I was working nights in labor and delivery, and we had some mandatory thing after work. While we were in the middle of it, the first sergeant came over and asked me to accompany him across the street to our barracks. We walked up to the third floor where my room was, and some of my buddies were sitting on the floor in the hall, being watched by an MP with a police dog. I was invited to join them.
Meanwhile in the rooms, another police dog, Argo, was sniffing around looking for hashish. He was a good dog, and he found it. Interestingly,the guy who sold it to me and my buddies sold us 5 chunks, each about the size of a thumb. The MPs knew how many chunks they were looking for, and which rooms to look in. We had been ratted out by the guy who sold it to us, who had likely been ratted out himself. By the time the day was done, he had been moved out and we never heard from him again.
They found 4 of the 5 chunks. One of my other friends, whose room was at the end of the hall, overslept and missed the meeting. He walked out of his room and saw all the commotion, said, "Must be a party", and returned to his room. He immediately opened his window and tossed his chunk on the roof. They eventually found it, but couldn't tie it to him.
We got taken down to the base jail and sat there for a while, and then our first sergeant came and took us home. He didn't say much, but he didn't have to.
What happened back then was that they gave you a chance to rehabilitate yourself. It involved lots of peeing in cups, going to rehab classes, non-judicial punishment, and whatever else they thought of.
Shortly after this all transpired, I went to talk with the first sergeant. He was a good guy. I told him I would do whatever it took to not get kicked out of the military. He told me what I would need to do, and I did it.
I went to all the classes and made all the meetings. I peed clean. I stayed out of trouble. I accepted my punishment, which was a temporary drop in rank and pay for 6 months. I also had to translate the dorm fuse box into English from German, and dig a ditch for a hedge the 1st Sgt. wanted to plant.
Everyone else that was caught that day got kicked out.
I learned a lot from the experience. I learned to face trouble on my own for the first time in my life. I learned that I could survive bad things happening to me, which would continue to help me down the line. I learned that I was a survivor.
I finished my tour of duty in Germany and was transferred to a base in the US. A few years later I received an honorable discharge. And a good conduct medal!
I'll never forget that 1st Sgt. who was willing to give me a chance to redeem myself. Glen Jackson. He retired somewhere in Germany.
One of the most encouraging things about reading my two friends' obituaries was that they were able to redeem themselves as well, and bring some love to the world. I am sorry we weren't able to celebrate that together, and that's what made me cry about all this as I wrote it.