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Showing posts from March, 2019

Three Rides, an essay

I
Between the recruiter’s office and bootcamp, there is MEPS. The Military Entrance Processing Station, where potential servicemembers go to be screened before formally enlisting. MEPS serves as an opening in the bureaucratic membrane which surrounds every function of government. It’s where they confirm your identity, quiz you on your background, test for drug use, etc., all in a meticulous and slow fashion. There’s a couple in every state, usually located in a Federal building. And between the recruiter’s office and MEPS, there is a ride in a white van.
For me, the van came to Carbondale, Illinois, in the summer of 2008, where I had been living for the last few years, first as a student at the local university and then as an appliance repairman. I’d first come into recruiting office a month earlier. It was this little, one-story building a few blocks from my house that I’d driven by countless times without a second thought. Inside, the building was divided into two smaller offices, on…