Friday, December 4, 2009

MEPS Part I - ASVAB & MEPS (Pre-Basic Training) 123 Days until Basic

After I decided I wanted to join the Army I had to schedule a time to take the ASVAB test and get my physical done at MEPS.

The ASVAB test (The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) This test is used to determine which jobs you qualify for in the Army.

MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) This is the site where the military determines an applicant's physical qualifications, aptitude and moral standards as set by each branch of military service, the Department of Defense, and federal law.

The plan was for the recruiters to take me out on a Thursday afternoon and drive to Spokane, which is about 3 hours away. Thursday night I would take the ASVAB test and then stay the night in a hotel. The next morning would be the physical at MEPS. If all went according to plan we would be back home by about 3 or 4 PM on Friday.

Like a lot of missions, this one didn’t go as planned. There were 4 of us all together, the recruiter who was driving us, a cop who wanted to join the reserves, another guy who was a year older than myself, and me. I arrived after lunch on Thursday at about 12:30. I patiently waited in the recruiter’s office while they got everything ready. This included a kind of pep talk or rehearsal. The recruiters went over everything that was going to happen at MEPS. He let us know that it’s the recruiter’s job to get people in the army and it’s MEPS job to disqualify people. He said they would use all kinds of scare tactics to try and get people to cough up all kinds of information. He said it is all scare tactics. He also let us know we would be taking a pee test and they will stand there and watch you do it.

The four of us assembled in the car and took off on our road trip. About an hour into the trip the recruiter said, “Now you all have your folders right?” I said “Um … you never gave me a folder!” Needless to say we ended up turning around and heading back to the recruiter’s office so he could get my folder, which had my social security card in it. Turns out you use this a lot at MEPS. This put us a few hours behind schedule and we ended up not being able to take the ASVAB test that evening. The recruiter had to call and have me and another guy reschedule for Friday morning.

We arrived at the hotel in Spokane and we were checked in and everyone was given a dinner and breakfast voucher. We were given strict orders not to have anyone else in our rooms and to behave. My guess is they have had issues before. They said our wake up call was set for 4:45 AM. Yuck! I was not looking forward to getting up that early, but as long as there was coffee in the morning I would be all right.

The three of us ended up eating dinner together. We got to choose from a special MEPS menu at the hotel restaurant. The food was pretty good and I even got ice cream fro dessert.

It was a little difficult to get to sleep with my mind racing non-stop thinking about what the next day was to bring. I did wake up at 3AM, 4AM, 4:30AM, then 4:45AM. Surprisingly the phone never rang with our wake-up call. Then there was a knock on the door. A hotel employee was at the door doing a manual wake-up notice because the phone system was having issues. So I jumped in the shower and got ready, waited for my roommate to get ready and then we headed down to the breakfast buffet at the hotel. After that we were loaded up with about 15 other recruits onto a shuttle to the MEPS offices in downtown Spokane.

Not sure if all MEPS offices are like this, but this one is located at a courthouse. We were offloaded from the shuttles and waited in the sub freezing cold for about ten minutes until someone finally unlocked the doors. Once in we had to go through a metal detector and have our bags scanned similar to security at the airport. Once through we all went to a room with offices for each of the branches of the service. Most of us were there for the Army, so we were herded like cattle to one corner of the room. We each had a name tag to stick on our bags and ourselves. Each of us had to fill out a lunch ticket (mmmm…turkey sandwich). Finally we grabbed our paperwork.

Next was the briefing room. All the recruits were told (just like the recruiter said earlier) that they are going to look up everything that ever happened to us. They are the federal government and have access to everything we have ever done in our lives. Nobody can stop them; so don’t lie on any of these forms. They will find out and you will go to jail and forfeit your pay. I was expecting all this, but then ironically they said, “We know what your recruiter told you, don’t believe them. We will find out everything” Luckily I wasn’t in much of a dilemma, since I haven’t had anything serious happen to me in the past. Honestly I haven’t been to the doctor since a sports physical to play basketball in high school. Everyone filled out some medical history questionnaires that mainly had yes or no answers. Any yes answers required an explanation at the bottom.

