While not born on the 4th of July, patriotism runs deep in my family (the real kind, not the yellow ribbon magnet variety). As I listed previously the service of my family (too tired to find the actual post), my father and his father were the greatest influence on my decision to join.
My father, had he not been given a medical discharge for a destroyed knee (he's on his 2nd titanium knee now) during the Korean conflict, would have been a lifer. His sense of duty, honor, country was instilled in his two sons. I went Army, my brother Air Force.
When I enlisted back in May, 1982 (I had just turned 18), I was more worried about not leting down my father than anything else.........until I met the Senior Drill. After that it was dad who? (kidding!!). I was in a technical field while on active duty, I worked on tactical weapons systems (the old 8", new 8", the Lance and the 155mm tactical systems to be precise). I spent a whopping 2 years on active duty, got accepted to West Point prep school, said no thanks, and joined ROTC my second semester (go figure that, eh?). I spent the 4+ years in the Colorado National Guard (the 157th FA HHB) out of Longmont Colorado, and when my stint was up, resigned and missed it terribly (my buddies were still in the Marine Reserves, we were all Arty), but could not go back (if you remember 1989-90 the COANG was overstaffed and based on seniority, I was the newbie in the FO crew (we had 6 of us round spotters, which the don't use anymore anyway), so I piddled around went back to school got a better degree and eventually moved back home to be near my parents.
Well, this didn't work out as well as I planned, I wanted to pass along some stories that are funny, some sad, and one near miss from an errant 155mm round that landed about 500 meters to my and my RTO's position. However I can't remember them right now. Maybe next year or this weekend.