Because I am opinionated, lazy, not overly brave, and hate war, I never considered myself fit for military service. Terry, however, a young draftable man during the Vietnam War, joined the Army Guard and eventually switched to the Air National Guard.
He drove trucks and busses for the Army, took photos for Air National Guard, even working full time for a brief stint. The years added up, and suddenly he had 21 years which allowed him to leave with a retirement pension. At age 60 he started to receive a small pension check and at age 65 he became eligible for healthcare.
Turns out, I’m eligible, too. But I needed an ID card. Terry made the appointment as he had to accompany me and vouch for me as his spouse. I took all sorts of identification, including our marriage certificate. All the young sergeant needed was my passport and driver’s license. I was already in the system as Terry’s spouse.
We arrived at the base early as things have changed since Terry was there and one could just drive on the property. That is no longer possible. We were greeted at a gate by a very young man, dressed impeccably in camouflage gear and carrying an assault rifle. He quizzed Terry, after checking his military ID, as to purpose of visit. Seeming assured that we weren’t dangerous, he allowed us to pass.
Terry had at one time been very familiar with this base but that was 20 years ago, pre-9/11. The buildings, excluding the hangar, have all been torn down and rebuilt. Fortunately, Terry had already gotten his ID renewed so he knew exactly where to go.
We were buzzed in and met the young sergeant who would be making my ID card. As soon as he entered Terry’s information, the computer’s Internet connection went down and refused to reconnect. What should have been a 10 minute procedure stretched out to 75 minutes.
We could see that the young sergeant was doing everything possible to get his computer reconnected, calling on a variety of help. He was very apologetic for the delay and asked if we would like to reschedule for the following week. No, we were there, we had no pressing plans (the luxury of retirement), so we could wait. Others with appointments came and left. Terry and I both read from our phones, listened in on conversations, chatted with the office personnel, and I even took a picture of some military decor:
Eventually, the Internet connection was made, the paperwork processed, my photo taken, and a card produced:
So, that sentence I never expected to say? I have a military ID!