On September 20, 1994 I left home for Air Force Basic Training. During Basic Training, our flight had to conform to a set of rules, as expected of every military trainee. It was a way to build discipline, and to help each member develop "pay attention to detail skills".
We only had an allotted time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As the weeks passed, we earned more time, and had more freedom to communicate. After being on bathroom patrol, out squad wasn't given the opportunity to wash our hands. I thought about scrubbing the floors, the toilets, and the sinks. We had to rotate through a different set of duties.
While having dinner, I used napkins to eat my food. My hands were far from clean, and I couldn't afford to get sick. I thought about avoiding any mishaps. I knew that if I got sick, I would be recycled back.
The Training Instructor (TI) told our flight that we had to be responsible. He mentioned that one military trainee once avoided telling anyone about the blisters on his feet. They were in result of marching, wet socks, and moisture from sweat. A soldier has to keep their feet dry to avoid infection. I thought about that, and the other stories of other trainees that had mental breakdowns because of the pressure.
My dad used to write me letters; he helped me make it through Basic Training. He served 20 years in the Air Force. I took his advice to make it through without making any mistakes. I used to napkins as a sterile shield to avoid contaminating the food.
Another trainee asked me, "What religion are you"? I told him that I just cleaned the bathroom, and didn't have a chance to was my hands. I was one of the few to think about avoiding getting sick. My goal was to complete Basic Training so that I could get ready for the next round - Medical Training.
I always remember the religion and the napkin incident. It brings back good memories because I was actually doing something with my life. Even after earning 4 college degrees, I don't feel like I am giving back to society. I do write to help people, but I don't feel that it's enough. Maybe one day I will feel good about my purpose in life. Giving back to the community makes me more happy than receiving money or validation.
At 18, I had a dream about wanting to be an actor, and also served my country. I think I was doing good to give back to the community. Religion, napkins, avoiding getting sick, and all the memories from before are useful for preserving the goodwill I have within me to help others.
As a Air Force medical worker, I helped many patients to get better, while also easing the pain of others that were ready to pass on. That feels good to think that I was able to do that at such a young age. You don't appreciate the good moments until you find time in a fast paced life to remember them. Great memories.