Next up...the ASVAB test. Myself and three of the other recruits were taken into a computer lab where we were given instructions and then proceeded to take the test. The test is broken into different sections and you have a time limit for each section. As long as you move along at a decent pace you should be able to finish each section in the allocated time. After that all Army recruits were required to take a personality test. I believe it was called the TAPAS test or something similar. It would provide you with two statements and you are supposed to pick which one represents you the best. Sometimes I think it shows two negative ones to see which one you don’t pick.

When all the testing was complete I was sent back to medical to complete my physical. I was aware that I would have to pee in a cup before all of this started so I made sure to not go before my ASVAB test. By now I had to go pretty bad and was relieved that I would not have to hold it any more. When I arrived at the medical desk the guy there told me I should eat my lunch and come back when I’m done because the “pee guy” was not there right now. Great, just what I did not want to do. I quickly ate my lunch, which was not too bad. (a pita sandwich with chips and a cookie). I did not end up drinking too much of anything though, just enough to wash down what I had just finished eating. I arrived back at the medical station and thankfully they were ready to accept my pee. I went into a room where a guy handed me a cup and then carefully watched me pee into it ¾ full. Luckily the room also had a urinal on the wall so I could finish off in there. I think I could have filled a dozen of those cups! They headed off with my cup of pee to test for various drugs and then took me into a room to draw my blood. This was done to check for certain types of diseases if I remember correctly.

Next step I had my eyes checked and my hearing tested. I’m slightly nearsighted and I’ve been to too many rock concerts as a kid, so I’ve lost some of my hearing. Luckily I evidently have enough hearing left to serve in the Army. To quote the hearing test administrator “It’s good enough for government work” I just have to make sure to wear protection if I head off to any more concerts. I then had a one on one talk with a doctor. The doctor quickly went over all my answers from the medical questionnaire I took at the beginning of the day. All were no except broken or cracked bones. I then had to explain how I broke my nose and right pinky finger during two separate basketball incidents. Oh and yes I did smoke pot when I was young and dumb. It was 20 years ago and I only tried it a few times.

Next up the physical exam. There were four of us together this time. All the people that ended up taking the ASVAB with me earlier in the day. We all had to strip down to our boxers and perform a number of movements, bends, twists, funny walks, etc. The doctor had a good look at us while we were doing all of this and then took us into a room individually. In the room I had to drop my drawers and let him feel my balls while I coughed. Then came an interesting moment… I had to bend over and spread my butt cheeks. The doctor crouched down took a visual and said, “it all looks normal” Luckily I didn’t fart!

When this was finished I got dressed and waited for my recruiter to come back and get me and my fellow recruits to head back home. A long day has been finished, and I’m one step closer to joining the Army.


hello how did you make this blog like this? im going to Benning may 31 and i would like to make one like yours. any link on how to create one like your? thanks

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 11:08 PM


When I decided to do this I purchased the domain name "" from GoDaddy. I already had a mobileme membership which gave me a place to host the website. My Mac came with iLife which has a program called iWeb that makes creating and maintaining a website very easy. I set it up and then wrote letters to my wife every day from basic, when she received the letters she would type them up and post them. By the time I got to AIT I was able to have a laptop with internet access and I updated it from that point on.

If you check out my "Other's Stories" on my main website, you can see a lot of them use BlogSpot to create their blogs. You can check it out at It's free and if you have someone you trust back at home you can have them log in and post your updates.

Saturday, April 2, 2011 - 12:08 AM


thanks buddy, heres my blog> please tell me what you think. thanks man

Saturday, April 2, 2011 - 03:09 AM


The site looks great...good job! Congratulations on not giving up and good luck with your army career. Keep that attitude of not giving up while in basic, it will serve you well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011 - 09:15 AM


thanks man, i really want this, i want to be able to call myself an us soldier.

Saturday, April 2, 2011 - 10:49 AM

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