Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Dog Goes And Gets His Own Damn Bone

Myth: you cannot begin the ACAP (Army Career and Alumni Program) process until you are six months away from your ETS date (the day that you supposedly are a free man once again).

Fact: You can start the briefings as much as a year out.

I sat in an office, spilling my guts about Iraq, my sleep habits and everything else that was even potentially fucked up about me as a result of my epic and heroic service. In a babbling vomit, I spewed up everything I could get out while he nodded before steering the session to ensure that he got to lunch on time. We had a few laughs about everything I had to report. He certainly did, and at that point all you can do is follow along.

Answer all the questions honestly, they tell you, but really I don't think it matters, because they're just going to return you to normal duty. Most blokes aren't going to find the Morgan Freeman poetic passphrases that land you a Get Out Of Service Free Card.

Before he even finished asking what I was going to do when I got out, I was punching him with the word "school". That's when he mentioned ACAP and clarified exactly when one can begin.

Hit the Next Chapter button on your remote a couple times, and there I am, ordering food from a drive-thru puke vendor with a friend, body ravaged and sore from extended PT sessions, usually two per day, when I decided that we needed a morale booster.

I found my first line supervisor and told him that we had to go make an appointment and away we went. When we finally found the office we were looking for, civilians eyed us suspiciously, demanding to know what in the name of all things demonic was it that we wanted. When we told them that we were working on getting out, their defenses dropped and they mystically transformed into the warmest, kindest people you'll ever find on a military installation. Overly gushy daycare ladies aren't this kind.

We were led to another cushy office and given lots of printouts, gave our basic information, and were handed appointment slips. Hell, we even marveled at the lady's electric stapler. You laugh, but that thing was pretty fucking impressive. It's a Swingline.

Anyway, I thought it was time I threw myself a bone, so I did. I did my own thing, AND I LIKED IT. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got menial tasks to half-ass my way through, then I've got an appointment in the afternoon, guaranteed to eat up a healthy portion of the workday.

I can't get out until next spring, but good God, I just took the first step towards redemption. It's like blindly grabbing a low-hanging branch after you've become fully submerged in quicksand: there's still a chance!


themorethingschange... said...

"...Anyway, I thought it was time I threw myself a bone, so I did. I did my own thing, AND I LIKED IT..."

Way to go Suspect!!


Anonymous said...

Sweet! And those staplers are cool when they work...Anything you can do to keep chipping away to get to your goal will help you keep sane. Remember, most of the people eligble for that GI education don't get it. For whatever reason. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Good luck. Stay happy.

membrain said...

Great stuff Suspect. All the best.

BigD said...

Hi Suspect,
Glad to hear you decided to go get your own damn bone! I am so proud..that's the way to take the initiative and work the system. You've got some mad leadership skilz! Keep that on the down low or they will be looking to promote you.

I must admit I do not understand this whole "getting out of the Army" process. Maybe someone out there can give me a tutorial. Do they call it ETS because it is subject to be changed without notice or warning of any kind? When you say you can't get out til next spring, does that mean March 2009? What the hell is ACAP? What are "briefings" and how much more briefing does one soldier need?

Why do they have you doing two PT sessions a day? Guess you must be plenty Army strong by now! Damn yo!
Doesn't the Army have any more constructive ways for you to spend your time? When you get out you will never want to work out again...then you will be all fat and happy!

Keep grabbing those branches guy, you'll be out of the quicksand in no time!

God(s) bless you Ryan. You always make me smile. :)

P.S. - Electric hole punch is also quite enthralling.

Anonymous said...

Office toys may be a lame substitute for weapons, but there ARE a lot of fun things to play with - the Swingline rocks.

admiyo said...

One unfortunate aspect to google reader is that it collects what you write and, even if you delete it, it is still available for people to read later. I just read your erased post.

Underneath your emotionless demeanor, I suspect that you really have a lot of strong feelings, just clamoring to get our. Suspect, you really can't keep it all bottled up like this. Pleas,e be candid: what are you really feeling. Keeping everything in like this not the way to lead a long and well adjusted life.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

I just found this site recently and have not read everything. I am excited about getting caught up.

I can't believe the new Metallica album is good. Whenever I hear about it, all I can think of is the pic I saw recently of Hetfield wearing plaid shorts and shopping on Rodeo drive. Not a guy that should making albums about death :)

Anonymous said...

"You can't have airborne. We didn't feel like putting it in your contract.

We mislead you about 11X. Looks like the dice didn't land in your favor. Instead of the 11B that you enlisted for in the first place, we're going to give you the bastard child MOS, 11C."

Wow.... almost the exact same thing happened to me. Go to MEPS, no 82nd slots open. Ok, peace-out. Well, there is 11X, you can get airborne like that! Really? Well, I don't trust you, job counselor guy, let me talk to my recruiter that I have worked out with for months and that has sat at my mothers kitchen table and eaten food that she has cooked for him... he wouldn't lie to me, right? Recruiter says yeah, 11X frees you from any training comitments so you can go right to AB school, you will be right there at Benning, easy.

Get to boot... designated 11C, headed for 2nd ID, Korea. AB School will not take me. Call Recruiter... "You are a soldier now, deal with it!"


ELS'd, served the rest of my time in Ft Living Room :)

Anonymous said...

Well, it was a slow day at work and I should have been studying but, I read your posts instead. Got up to 2-08.

Great stuff. Can't wait for the book!

Jean said...

...and, there is more to come. Right?

kathleen duey said...

I stumbled across this...and just want to say two things.
Thanks for the inside look, it reinforces my opposition to avoidable wars and goverment craziness.

Consider writing as a career. Do write the book--and then write another one.

take care,