Although I had had some ROTC experience, I was not enamored with going to Viet Nam. OCS was closed when I graduated in June of 1970, so I enlisted, in an attempt to obtain an MOS that was non-combat related. I went into the Quartermaster Corps after completing basic training at Fort Knox. I went through three levels of training in Fort Lee, Virginia, and I thought I was doing pretty well until someone announced that the third class was about aviation supply with an emphasis on helicopters. In the same announcement our entire class was told that we were going to Viet Nam and that in the course of the next few weeks we would be getting our shots and jungle provisions. This was not part of my plan.
Our class was slow to get orders for next duty station, and I was the first in the entire company to do so. The First Sergeant made an announcement in formation one morning for me to report directly to the orderly room. Class was finished and we were just killing time until our orders came. When I walked in, top asked me if I was Private Robinson, and I answered affirmatively.
"This is not supposed to happen!" he said as he read my orders.
"What?" I said.
He looked at me crossly and handed me my orders as he repeated, "This is not supposed to happen." I had no idea what to look for in the orders, and all I saw was 8th Infantry Division, APO 09185. I asked the First Sergeant what this meant.
"Robinson, this is not supposed to happen. You are supposed to be going to Viet Nam."
Again, I asked, "What does this mean?"
"Robinson, you are going to Germany. You are supposed to be going to Viet Nam, and you are going to Bad Kreuznaut, Germany."
I had no idea where BK, Germany was except it was the opposite direction from Viet Nam, and the First Sergeant was not happy with my current travel plans. I immediately started collecting all of my personal gear and cleared the post as quickly and invisibly as I could, to go to Germany.
I later learned that most if not all of my classmates did go to southeast Asia, and some that I knew died there, some became mentally disturbed, and some became abusers of drugs and alcohol.
I did well with military life and spent the rest of my time at Finthen Army Airfield in Mainz, Germany. I never spent a night in a tent, and made the best of being in Europe. I was fortunate to travel and see places and things I never would have seen if I had not been in the Army. I wish everyone had had an experience similar to mine.