Force, but I got into trouble and that ended that. The Marines didn’t care. I turned 18 in bootcamp. Marine helicopter avionics tech. Flew 69 missions in ‘Nam as a door gunner,

    I did 4 years, 2 weeks and 3 days and we had considered my staying in, but a chopper crash in ’72 messed me up some.

    I’m proud of my service even though I didn’t do much. Made corporal twice, but I had a pentient for getting in trouble -:)

    My wife’s dad, Sarge, di 4 years in the Marines and another 27 in the Army. He had so many medals he could’ve used a sideboard, and hash marks from his elbow to his sleeve. When he retired he was the second highest ranked non-com in the whole Army. I was scared to death of him the first two years Kathi and I were married, but then I found out he was really a great guy. He cared a lot about his troops and would help anybody that asked for it. We have to thank him for giving us a good running start when we followed him to Florida.

    Sadly, Sarge died of a heart attack many years ago, but the doc said he was dead before he hit the floor, so he didn’t suffer. Not a bad way to go. We can only hope to be so lucky.
    I

  33. #44 by markneu on May 24, 2013 - 4:19 pm

    ASVAB? That brings back memories for me. I had fun taking that test. (Yes, I am weird like that.) I did great on it, too. The results said I should be a graphic designer – or an MP. I never figured out the connection between those two.
    I took the ASVAB my senior year of high school, went down to the Army office and the recruiter was chomping at the bit to get me to sign up. I was ready, but being the honest type I had to ask – “does it matter that I’m deaf in one ear?” Oh man, did his jaw hit the floor. He made a bunch of calls but just wasn’t able to bend enough rules to get me in. I even suggested that I could serve in the artillery since most guys probably come out of that half-deaf anyway. No dice. But I was a graphic designer for over a decade and I have married a wonderful woman who served in the Army over in Germany. And I write. So life is good.

    • #45 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 24, 2013 - 4:32 pm

      Weirdly enough I ACED the mechanics section. Could have had any spot in the motor pool I wanted, LOL. But I was a girl and they always offered females medical positions (I realized that years later). Probably would have been better turning a wrench that putting up with whiny sick people.

  34. #46 by jeanlauzier on May 24, 2013 - 6:13 pm

    I’m not sure about my dad’s side of the family but on my mom’s side, it goes back to Jefferson Davis, Zachery Taylor, and a bunch of other big wigs in the beginnings of America along with Baby Face Nelson. :-) I joined the Air Force also…I was an aircraft mechanic when there were very few females doing the job and met my hubby at Homestead Air Force Base. We were in the same squadron. Hubby retired after 20 years but I only lasted a little over four. They were starting to not send spouses to the same base and I was really tired of the smell of JP4. (jet fuel)

    Congrats on the ASVAB…I aced the “english/reading” part of it…first person who ever did at my recruiters.

    Love this post!!!

  35. #47 by b.h.quinn on May 24, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    My family is pretty military-oriented. I have at least first cousins in every branch of the military, and my brother is currently in the Army. I also live in Aiea, Hawaii, which means that I am constantly surrounded by those in the military since we’re about fifteen minutes away from Pearl Harbor, HIckam AFB and Fort Shafter Army Base.

    I considered the military (college money!), but when I tripped walking into the AF recruiting office and nearly broke my ankle. I took it as a sign from God that it wasn’t meant to be (I didn’t need to try every branch :) ) and got my scholarship another way. I did end up working on the USS Missouri Memorial Ship and my boyfriend is in the Air Force, so I suppose I couldn’t get entirely away.

    Your stories are much better than mine. Great, hilarious post.

  36. #48 by worldsbeforethedoor on May 24, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    Thank you so much for trying! I also come from warrior stock and general trouble maker stock usually with beer involved! The military needs writers to tell warrior stories! So even though I didn’t personally serve, I always respect those who do….or tried!

  37. #49 by MaLinda Johnson on May 24, 2013 - 8:34 pm

    Ouch! That is one painful military career. I have many friends and relatives in the military whom I greatly admire, but know it is not for me.

  38. #50 by V.L.M. on May 24, 2013 - 9:26 pm

    Loved your post. Laughed out loud. I too come from warrior stock except my dad was the Scottish heritage. Married a Viking descent lover of all things airplane. My grandad also lied about his age but to get into the military during the Boer war, just back a bit. Anyway, great story and yes, I would say you were not supposed to be in the military. Glad you figured it out before the injuries got even worse. Cheers, Lynne

  39. #52 by lexacain on May 25, 2013 - 3:10 am

    I’m astounded. I’ve never heard of someone trying so hard to be in the military and failing so miserably. You’re right — it was fated that you become a writer, and we’re all the luckier for it. I love reading your posts. Have a wonderful weekend! :-)

  40. #53 by danielocceno on May 25, 2013 - 4:00 am

    You were a Horned Frog. Not military. But growing up with the Cold War I wanted to be an Army Ranger to be the one man on a solo flight to drop the bomb. The Air Force fighter jets would be decoys. I wanted the final decision to destroy the world. Good thing it did not happen. Of course I wanted to be the one to make the decision on the football. But I did not want to run for president. I would push the button if I thought it was the only way to have peace.

