Monthly Archives: February 2007


Once you get past the recruiter no one in the military lies to you. (There’s a corollary, which is that once you get past the recruiter, you don’t have to lie to anyone. You can freely admit, once you reach Basic Training — let alone your first duty station — to having done drugs, been a felon, spent time in a psychiatric ward. No one cares. That much, at least, of the military myth is true. You are a new person when you step off that bus.) No one lies. Our drill sergeants were candid about the likelihood of our having to kill. A few weeks after we arrived at Ft. Jackson, Jessica Lynch’s convoy was ambushed; our commander talked about it at least once a day for the rest of our rotation. The message for our company of cooks, fuel-pumpers, carpenters, linguists, and mechanics was unavoidable: there is no rear area anymore.

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