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Proud Principal Castro presenting cake to the faculty, celebrating the honor.
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Pictured: Sophomores Justine Relona, Szaffi Fejes, Natalie Gutierrez, and Krishna Rivera.
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As the students are nearing the end of the 2024 school year and seniors are preparing for their future after high school. Some faculty members...

Armed Forces – MEPs Insider

Our own Sean Hunt takes us inside the enlistment process for the Armed Forces
LA MEPs front sign
LA MEPs front sign
Armed Forces Flags

The Armed Forces is an important part of our nation’s security and the future for many NAHS students. However, most do not know the process of enlistment and the horrors attached to it.  I found out first hand.

The first process is to pick which branch of service you want to join and get into contact with your local recruiter for that branch to start. The branches are The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard. From then they will try to coat you into signing. However, I recommend fact-checking everything they say because most of it is lies so they can meet their quota, no matter how nice they might seem, they have a quota they need to reach. After coming to a census with your incentive, you will sign a butch of legal papers clarifying you are a citizen and authorize the military to perform a physical test for you to determine if you are eligible to join.

Granada Hills Recruitment Center

Once you are done signing many papers, you will take a test called the ASVAB, which stands for Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery. If you pass the score of 35, you are smart enough to join the military. The score does not matter anymore as long as you pass because you can essentially pick any job within the military. Jobs in the military are called MOS which stands for Military Occupational Specialty. When you join, there is a difference between Active Duty and Reserve. Active Duty is a four year contract and you have no say in your location and will get shipped out somewhere far away, while Reserve is a six year contract but you get to pick your location and only have to work two days in a month and two weeks in summer.

Entrance of MEPs

After taking the ASVAB in the office, the recruiter personally drove me down to Los Angeles MEPs, which is located right next to LAX. Think of MEPs as a DMV but many many times worse, because you have to be there for two days doing paperwork and humiliating things with people who disrespect you the entire way. MEPs stands for Military Entrance  Processing Station and is the longest and most boring part of your military career. Once I got there, I had to go through military security which is like the TSA but even worse because they are 100% more rude and disrespectful. The one thing I don’t understand is if the military is built on brotherhood and family, then why once you get an inch of power above someone they want to abuse that.

After I got through security, I went to the LA Marine Office in the building and I would talk to anyone but still respectfully. Another middle aged Marine in the back got up from his desk and yelled at me and my partner saying “Emo band boy, you shut your disrespectful *** up and respect everyone in this building as Sir or Ma’am, you understand?” which made us get into the habit of saying that to everyone. Also, the casual racism in the military between the people threw me off. A lot of comments were made about people of the same rank but came off as a joke which people here would consider very offensive.

After the office, I had to re-take the ASVAB to confirm it was me who took it away from MEPs. I achieved a good score and went to the paid-for military hotel down by LAX. A lot of people were shipping off to other parts of the world and the other half was there for MEPs. We got a good spaghetti dinner by the hotel and then had to go to sleep and wake up at 3am to eat breakfast and head off to MEPs again.

Once we got to MEPs again we were standing outside in the cold as a squadron. A soldier was out there prepping us to go inside and we were forced to get through the awful security again. Once in the building, we had a mission brief of the medical physical we were going to take upstairs by a very long and boring presentation, then we had to take a breathalyzer and go to the physical. Luckily, I was the first one to do everything but still took me five hours. Some people took 12 hours. We had to take a hearing test, vision test, weight and height test, blood test, and urine test. The urine test is the worst one because it is a test another person might watch to confirm it is yours. When I got into the bathroom, I was lined up next to five urinals with four other men around me and two soldiers watching. No dividers in-between each other so we can see everything. The two soldiers told us to take our pants off down to our ankles and start. They are watching you pee into a cup, and you can see the people next to you doing it as well. Someone in my group cut wind badly and they air-conditioned the bathroom with air fresher fast. They turned in the urine test and we went to the physical.

When I got to the doctor, I found out I passed everything with perfect score, perfect hearing, perfect vision, awaiting results with urine and blood which is good because they are testing for HIV, STDs, and if you have drugs in your system. With the doctor, I had to undress completely while he touched everywhere and I had to do something called a duck walk. If failed, even accidentally messed up, you cannot join the military and are disqualified. You have to squat and walk in a duck naked, and turn and do the same thing back. If you pass, the doctor will have to inspect your anus and you will be cleared. You may be humiliated, but, if cleared, you are ready for the military.

However in my case, despite everything being perfect. My medical history showed I had ADHD which is considered a disability and I was not cleared. I’m currently having to submit an admission of appeal which always gets approved in my situation, but however takes a while. But thankfully, I will not be joining until 2029 since I want to be a Marines officer after I attend Berkeley for reserves.

This was my experience at MEPs and the Armed Forces and hopefully, this will help you choose whatever path you take. Do your research before anything, the recruiters still have to reach a quota despite what they tell you. They will say anything to get you to sign, and search it up for yourself.

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