  41. #54 by DJ on May 25, 2013 - 6:55 am

    I was actually in the Navy–for a little less than a year–

  42. #55 by Catherine Johnson on May 25, 2013 - 7:11 am

    That’s a great family history! My grandad was a fighter pilot and my grandma made bombs that’s about it. She was funny in the war museum telling everyone who passed she used to make them.

  43. #56 by jadwriter on May 25, 2013 - 7:40 am

    I think you are brave just for trying. I am too squeamish to want to join anything like the army. At least you now know what you are good at and work with that.

  44. #57 by creativityorcrazy on May 25, 2013 - 8:11 am

    Ouch…bless your heart…you were one poorly timed medical disaster after the other. My father and mother were in the military, but divorced when I was in second grade. I’ve never had a desire to be in the military…too much control. My dad rarely saw me except for the year I lived with him and my step mother on base. I hated that they even told you how tall the grass had to be cut. I’m too much of a free spirit for the military. Life has a funny sense of humor though and I married an ex-military man. He’d been out of the military for years when I met him, but we’ve still had some issues over it.

  45. #58 by Richard Snow - Writer on May 25, 2013 - 8:43 am

    Hi, Kristen, the bits and pieces i learn of your life from the blog (the maniac fiance, the trailer park ) and now this, continue to amaze me. I admire you. Best wises.
    .

  46. #59 by Poodlepal on May 25, 2013 - 9:49 am

    This was a fascinating story. You wonder if God or Fate or somebody really does throw obstacles in people’s way sometimes. I’m a teacher, and every school I work at closes due to lack of enrollment. So maybe I should be getting the message.

  47. #60 by literalstarvingartist on May 25, 2013 - 11:44 am

    I almost went into the military myself, before I was accepted to college- not that my college career turned out any better- however, i hold the utmost respect for anybody who has served, or is currently serving. even if i don’t agree with the war ;) however, I wanted to also let you know I am nominating you for The Versatile Blogger Award because you always have something different to say and you’re always giving me hope in your personal trials and errors. Keep it up! (info here: http://roseshadows.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/the-versatile-blogger-award/)

  48. #61 by KD Did It on May 25, 2013 - 2:59 pm

    Too funny. I think it’s a sign, and god knows, no one can say you didn’t try, LOL!

  49. #62 by Amalia on May 25, 2013 - 4:05 pm

    What an amazing lineage you have – and you are so blessed to know where your family comes from and all that they did. My family background is a little bit more muddled and I know nothing about my boyfriends, so one of these days I’m going to really investigate and learn more about my heritage and his so we can have amazing stories to tell our children.

    You were definitely sent signs that the military was not for you, but nobody can say you didn’t try! Such an amazing story.

  50. #64 by Diana Beebe on May 25, 2013 - 4:49 pm

    I love how things work out the way we least expect it.

    Both of my grandfathers were in the Army in WWII. One was state-side because he had three older brothers in combat already (thanks, Private Ryan) and the other was in Europe. He was in the Battle of the Bulge and survived being left for dead twice in “dead piles.”

    Recently, my uncle found out that one of our ancestors came from Germany in the 1700s and served in the Revolutionary War and he and descendants served in a few others after that.

    My father-in-law served in the Air National Guard, mostly so he could play trumpet in the band. :-D

    Thank you for trying to serve. ;-) And thank your hubby for serving. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

  51. #65 by danielocceno on May 25, 2013 - 5:33 pm

    I think; it has subsided a bit but I was worried about Mexico invading the United States to take back Texas (economics). Pope Benedict went to Mexico with the message of accepting what you have and a new president at Mexico promising economic prosperity could have lessened the desires for war. It had been going on since George the Father went to war on drugs. I wondered why Bush the Son sent Air Force reserves from Texas overseas, but I guess Gov Perry had everything under control with his take a handgun to work campaign. Mexico could not really invade like a real first world military, but like old western movies. The border guards might be enough. I thought that the obesity news with the super-sized sodas was French Canada wanting to take back New York City and the same invasion tactic would be needed. It is what happens when international policy is against other countries developing prosperous economies. Domestic stripe might be the future of wars and guards and reserves and state militias will be more valuable. I will be accused of: it is in my novels. North America the country, instead three separate entities, is in consideration as a setting for a novel, which I thought Hunger Games had.

