Sunday, March 19, 2017
I had joined the Army Reserves. This was during the Vietnam War and my draft number was four, which meant that if I missed one homework assignment I would lose my student deferment and wind up in Southeast Asia. I was able to get into an Armed Forces Radio Reserve Unit so happily enlisted. I figured, we were really in trouble if they called up disc jockeys to fight. What weapon requires the ability to talk up to vocals?
The last three months of active duty were actually kind of fun. I was trained to be an Information Specialist – Broadcaster. Think: Sean Spicer but we were not penalized for telling the truth. I was stationed at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. It snowed every day, but otherwise it was pretty much like college except with KP.,
Once I returned to “civilian” life I then had 5 ½ years of monthly meetings and two-weeks of annual summer camp. And of course we were always on-call to be re-activated to active duty. So for almost six years I held my breath and put on my short-hair wig.
Looking back, on the night I saw my draft number was four I thought this was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. But in many ways, it proved to be the best. I met my writing partner in our reserve unit, and without experiencing army life I don’t think I could have ever really written MASH. That show was our golden ticket. So in a roundabout way I have the army to thank for my career. Me and snipers.
Still, every March 19th, it’s nice to know I no longer have to wear my fatigues – not that I can get into them anymore.