When we returned home, DH got a call, “Where are you? You were supposed to have checked-in for processing for Basic Training two days ago! If you aren’t here tomorrow, you’re out.”
Excuse me? DH wasn’t due to report for almost another week! A few frantic phone calls later, DH convinced them to wait until the original report date, even though they would have to rush him through in-processing.
On Sunday, September 7, I drove my husband to Massachusetts. His recruiter had me drop him off at a Dunkin’ Donuts near the post.
We had a few minutes to say goodbye and then the recruiter arrived early. One thing that is true of the Army–they always arrive late unless you want them to and then they are early.
His recruiter escorted him onto the base and I drove back to New York alone. The next day, I received word from DH that, despite the fact that he had notified his recruiter of his injury and surgery and provided regular updates about his progress, somehow the board had not received this information. So, the board got a surprise when they asked, “Any changes in your physical condition since your last Army medical examination?”
DH had to convince the medical board to accept a letter from his doctor as proof that his knee is copacetic. If he had to wait for an Army doctor to certify him, he might have to reapply–a process which would take at least two months. This might result in him missing his OCS date, for which he might have to wait a whole year.
As usual, however, DH was able to argue his case and they shipped him down to Georgia where they rushed him through reception battalion and he officially entered Basic Training.
DH’s first letter home described Basic Training as “a lot of work” but “fun.” Only my husband… Since this is the Army, there was still yet another change of plans. We found out that DH’s Officer Candidate School class had been canceled and so he was moved from November to January, leaving a lull in his training.
On September 23rd I received the letter I had been waiting for–DH’s address at Basic Training!
In a particularly “Joycean” piece of writing, DH let me know that we could only send regular mail and that they were keeping him quite busy. DH is usually quite concise and lucid so I have to assume that doing push-ups in combat boots, on a waxed barracks floor, while shouting at the top of your lungs, after only four hours of sleep, can toy with your ability to communicate clearly.
DH also warned that correspondents should keep the envelopes plain as decorative/decorated envelopes might get him singled out for extra push-ups or humiliation.
So, we were finally an Army family and I was an Army wife… with no guidance, no one to commiserate, and no contact with my husband. For the first time in my life, I was living on my own.