a call from fort jackson...

I heard from Justin last night. He was calling from a payphone at Fort Jackson. He is not yet in full blown Basic Training; he is still in what they call “reception”.

Well the reception from the payphone in reception was awful! But here is what I did understand:

He says he really loves it and can’t see himself doing anything else other than Army life. He says he made his grade of E-3, which means he’ll be making more money. He went from making $1340 a month as E-1 to making $1650 a month by becoming E-3. So that’s a nice difference. And he will be called Private First Class.

He gave me a tentative date for graduation; April 3 or 4th. That would work out perfectly for me and I hope it works out for him. He mentioned that he’d like to come home after graduation since he doesn’t have to report to AIS until the 13th. I didn’t think about it at the time, but we have plans to go to Connecticut and Rhode Island during the Easter weekend to visit Nick & Erin. Maybe he’d have to tag along.

Then he told me that if he doesn’t pass all of his PT stuff, they may hold him back which would add another 6 weeks to his Basic Training. This would work out for me too – as long as he doesn’t have his graduation during the time that we’re supposed to go to France, I think all will be fine. Crossing fingers.

He told me that he has not laughed at the Drill Sergeant while he is yelling at the troops, like he had been planning. In fact, he is getting upset with some other Privates that are making noises in the formation line – because that means they get punished. For instance, they are last in line for chow. He says it’s not the fact that they have to eat last, it the fact that they have to stand at attention or in formation the whole time they are waiting in line and he doesn’t like that. He gave me the impression that he would take matters into his own hands.

This was something that I thought would be the opposite for him. I thought he would be the one that would be goofing off and that he would be hazed by the others because he was clowning around. I’m sort of happy to hear it’s the other way around. However, I do not condone violence to combat your problems.

Anyway, he wanted me to let everyone know that he’s doing fine and to look for letters in the mail.


baby sister said…
Well, since posting this, I have been updated with more accurate information:

First email: "I didn’t hear about E-3 because he was going in as an E-1. The E-2 was to be determined on PT scores and if someone else enlisted."

Second email: "Just talked to Sgt. Austin. Just to clarify things, Justin should have gone in the Army as an E-2 (Austin sent papers up with JB and hasn’t heard that he didn’t get through). The day he took his PT test, it was 9 degrees here so he did the best he could and they did pass him. Normally they do not hold soldiers back because of poor PT scores but they start lower on the pole until they work themselves up to the level that is expected of them."
Anonymous said…
fascinating--so should I just write him in reception then?
baby sister said…
That's what I did. He hasn't received the letter and says he won't until he gets out of reception.
Anonymous said…
You must be very proud of Justin as we all are. This is truly great news. Thanks for the updates and keep them coming.
Anonymous said…
Sounds like the military is just the “kick in the pants” he needed to start maturity :)
Anonymous said…
Awesome. He sounded great when I talked to him too. I’m SOOOO glad he’s doing good. I didn’t hear about E-3 because he was going in as an E-1. The E-2 was to be determined on PT scores and if someone else enlisted. I am not sure that is making much sense to me. Guess his checks will show what’s up with that.
Other than that, sounds great :)

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