Thursday, December 18, 2008

Private Pierini


Thirty-six years ago on December 18, 1972, a young 17-year old high school dropout joined the U.S. Army.

The cumulative toll of running around with the wrong crowd, the negative impact of his parents' divorce, and the era's rebellious times were straws that broke this young camel’s back. Always told he was smart and had lots of potential, the soon-to-be man believed it, but wasn’t motivated to put those gifts from God to good use. He reckoned that signing up to serve in the U.S. Army was a good solution to stop his downward spiral to nothingness.

Turns out it wasn’t a bad idea.

The 8 weeks of basic training learning how to be a soldier, under the direction of tough-as-nails drill sergeants bellowing out commands and orders one after the other, and learning how to survive in the company of stranger fellow soldiers from all over the country did the young buck good. Still attracted to the dark side, he met and befriended several new acquaintances from that dark side. But he also met others from a brighter side, many of who would be positive role models on his outlook of life and future.

Military discipline and structure motivated the young soldier to save money so he could resume his education when discharged. Tours of duty in San Francisco and the Republic of South Korea gave him a more "worldly" perspective of life than the south Sacramento neighborhood he identified as home.

Three years of military service seemed like eternity but time did pass and the young soldier eventually became a “two-digit midget”, a term used by fellow soldiers to describe someone who has less than 100 days remaining until discharge. With enduring perseverance, he then became a “single-digit midget” with nine days of active duty remaining.

Shy of his 21st birthday, the still young but more mature soldier was discharged from the Army in December 1975. More motivated than three years earlier, he enrolled in college and studied diligently while working at various jobs to support himself. Along the way he met a wonderful woman who would become his wife. He eventually graduated from college with honors, began a professional career, and with his wife became the parents of two children.

It seems so long ago - 36 years to this day - that this person turned a new page in his life, joined the U.S. Army, and became Private Pierini.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!
Sounds like you made a good decision.
Thank you,
Donna

pierini said...

Hi Donna,

Thanks and thanks for stopping by.

Something else I didn't mention. There are 1,095 days in 3 years, something I learned in the Army, and counting backwards from 1,095 goes slow!

Merry Christmas!

Wolfgang said...

Great post! Thank you for your inspiring words and for your service to our country.

Wolfgang

pierini said...

Thank you Wolfgang and thanks for visiting.

Merry Christmas!