When I took this picture, I wondered if people could see the pain in my eyes.
The Military Ruined my Life
I was 17 year old, when I was emancipated by my father to become a solider in the United States Army. My mother passed away when I was 16 years old, she had a stroke when I was 11 years old and never fully recovered. Unlike today a stroke back then was a death sentence for many. I realize now I never really had a chance to mourn over my mother’s death.
I was a typical urban New Yorker, with an urban mentality. I wasn’t really a bad kid, but probably misunderstood by many, especially by my superiors in the military, my chain of command. When I joined the Army it was considered the old Army and a lot of guys in the military served in Vietnam. They were most certainly misunderstood by civilians by the peace movements. Vietnam wasn’t a popular war and I believe a lot of the guys that served in Vietnam were troubled prior to even putting on a uniform. Back then there was a draft, but when I joined it was the beginning of the all volunteer a Army. Whereby those who were drafted could get out and those who joined did so on their own accord, so they say. But the reality of the matter was many of the volunteers joined because of an ultimatum, go to the military or go to jail and that was the reality that was not written on the dotted lines. Joining the Army in that economy wasn’t as popular as it is today.
My father gave me my ultimatum, either go to school, get a job or get out of his apartment. By joining the Army I did all three. But I wasn’t really ready for what I got myself into. After about 8 1/2 months, I was discharged expeditiously. They said I was apathetic. My mother died just a year before I joined, I was 17 years old when I joined and all they could say was I was apathetic. However throughout my enlistment I was shown no empathy, but was constantly pressured, harassed and accused of being maladaptive. I received a general discharge under honorable conditions and received the old GI bill upon discharge. The little self esteem I had after my father’s abuse and lack of empathy, was stolen from me. I did not stop there.
When I was 21 years old, I reenlisted. I left a job as a correctional officer in the State of Florida to do this. I felt I had something to prove and I had one mission on my mind, “get a honorable discharge.” They sent me to Fort Polk Louisiana. A place where I thought I finally found a home in the U.S. Army. I was a good solider and felt I was treated fairly. There were ups and downs and there were lonely days, which is expected in the Army. Hell we stayed in the field 6 months out of the year, training for what was to come, desert warfare. But this was peace time and because of the memories of Vietnam politicians could not sell a war to the American people yet. Then came my nightmare, I was sent back to Swienfurt Germany (Bavaria).
Again I was mistreated by my Platoon Sergeant, but I could handle it. But the thing that broke me was, one night we went to town and this dude named Tally was being kicked out of the Army for selling drugs and he worked for the First Sergeant. His girlfriend came on to me and we had sex in the club, it was just a tease, but I talked about it and it got back to Tally. I did not know he loved her and thought she was just a promiscuous hooker. She was not his wife and he was going back tot he States within a week and she was playing the field. I still do not know if I did something wrong because she came on to me and all I knew was he was getting kicked out of the Army. I really did not know she was his girlfriend, she did not act like that in the club, she was all over me and he was there and said nothing about it to me.
So a dude named Ronald Washington, who was my roommate, who was a dud. Meaning like me the first time was maladaptive. I looked out for him and thought he was my friend. But he took a contract from Tally to rape me in exchange for Tally’s drug connections, which was the First Sergeant. They drugged me with something at the club and we walked back as it took effect. As I laid in my bunk powerless and unable to defend myself Ronald Washington raped me as paybacks for Tally.
The next morning when I woke up I thought it was a bad dream. But I went to the restroom and his semen came out of my rectum when I used the bathroom, because I had a stomach ache. I realized it really happened. I attacked him, but I was weak at the time and it was broken up. I went to the infirmary, they took a sample from my rectum and that was the end of it. No article 15 or court martial and I was told if I try to harm him. I would receive disciplinary action. And the mistreatment continued by my Platoon Sergeant. But I had one mission on my mind and that was “to get a honorable discharge.” And I did! But something happened the night before I left Germany. Three men from my unit were killed, I was in a covert unit and was accused of destroying it. And the DOD never forgave me for this. I found out what happened to me month later, by I think his name was McDonald, we called him Mac. He told me just before he ETS to go home.
I again reenlisted after I went home for about 5 months and was sent back to Fort Polk, but to our rivalry unit. Instead of going to the 1 of the 10th Field Artillery, I went to the 3rd of the 19th Field Artillery. They did not receive me well, I was mistreated again, but I did not have it in me anymore. I married a stranger, because I vowed to myself this time, “if I ever get raped again I would kill the person who did it.” Not knowing I might have killed the others who violated me. I did not want to live in the barracks, because their seemed to be too many closet homosexuals in the Army. This is something I learn about combat arms, a lot of guys screw their buddies. There were a lot of homosexuals in the military back then and probably still are even before “don’t ask don’t tell.” I got kicked out on a BCD special, after I went AWOL. I just could not handle the pressure anymore. This was 1987, I first joined in 1976.
In 1991, I was arrested at the White House for threatening then President George H.W. Bush. I believe because of my covert status, I was not charged. One month later I was arrested again in California and then convicted for sending threatening communications through the mail. I was convicted on one count of a four count indictment for threatening then Janet Jackson‘s live-in boyfriend Rene Elizondo. I thought she was my wife. I am now diagnosed as being schizophrenic and bipolar, with grandiose delusions.
Today nobody believes anything I say, about my stays in Germany, my tours in the Army and about my covert status while serving in the military, because I am “delusional.” Since I was 32 years old, I could never find a job worth a damn, even after finishing college. I am not very educated, but I do have two A.A.S Degrees, finishing on the top of my class both times. That is what the Army did for me. They used my and then spit me out and throw me away.
Frank Paul Jones