  52. #66 by Gloria Richard Author on May 25, 2013 - 10:04 pm

    Again…

    I love when you let your snark out to play full-time, prime-time. Yes. Your posts are usually filled with stealth-attack-coffee-spew one-liners, but this post is priceless.

    I am going to study it. Seriously. The humor hits keep bopping, yet it’s organized, informative and gives me an insight into the spunk that grew into a WANA Tribe.

    [Note to self: Do not walk near Kristen on wet sidewalks, icy streets, or the edge of swimming pools. Glug.]

    With that family gene pool? One should never ever piss her off play on an opposing team.

  53. #67 by T. W. Dittmer on May 26, 2013 - 5:31 pm

    I swooned at the MEPS, too. Not a sign from above or below, just too much booze the night before.

    They still took me, but the army was a little more forgiving back then. 1968.

  54. #68 by gliderpilotlee on May 27, 2013 - 4:32 pm

    Great writing, Ok so you have big feet? take care

  55. #69 by brucearthurs on May 28, 2013 - 3:22 am

    US Army, 1972-1975. All stateside, no combat; in retrospect, probably a good thing for both me and the service. Some of the best times of my life, and some of the worst. Regarded re-enlisting as a backup plan for a long time, until one day I realized I’d gotten too old to re-enlist.

    I managed to avoid serious injuries until last December, when a bad fall on a hard sidewalk shattered an arm and shoulder. Looks likely that I’ll be partially disabled for the rest of my life. But the unexpected side effect is that, after a very long dry spell, I started writing fiction again. It’s a good feeling to write again, but I’d have preferrred to be motivated in a less painful manner.

    • #70 by ShawnM on May 28, 2013 - 11:58 am

      Thank you for your service!

  56. #71 by Carol Newquist on May 28, 2013 - 10:17 am

    This story clinches it for me. I’m removing you from my bookmarks and will never think of you or your name again. No wonder you consistently harp on conflict in your writing advice. Conflict is in your blood. I can’t and won’t hang with that. War is Murder. Soldiering is crudely justified murdering. Playing Call of Duty is playing murder. This is why my wife and I will probably leave this country with our children within the next decade, book or no book. It’s a society that craves war. I’ll tell you what, all of you who have to fight and murder, raise your hands, walk into a field and maul each other with your bare hands. No weapons. Weapons are cheating. Just get it over with and leave the rest of us alone. Don’t make us fight your fights and don’t make us pay for your fights. Just maul each other and get it over with and let the rest of us continue to evolve. NO doubt you’ll censor this comment; another lovely aspect of American society; one that touts free speech but doesn’t practice it.

    • #72 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 28, 2013 - 11:28 am

      So you think your free speech is protected by happy thoughts? Which country are you moving to that doesn’t have police or a military? What about the Caribbean? Hmmm, those Banana Republics are so peaceful. Ooh, Mexico. Hope you like the drug lords who own and run everything. Maybe South America? I hear you’re okay so long as there isn’t a soccer game, and then life gets dicey. Or the UK. Rumor has it the IRA has taken up square dancing instead of bombing. France? Might stay away from cafes.

      Seriously hope you love Antarctica. Evil exists. Evil people exist who want to HURT innocent people. And GOOD people serve to protect the innocent. There are wolves, sheep and sheepdogs. Sheepdogs serve to keep wolves from EATING the sheep.

      Are police murderers too because they dedicate to protecting innocent people? Who do you think protects your right to be a jerk in my comments? Thank you for unfollowing me. I abhor people who flaunt rights bought with blood, but who are unwilling to donate and who call those who do murderers.

      The reason you aren’t speaking German or Japanese is because of people like my family (those you call murderers) died to protect your right to be ungrateful.

    • #73 by ShawnM on May 28, 2013 - 11:51 am

      Since when is Soldiering Murder? Please explain yourself. Soldiering is the most honorable profession ANYONE can live and do. You have a right to your opinion, but what does your response have to do with Kristen’s post?

  57. #74 by Carol Newquist on May 28, 2013 - 1:24 pm

    ShawnM, someone who was infinitely more qualified than you could ever dream of being said so, and more, but I’m sure that won’t stop you from believing a lie.

    http://www.fas.org/man/smedley.htm

    War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

    I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

    I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

    There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

    It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

    Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.

    • #75 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 28, 2013 - 1:40 pm

      Um…but by this very quote you admit we need armed services. Who else do you think DEFENDS the homes and Bill of Rights? Unicorns? You called all military people murderers. You called my family who liberated Jews from Nazi concentration camps murderers. You called my uncles who died at D-Day murderers. You called my husband who dug bodies and the wounded out of the wreckage of Katrina a murderer.

