Veteran Status: Part II, Advanced Individualized Training
A Five-Part Series on My Life in the Army
P2 Krzycki, Lisa A.
United States Army Signals Intelligence Analyst – 98C
Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas
October, 1989 – March, 1990
When you enlist, you take the ASVAB: “The ASVAB is a multiple-aptitude battery that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success in the military.” There are many factors in deciding on what type of work you will perform in the military but your ASVAB results are critical. I scored well so I entered Military Intelligence and after graduating Basic Training, I was sent to Texas to complete my Military Occupational Speciality (MOS) 98C course.
Why an Air Force base and not an Army post? I don’t remember but I do remember thinking I’d joined the wrong branch. Not only did their mess hall have an OMELETTE BAR but you could wear earrings with your BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform, or camouflage). Everything about that base was nicer than every Army post I’d visit or be stationed at in the future. Sorry Army.
Now that you’re a soldier, it’s time to specialize. Advanced Individualized Training (AIT) is where you learn your job. In the vaguest of terms (in the off-chance my security clearance might still be valid) I worked on code encryption and decryption and matrices. It was the most difficult subject I’d ever studied and I had to work hard to graduate and that really took time away from all the partying to which I’d committed. As you’ll see from the photo above, the male-to-female ratio really worked in my favor. Outside of how hard the course was and how incredibly difficult it was to run on an air strip, what I remember most about this time was throwing down the most badass running-man dance moves in a club every weekend and the seductive scent of Drakkar Noir.
Still a trainee and still under the command of a drill sergeant when outside of the classroom, things were much easier during AIT because at least you finished Basic Training – you weren’t completely useless. It also helped that my drill sergeant at Goodfellow was a ladies’ man, helpful in that – again – there were so few of us ladies.
DS Marchany: He got his uniforms, including his BDUs, professionally pressed. Many drill sergeants and regular enlisted did this but his creases were so goddamned perfect you knew you’d fail every inspection if he was in a 5-mile vicinity of your sloppy ass. Hair perfect. Mustache perfect (and familiar, no?). Puerto Rican and proud. Safe to say I harbored a big ol’ crush, as this photo so embarrassingly belies.
Salina and Diane: While not in the same course (I think they were 98Gs), we were in the same barracks so we attached quickly. Diane was a runner. Salina was a smoker and liked wearing a lot of make-up whenever not in uniform.
Let me stop here and comment on the proliferation of smoking in the military – EVERYBODY IN THE ARMY SMOKED OR CHEWED AND THEY ALL RAN FASTER THAN ME. That is all.
As to Salina and Diane, they were hilarious, sassy and confident and together we rebel-roused whenever possible. Twenty-year-olds in Texas. More firsts – Diane was the first Native American I’d ever known which meant absolutely nothing to me then. She was cool and funny and up for anything. I’m lucky to still count her as a friend today.
Stuart: Stuart became my boyfriend and my first fiance.
Let me stop here and comment on marriage in the military: it was very popular and not just because the military was filled with a bunch of fit, horny 19-year-olds with a little money to burn. It is popular because when you are married you get paid more, you get to live off post and you get assigned to same post. I knew more than a few “couples” who got hitched just to get an apartment and I knew a lot of couples who got married just so they would be stationed together. The word I’m looking for here is incentive, there was incentive to marry and that’s not great especially when you are so very, very young. I’ve been out of the military forever so I hope those policies have progressed with the times.
When DS Marchany found out (it was a small community) Stuart and I were dating he made fun of us because I was bigger than Stuart. Stuart was indeed small in stature but he won my heart and even made sure it found its way to San Francisco, but more on that tomorrow.
Karen: Outside of my ex-husband (it’s coming, it’s coming), Karen was the most significant person in my life during my Army career. Like Linda in Basic Training, Karen was older and wiser and since we were the only two women in our class, we became roommates. A true Georgia Peach, she had the thickest accent I ever heard which garnered endless unwanted attention. She raved about boiled (“bulled”) peanuts. She only dated black men. She had her own act together and in a highly competitive environment she let me shine and pushed me to do well. I can only hope I was as good to her. Same class, same platoon, same MOS, same, same, same. We did everything together. She was my best friend.
Darr, Cotto, Ghandi. Morgan from Rocky Mount, Virginia who stretched “Mount” into two syllables but forced “Rocky” into one. In just six months these people made an indelible mark on my life. I celebrate them this week and always.