"My time in service saved my life by acting like the father figure I never had. It taught me a lot about how to get along with people I don't know."
My name is Anthony Vasquz and I was an E4 in the Army from 1977-1984. My service was a way to deal with what was my situation at the time. My biological parents were murdered. I was in the foster system, but I did not have a father figure to teach me life lessons. The foster family I was with rejected and abused me. Eventually, I ran from home and slept in the park. I did this for 10 years until I got my act together. I worked in diners and restaurants; however, I was not getting anywhere living check to check.When I was 20, my girlfriends father took me under his wing. He was a retired veteran. I was inspired and went into training as a mechanic. I traveled to Europe, came back, and re-enlisted as an E-4, partly due to my experience, but also due to a bonus that I would receive upon joining.
Basic training was the biggest change; otherwise, it was just a normal job. I was not good at making friends, my biggest weakness. However, I made friends here and there, and they have lasted a long time.
I spent most of my time domestically, but I did travel to West Germany under a TDA(Temporary Duty Assignment). I had to maintain the generators that supplied power to the radar.
My time in service saved my life by acting like the father figure I never had. It taught me a lot about how to get along with people I don't know. We did everything together, from working to sleeping to eating. When abroad, never travel by yourself. Always have 5-6 guys with you, or else people will take advantage of you. With this advice in mind, the men I traveled with have stayed with me for our entire lives. We were there together when the Berlin Wall fell. It was a piece of history that I just happened to witness, but it was also one we experienced together.
With all this in mind, I would definitely serve again. But I would love to go to Italy this time around; beautiful women live there. I had more fun in the military than I ever did in my civilian life. If I was president, I would make it mandatory for all kids in high school go into at least 2 years of service. It teaches you how to really be an adult, and gives you many lessons.
My foster family could not teach me anything that the military could teach me. My mom taught me to cook and dress. But the military taught me how to defend myself and how to get acquainted with others, things that were far more crucial to me.