A Geek’s MEPS experience
I recently went to Harrisburg
, to enlist in the Air Force
. As this is my account of this location, your mileage may vary.
The first day is simple. You show up, hand the people your papers, and wait for someone to seat you at a computer. If you are reading e2, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with it. Once you finish, you have a seat, and wait for a cab to take you to your “hotel.” The motel I went to wasn’t too bad, the beds were clean, and the TV got the important channels. Patientfox mentions parties in the node above, but I spent the night watching cartoons. Go to bed early, your wake up call is at 4:20.
The medical evaluation
Now the fun begins. Dress comfortably, but not sloppy. When you show up, you go to your branch’s office, drop off your papers, get a nametag, and report to a briefing room. In this room, you will fill out the first of many, many forms. They also measured our blood pressure, pulse, and they also administer a breathalyzer test. After that is done, they send you out to finish the rest of your medical to-do list. Depending on how bad you have to go, you can do the urine test first or last. You have three chances to fill the cup, or else they send you home. They also have someone watching you. In my case, it was a crazy Marine Colonel (isn’t that a bit redundant?) making water sounds. The hearing test is similar to what you may have done in school, where you are placed in a soundproof room and press the button when you hear a beep. They will also take a small sample of blood. The vision test may be different on what service and what job you are going into. My vision test included a color vision test, the standard read-the-smallest-line-you-can test, a depth perception test, and a RAT test, if I remember correctly. The RAT test was matching up a dotted line to a series of lines, and matching an arrow to a numbered circle. If you wear glasses, they will also measure your prescription. I also had to read a simple paragraph as a requirement for the job I signed up for. Once this is done, you are sent into a gender-segregated area and are told to strip down to your underwear. Here, you do a series of simple exercises to demonstrate range of motion, flexibility, ect. If you are going in the Air Force, you also have to lift a 110 lb weight, although in my case, the person responsible for that part said, “You all just lifted.” The final part of your medical evaluation is the individual interview. The Doctor will quiz you again on your drug use and medical history. He will check out your eyes, your ears and your teeth. Don’t be scared when he tells you to bend over and spread your cheeks, he is just looking. After taking an uncomfortably close at your scrotum (if you are so equipped), you are done with the medical component of the day.
The job interview
After lunch, you get to meet individually with someone from the service you want into. Again, my experience may be different from yours here, I was going into the Air Force, and I got a perfect score on the ASVAB. If you have done your research, this part should go quickly. He’ll review your choices, explain them, and recommend a few more. You then pick your top choices, your term of service, and he will print out a temporary contract.
Once that is done, you go back and forth, back and forth, getting papers signed, verified, printed out, re-signed, re-verified, and signed again. You’ll also get your fingerprints scanned. Then you get papers signed and verified again. Then, you swear in. We met with a very large Marine who gave a quick speech on being late, AWOL, and desertion, and gave you one last out. After this, you move across the hall, the Captain comes in, you raise your right hand, and congratulations, you’re in the Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines/Coast Guard/Reserves. Then you sign more papers. Finally, once everything has been signed, you are free to go, until you return to ship out to basic.