Chapter 29: Getting claimed

Yuma, Arizona. My, oh my. This place had to be the pit of the western region of the southwest. It was like little Mexico. I was the minority since I didn't speak Spanish fluently. I noticed that everyone walking around the city were wearing long sleeve shirts, so I assumed that it was cold outside. It was the beginning of March and I just left snow and ice in Kansas, so I just thought it was cooler down here than in California.
I pulled onto the exit for the Air Station and tried to gather my thoughts. I had no idea what I was in for, but thing was for sure - I was going to proceed through the front gate the correct way. No getting guns pulled on me this time! I pulled into Pass and ID after being waived over by the MP. I got out of car and began to melt.  Why are people wearing sweatshirts and long sleeves and I am melting? When I went into the office, I asked the MP behind the counter "How hot is it out there today?" "High today is in the mid-80's, so it will be pretty cool outside today." Cool? How is 85 considered cool weather? Hell. I have been sent to hell.
After downing three bottles of water, I checked in to the Headquarters, no longer dehydrated. I assumed that they were going to have me check into the admin shop since I was an admin by trade. Nope, I was sent to become of a member of the Military Police.  Why would someone like me be attached to the Provost Marshall's Office? I think I turned bright white when the Marine told me this. I had no idea what it would mean to become a MP. For 5 1/2 years, I stayed clear of PMO and now I was part of them? Karma, oh hate me! Or is it Murphy? Murphy and his stupid laws always found their way to punish me.
As my sunk and it was hard to swallow, I entered the Provost Marshall's Office. To this day, I have no idea why I was scared, but I was. Brilliant me got out of my car and stood in the parking lot, looking completely lost. I entered the building through the main door, which was also where people were booked. I went up to the desk Sergeant and told him that I was checking in. He looked me and ask me, "Are you deserter? Are you on an unauthorized absence? Have you committed any crimes?" I just stood there, completely baffled. He then noticed the orders in my hand and said, "Oh you are checking in. Let me grab someone for you." I seriously wanted to kick him in the nuts for that one.
Next thing I know, I Staff Sergeant pops out into the lobby and says, "Man, we have another one? Who are these people?" Not knowing what to say, I just followed him into his office. There are found about 4 other Marines, and they had the same expression on their face as I did, which basically was, "What in the hell is this?" All of us recalled Marines stood out into the hallway together, leaning against the wall. Then this other Staff Sergeant starts yelling at us as if we were a bunch of boot campers coming straight from MCT to our first duty station. He kept saying, "You Reservists this, you Reservists that..." I kept staring at him, hoping that I could be given the chance to pop him in the juggler. I bravely said, "Staff Sergeant, we are not Reservists, we are Marines. Please refer to us as Marines and nothing less, nothing more. Many of us have served longer than a majority of your MP's around here, so we deserve that respect." Yeah, that went over well. After getting yelled out for about 15 minutes by the guy who just happened to return to the fleet from DI Duty two week prior, he said, "You're mine. I like you. You seem to be outspoken which works great for me." Next thing I knew, I was the Training NCO for PMO.
Training NCO was an odd title for me. I was now in charge of teachings the Marines on base on how to shoot the M1014 Shotgun. Here's the irony: I had never shot one. I had never held one. How am I teach others on how to shoot it? That was my homework for my first day at a member of PMO; figure out how to train others on a weapon that I have never used.
Okay, maybe that homework assignment was to be put on hold, because once I retired to my new barracks room, I realized that I didn't have a mattress on my bed. How did they expect me to sleep without a mattress? I went down to the duty and asked him where my mattress was. Yes, I was acting like a little Diva. I left my comfy bed from home to a room with no mattress. Hell yeah I demanded a mattress.
So a nice Marine brought me my mattress. Okay, maybe he knocked on my door, dropped the mattress on the deck and said, "Here you go, High Maintenance." What an ass! This is why I didn't like MP's. Cocky SOB's...
I looked at my bed and noticed two pieces of plywood on the frame. It appeared that a board was missing, but I looked at the rack above and notice that it only had two pieces also. Afraid to ask for help, I threw the mattress on the frame and went to sleep. Half the mattress sagged from my body pressure but I refused to ask for help. I also refused to think outside the box and to take the board from the board from the top bunk to put under my mattress, but that was besides the point.
The next morning, I could barely move. My body ached. When my Staff Sergeant asked what was wrong with me, I explained to him my ordeal. He then fell out of chair from laughter. From that point forward, he never let me live that down, but it did break the ice. He fixed my rack for me, laughed at me some more and said, "Let's go shoot some shot guns, Marine." And that's what we did, shot some rounds and I familiarized myself with this shotgun.


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