Free at last! (OR I'm done with my army conscription)

Actually I was discharged over two months ago. Been taking it easy since (maybe a little too easy) and life is good-ish.

For some background here’s my sentiments before the experience,

During (I was a private when I wrote that, bottom of the food chain)

Time has proven breaking up with her was a fine move indeed and after a bitter email exchange we no longer communicate which is sort of a shame but not going to lose sleep over it.

The conscription experience (I described it as a Korean male rite of passage in one of those posts) was a beneficial one, I think, if not always a pleasant one. Now I will spend the rest of my life milking that fucker for all it’s worth. Get me within 10 feet of a beer and I will tell you longwinded stories about sleeping outdoors in subzero temperatures or firing 25kg of death from a hunk of metal older than my dad (affectionately known as the 똥포 “shit cannon” among gunners). I always thought it was an ugly, dated looking piece of machinery, but now that I’m done I think it had a sort of steampunk charm.
In case anyone’s curious, the latter half of my army experience was more pleasant, and I was generally regarded as the nice coporal/sergeant, because I didn’t smack or swear at my underlings or generally give a shit about what they did. I eventually became chief of section, and I led my men with warm indifference.

Thanks to the army I have the confidence that I’ve never had before, a whole bunch of memories that mostly involve digging and carrying heavy shit, and a recurring pain in my left knee.

So would I do it all over again? Fuck no. But hey, it’s over and done with so yay for me.

Boy, am I glad I grew up in an era when the US government didn’t obligate you to get your ass kicked by your fellow countrymen as a duty of citizenship. Welcome back.

A friend was discharged from the U.S. Army. IIRC he’d been out almost six years, but apparently they can call you back even though your enlistment is over. A month or two before the call-back period ended, he got called back. He’s been down at Ft. Hood ever since (two years? three?).

Glad it’s done for you.

Congrats! Good luck in the next stage of your life!

Nothing new - my dad was in the Navy for Korea and he got a “Truman year” - a year’s extension of his enlistment.

And what would the correct name / nomenclature of this weapon be? Enquiring ex-military minds want to look it up. Any device with a bad nickname has to have an equally bad story to go with it.

M101A1, the premier light howitzer of WWII. Actually not a bad gun, it’s just so friggin old. The only real disadvantages when compared to newer light howitzers is that it’s heavier and arguably a bigger pain in ass to lay, which could mean more delay before the first shot is fired. And shorter range. It’s good bang for the buck, and that’s probably the reason they keep on the frontline since from what I understand our primary role in DEFCON1 is to die (as slowly as possible, until the cavalry rolls in). All the more expensive stuff we keep further in the rear, the reasoning being why waste those cooler toys by putting them somewhere that’s going to get obliterated within seconds of war?
Oh and apparently the rounds are more like 20kg. They come in twos in a wooden box and I remembered the boxes weighed around 50kg.

The Korean army doesn’t do that whole you have to serve again business (unless there’s a war of course, but in that case everything’s already fucked anyway). They better not, since it was never our idea to serve in the first place. Conscripts get paid next to nothing, and taking 2 years out of our lives has financial consequences and taking any more would truly be irresponsible. Most Korean men have nightmares about re-conscription decades after their discharge.

But for 6 years after your discharge there is an annual (bi-annual? I should really look this stuff up…) reserved forces training for 3 days, which is more or less a joke from what I hear. I got one in May coming up.

But since everyone does those two years, doesn’t it even out? It’s not like most of your age group has gotten any further with school and careers. Besides, if it’s anything like here, potential employers tend to frown on people who didn’t serve.

BTW - congratulations!

Well… Not women. But men and women are still judged by a different set of standards by employers here (which is sexist, but so is only conscripting men) so it’s moot I suppose. I probably meant being called back into service would have serious financial consequences. But they don’t do that, and they don’t need to since there’s no shortage of manpower when roughly half the population serves at one point in their lives. Although more and more young men are weaseling their way out by having their parents (or friends of parents) pull strings or faking a handicap or chronic illness. But like you said, employers tend to discriminate against those that didn’t serve, even if you had a legitimate reason since it’s too hard to tell otherwise.

Congrats, Grey area, and thanks for your service. North Korea is no playground, and in some small way you helped preserve your country’s freedom in the teeth of that monstrous tyranny across the DMZ.