      I never said I supported killing and war. I wanted to serve to help protect my country, to honor her, to protect your right to hold your beliefs whether I agree with them or not. I LIVED in Syria. You have no idea how much you take for granted, the evil that is kept at bay.

      The guy or gal holding the weapon doesn’t make the agenda. Politicians do. So if you want to look for murderers try Congress and Wall Street.

      And by the way you were going to do me the favor of leaving. That would be great right about now.

      • #76 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 28, 2013 - 4:01 pm

        Sorry Carol, you are banned and I deleted your First Amendment freedom because you are now a troll. My blog, my rules and those rules demand mutual respect. I never have issues with people disagreeing if they do so with decency. I will no longer tolerate this ad hominem attack on me, my family and my beliefs. Rant your own agenda elsewhere as you happily freeload on freedoms purchased with other people’s blood.

    • #77 by ShawnM on May 28, 2013 - 1:49 pm

      What does that have to do with Kristens blog and trolling it? And yes, I do know a bit about soldiering and living on ones principals and infinitly more qualified to speak of that, since neither you or the misguided MG has not walked one day in my shoes. And his comments are to the political nature of the .gov being in charge of the .mil, and the politization of the pentagon, and not on soldiering, which is your intimation. Get your head out, and un-f*)% yourself.

  58. #78 by Raiscara Avalon (@RaiscaraAvalon) on May 28, 2013 - 8:25 pm

    I totally served, for about a year and a half in the Army. Now my body is about 80 – 90 years old, while I’m only 30. :p

  59. #79 by Dennis Langley on May 29, 2013 - 8:13 am

    OMG, what a history. Slow learner perhaps, but still amazing. I think you turned out okay though so, the military’s loss is our gain.

  60. #80 by tucsonmike on May 29, 2013 - 9:11 pm

    Kristen, I guess if pre destination existed God was telling you the military was not for you, no matter how warrior like you think you are or your family is.

    I would have enlisted if I did not get into City College of New York, where I was getting a free college education.

    For military it is both Air Force. One of Elaine’s brothers was a career enlisted man. My cousin in San Antonio, Tom McNish was a Vietnam POW. He was a career officer and the Air Force put him through medical school when he returned. He proposed marriage to my cousin in the Green Room of the White House. (Ask me how).

    I am planning to have my DNA tested, in case I have any warriors in my background…

    Thank you Kristen for the laugh.

  61. #81 by Julie Glover on June 1, 2013 - 9:13 pm

    Sadly, I grew up thinking that military was for the people who couldn’t make it in college. I don’t know why I thought that. It just seemed like it was a fall-back career or something. It may be that my notions of what the military was like were also informed by such classics as STRIPES and PRIVATE BENJAMIN. So I never, ever considered joining up with the military–even though I had several great uncles who fought in WWII and two uncles who served in the Army.

    I look back and wish I’d at least given it some thought. At this point in my life, I have great admiration for those who serve in our military ranks. It takes courage, discipline, and a good heart to do many of the things our soldiers do. I’m so grateful for them.

    All that said, I’m glad you’re wielding a pen instead of a rifle, Kristen. We all have our place in the world, and some of us are meant to be serving elsewhere.

    • #82 by tucsonmike on June 2, 2013 - 4:43 pm

      Julie, when I graduated high school in 1975, that’s what it was like. For me to enlist then, I would have been admitting failure. If I had not been accepted to college I would have enlisted, though. My favorite cousin was a Vietnam POW.

  62. #83 by Kathleen Azevedo on May 10, 2014 - 9:44 pm

    My Portuguese Dad was a WW ll paratrooper in 101st Airborne under Patton- he came home with a purple heart. His half uncle was a ship’s commander in the Navy.

    My Mom is a descendant of the aunt of Andrew Jackson, the niece of Stonewall Jackson, and a direct descendant of Samuel Sewall who presided over the Salem Witch Trials. He also wrote the first tract against slavery in the US, called, The Selling of Joseph. She is also a direct descendant of Andrew Johnson, the one who was impeached, so my ancestors fought on both sides of the Civil War. My scotch ancestors were staunch Separatists, and they fought in the wars alongside William Wallace and Rob Roy. Their clan friends were the Stewarts, until they married into British Royalty and changed sides. My family went nutso, were banished to Ireland, becoming the Scotch-Irish, and then to Georgia.

    I am a Pacifist. What can I say?

    Too much war in my family tree, too much feistiness. Seriously, family gatherings are more like WWlll than anything written in books.

    I try to be calm, logical and Christlike among these savages- so who do they resent the most? Me!

    Enough said.

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