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It's Off to MEPS We Go!

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The whole process lasted 20 minutes at the most. Then, a large screen was put up and we had to individually meet with the doctor. We had to "Turn your head and cough" and bend over and let him check for any Hemorrhoids. Of course it was awkward, but everybody had to do it, and I'd take it any day over a thorough "finger check".

After I was released and dressed, I was up for the hearing test. It was lunch time, and several of the staff were eating. After a 15 minute wait, the nurse from this morning put me in a supposedly soundproof booth where I donned a set of earphones and was given a "Jeopardy-buzzer" that I was to click when I heard a beep. This was a long process, and coupled with the sound of my own breathing and the sounds of the people outside, it was quite stressful.

When it was over, the nurse opened the door and recorded my score. She made a funny face when she looked at them, which worried me. "Is it bad," I asked.

"Nope, normal."

That was a relief, and I was on to my last stop of the day: the personal interview with the doctor.

The line lasted 15 minutes or so, and I was pretty nervous about it. I had a potentially disqualifying breathing problem on my medical form, and I was afraid he'd DQ me. Prior to leaving for MEPS however, I did my homework and got necessary documentation from my doctor regarding my status, including pulmonary function test results. I'd also broken a bone when I was quite young, but didn't have any details or paperwork (I wasn't even sure which bone).

The doctor called me in, and had me read a paragraph to him to check for literacy. If you can read this, you shouldn't have any problem with it. He then asked me about my "yes" questions on the medical form (He didn't seem to care about the injury when I was 5). I had rehearsed my description prior to going to MEPS. That's not to say I was dishonest or withholding in any way -- quite the opposite. It was detailed, accurate, and concise, and covered my history and current status (I left NOTHING out). He was pleased that I had taken a pulmonary function test, and signed off on it.

I was in.

Because I am joining the Air Force, I was sent to a little room with a weight machine in it. The machine itself resembled a guillotine, with a large lifting bar in front. The nurse demonstrated it sans the weights. There were 4 different weight levels to lift. I was able to lift all 4, although the 4th was certainly the most difficult.

The desk clerk took my folder of information (which I had on hand throughout the day) and sent it for the day's final processing. He told me to go eat lunch, which was a great relief because I was starving.

I walked to the snack room, where an attractive Subway girl was preparing to give the "Last Call." There were 6 sandwiches left, all ham, so my choice was pretty easy. Bottled water was the drink of choice, and I had one as well. It was delicious, and I woofed it down in minutes, and started on the potato chips and cookie. After guzzling down my water and cleaning up my trash, I headed back to the medical room where I awaited my final documents.

I was given my folder, and brought it to my Air Force liaison "You're finished with MEPS!" the airman said.

My day at MEPS was complete.

I collected my bag from the closet and returned to my car and left the base. I visited my recruiter and told her the good news, and began selection of a job. I intend to join Security Forces.

GUIDE NOTE: Because Dave is joining the Reserves, the job selection process is done through the Recruiter. Had Dave been enlisting on active duty, the MEPS experience would have included job selection, a Security Interview, and (likely) enlistment in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP). Additionally, Dave took the ASVAB and physical on the same day. At many (most?) MEPS facilities, today, the ASVAB is performed on the afternoon of arrival, and the medical/job selection process is accomplished on the following day.

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Some final thoughts on MEPS:

    - Don't expect much sleep the night before.

    - Eat your breakfast.

    - It's not that bad, and if you pay attention you won't have any problems.

    - Keep it together during the ASVAB. Yes it's long. Yes it's difficult. Pace yourself and do your best.

    - Be honest in your medical background. If you have a potentially disqualifying problem, get all the documentation you can squeeze from your doctor, and get a RECENT examination. Have your verbal medical description ready: keep it concise and detailed, and keep it accurate. Let the facts speak for themselves. The doctors are very reasonable.

I hope you find this helpful! Good luck in your MEPS experiences!

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