“Daniel called the NRS (Navy Recruiting Station) from the Little Cesars pizza he worked at to set up an interview. I had been his cousin’s recruiter. He got good ASVAB, but was high school drop out. We didn’t take drop outs.
Anyway- it took almost two years to get all his issues squared away and his family, particularly his grandmother were desperate for him to ship out before he got involved in some kind of drama – but without an opening not much that I could do. Next door to us was the Marine recruiter. We weren’t competing for the same gene pool so we had pretty good relations.
At that time the Marines would not take a “non grad”. One evening Sgt. Vince drops by and says, ”Hell has froze over. I can take a non grad but he has to have good ASVAB and good physical and ship directly from MEPS in the morning.” Because the Marines didn’t take non grads Vince didn’t have anyone ready.
So, I called Daniels grandmother, told her I had an opening but he had to go now! 30 minutes later he is there. That’s when I explain. “You’re going in the Marines.” He shipped the next day. Saw him a year later, squared away, good command voice- was happy.
About a year later, Desert Storm has kicked off. I get into the office and my buddy Tom is holding the phone, he says “It’s Daniels grandmother.” I take the phone in the back office…Daniel is dead. Friendly fire. the Air Force took out his APC. I’m expecting his grandmother to go off on me, I’m ready for that. But she didn’t. She said that without me Daniel would have ended up in prison or dead on the street. I wasn’t ready for that.
A little later Sgt. Vince came over. He had been advised by his command that he was not to attend the funeral. They were afraid of bad press. Vince went anyway but in civvies. Next day or so I’m on the phone doing my recruiting thing and suddenly I loose my voice. I can’t say a word. My buddy Tom finished the call. I was scared shitless – could not make a sound. Few hours later I was good and got back to working the phones.”
– Anonymous Sailor. PH1 USN. Recruiting Duty. Late 1980’s Early 1990’s.
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