I was drafted into the Army. This sounds like a simple enough activity. It turned out to be anything but simple.
I reported to the reception center in Kansas City to begin my induction. I was just one of many hundred people there that day. We all went through the normal physical testing, and also took a group of written tests. At the end of the day we were told to go back to our hotel, and come back in a 0800 hours in the morning. The plan was to have where everybody was going sorted out, the orders cut and posted, and everyone sent on their way to basic training.
I was back the next morning at the appointed time. They started calling names and processing people. They would then send them out to get on a bus to begin their trip to basic training. By 1100 hours everyone but me was long gone. I had sat all morning and watched a mechanical but efficient process handle the inductees. I walked up to the front desk where a NCO was sitting, and asked if something was wrong. I explained that I had been told that I would be leaving this morning with orders for basic training. I just wondered if I had somehow slipped through a crack and had been forgotten.
The NCO told me to wait a minute, and went out of the room. About 15 minutes later he returned with a perplexed expression on his face. He informed me that I had not been forgotten, told me to go to lunch, and be back at 1300 hours. I just shrugged my shoulders, and went out the door to lunch.
When I returned and checked back in, the NCO told me to follow him. We walked down a hall to a room large enough to seat 300 people at the tables that were there. I had seen the room before when I took my standard set of written tests on the first day. He sat me down, and said that the testing NCO would be with me in a short time. Then he walked out leaving me in the giant room alone.
Within five minutes, the testing NCO came in. He explained that they were going to have me take another series of tests. I was told that it would take about two hours. He gave me the first test and told me to start. Then he walked up to the desk in the front of the room and sat and stared at me as if he thought I was going to disappear. When I finished that test, he gave me another test, then another test, and finally a fourth test to take.
When I had completed all of these tests, he took me down the hall to a waiting area in the middle of five or six offices. About 15 minutes later a man came out and told me to come with him. We went into one of the offices and sat down. There were now three of us in the room. Myself of course, the man who had come and got me (a physiatrist), and a lady with a steno pad to take notes. For the next two hours I responded to all sorts of question that had no reasonable response. I got questions like “Have you quit beating your wife yet?” At the end of this time I was taken out and put in the waiting area again. I was beginning to believe that I was going to spend the rest of my life treading water at the induction station.
Fifteen minutes later and NCO came out and told me to go get some dinner, go back to the hotel, and return in the morning at 0800 hours. I asked what was going on? His reply was given with absolutely no expression on his face. He told me “You will understand after tomorrow morning!” He then walked out of the room.
I went out the door and left the induction station completely confused. Nothing was going on that made any sense. After dinner that night, I went to the hotel and went to bed. I never really got much sleep, because my mind was constantly churning over these strange events.
I was not well rested when I returned to the induction center. As a result I was probably no in the best mood possible. When I checked in this time, they immediately took me down the hallway to a small private conference room. I was introduced to a “Mr. Jones” and a “Mr. Smith”, offered coffee and a roll, and told to make myself comfortable. Let’s try to examine this in an objective manner. What are the chances that you would me two gentlemen in room whose name was “Mr. Jones” and a “Mr. Smith”. I sure you see the reason I automatically came to the conclusion that these were not their real names. Things had taken a step off in a direction that I was not sure was good.
If this was what the army was supposed to be like, then all my preconceptions were way off base. Mr. Jones started the conversation by reading from a list of points he had on a piece of paper. I was informed that the following were the reasons I was in this meeting this morning:
1 My physical testing had not only demonstrated that I was qualified for military service, but had shown that I was in unusually go physical condition with an extremely low amount of body fat.
2 My written tests scores from the first day were as high as they could be. In essence, I had maxed the tests.
3 My written test scores from the second day rated me in the top 3% of all people who had taken these tests.
4 My Physiatrist’s evaluation result had been very positive. I had not responded to their attempts to make me mad or angry.
Mr. Smith then took over the conversation and explained that they wanted to offer me a special program. If I agreed to the program and its conditions, I would be trained as an analyst and coordinator in Special Intelligence Operations. From this description, I naively thought that this sounded like a desk job. Being and analyst and operations coordinator did not sound like something that would be happening in the jungle.
When I asked them what the conditions were, they told me that I would have to enlist in the army for a period of three years. This was one year longer than a normal draftee would be committed to. But one year more to not be in the jungle really sounded good to me. I would be required to take basic training as all recruits do, then I would go onto Ft. Hollibird in Maryland for my special intelligence training. After that some “additional” special training would take place over a short period of time. At the end of this additional time period, I would be sent to my duty station to perform my duties.
There are two ways to lie successfully. The first way to lie so badly that nobody believes you. This is a process of preplanned statements to accomplish a particular goal. The second way to lie, and the most effective, is to tell someone the absolute truth, but leave out certain details on purpose. You just let the person whom you are deceiving let his mind wander off in a series of assumptions. This is called lying by omission. The second way was what they did to me, and it worked like a charm.
I looked at each of them for a moment, and then said “Where do I sign up?” The trap jaws had just snapped closed on me. I was not aware of what I had just done. That would take another six months for me to actually realize what had been done with me.
The naïve answer I had come up with would turn out to be a major pivot point in my life. In a very short time, as my book “Inside the World of Mirrors – The Story of a Shadow Warrior” shows, I would be in a inside a world that I had never even dreamed existed.
Isn’t it strange how one small decision can affect the rest of your life so dramatically? Don’t get caught like I did. Make sure you have all the facts before you make a decision.