Happy Veteran’s Day! As we remember those who served and fought for our country, we look back on this #FlashbackFriday to a blog posted by Offender Anson back on Veteran’s Day, 2009. Anson is a veteran and served in the U.S. Navy. He wrote about what that experience was like for a “young, tiny Chinese American”:

On September 11th 1997, I enlisted in the United States Navy signing a contract to serve for six years. I was only 17 years old at the time, so six years would eventually be a fourth of my life. But I had no choice. Either I stay home with an abusive family member and rough it out or make my own decision and go on the ultimate journey of life, the military.

I joined as a 5′ 2″ 120 lbs, young, tiny, Chinese American not knowing what was in stored. As I held my right hand up and took an oath to defend this country, I honestly didn’t know what the HELL that meant. The only thing that stuck out was, GI BILL, College Fund, travel the world. They didn’t tell me about Iraq, deployments, never seeing your friends and family, racist abuse, mindless zombies doing janitorial work. But that will all be saved for another post. Today I would like to describe my first 72 hours in bootcamp…all of which I was awake for.

As we boarded the plane in SFO to Chicago to a place called Great Lakes aka “Great Mistakes” for bootcamp, another young sailor sat next to me on the plane from San Jose. We shared some laughs and thoughts since my friend’s going away present was some porn for the flight.

Arriving to Great Lakes at midnight, we exited the school bus to yelling RDC’s (Recruit Division Commanders) and quickly filed in lines. I knew then my decision to enlist was being questioned. Each person had to take turns yelling out their social security number. I, on the other hand, didn’t even know what that number is or meant. Next came my first spit in the face when I didn’t know the number. His breath wreaked of pepperoni pizza and I already found myself on the ground doing 20 pushups.

To read the rest of the blog, click here.