1983- When I Got Out of the Marines
Throughout several posts, I have stated that my experiences while serving in the US Marines played a big part in shaping me into the metalhead I am today. My experiences, which included a radio station that played some really cool hard rock, WXQR in Jacksonville, North Carolina, opened my musical mind to a wide range of musical tastes and styles. Before the marines, I had to be content with an old AM radio and glean music other people were listening to. I knew I loved the really hard rock but never actually stepped boldly forward into that world. The marines gave the opportunity to do that and it is why I am putting my release from active duty in 1983 as a moment in music history. At least it was for me.
Let’s start with the final days leading up to the day I got out. D-Day minus five was the last time I got a military haircut. I remember that because I wouldn’t cut my hair again for 17 months! It’s also why I gave the barber a generous tip. Minus four was a bit of a drag as it was Sunday and they put me on duty as ‘Duty NCO.’ D-Day minus three was the first day I began checking out. All that means is that I had to go to various places around the base and sign out with them. I was able to break the back on that on the first day and got many of the more minor places like the Red Cross signed out as well as my field gear turned in. I was also able to close my bank account with the local bank on base. More of the same with minus two although I was able to get confirmation that I would have proof of my contributions to the Veteran’s Educational Assistance Program. That was important because I was set to go to college in September. I completely finished checking out on minus one, the big relief being I had the all clear from my physical. Okay, not a huge worry. I also confirmed my flight for the next day. However, a slight paranoia gripped me so out of fear of some higher rank coming into my room and doing an inspection, I completely cleaned it. Fortunately, my fears were for nil.
Now onto the night before I got out. My company was on primary air alert and therefore combined to base but because I was now considered ‘non-deployable,’ I was allowed out for one last night in town. After a good pig out at an all you can eat for $5 chicken restaurant, I went to my old stomping ground, the Driftwood for one last time.
My ego would like to think that they held this event just for me as it was my last night but in reality, I know it wasn’t. That night at the Driftwood, they were having a ladies’ pudding wrestling tournament. Needless to say, I made sure I had front seats for the event. There were only three matches, the last one was the male manager against two ladies and opening match ended with one lady getting pinned rather quickly. For me, the main event was the middle match. Angie, who I spoke about when I posted about Joan Jett, (she could really move to “I Love Rock and Roll.”) vs another equally attractive lady named Theresa. The match had no winner but I didn’t care, I just liked watching them roll around in the pudding for fifteen minutes. For me, there wasn’t a better way to celebrate my last night in the service.
On D-Day, I woke up very excited. I put on my dress uniform and completed the final formalities, including getting paid and having my lieutenant tell me what a patriotic young man I was and I said it was a pleasure to serve. After saying good-bye to many of my comrades, I caught the shuttle to the airport and caught the plane. I first had to fly to Charlotte and had an hour and a half layover. Thankfully, a guy from my company who had re-enlisted and was going to his new assignment and another from a different company in my battalion also caught that short flight. So while we were all awaiting our connecting flights, we had a few drinks at the airport bar.
The flight from Charlotte to Philadelphia didn’t seem as long as I had feared and once I picked up my baggage, my mother and brother were waiting for me. My mother immediately noticed my mistake to wear the shirt I had worn the night before as I had a chocolate pudding stain on it. She wasn’t too impressed when I told her how it got there. We drove home and the rest you could say was history. One of the first things I did was to unpack my cassettes. My sister was rather impressed with my ammo cans which held so many of them. She told me about a TV show called “Video Rock” and since we didn’t have MTV yet, that would become a regular viewing feature for me for the next few months.
When I got out, I thought I had the world at my feet. One thing I knew that I was a hell of a lot more knowledgeable in music than four years prior. Musically, I had found myself and knew that I was going to be a metalhead and I have the marines, though they wouldn’t be too impressed to hear it, to thank for that.
Next post: Chris DeBurgh- The Getaway
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This entry was posted on March 27, 2016 at 9:32 pm and is filed under 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags Americans, Classic Rock, go go bars, hard rock, Heavy Metal, Heavy Rock, I Love Rock and Roll, Joan Jett, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, pudding wrestling, The 1980s, US Marines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.