For those who do not know, a M.E.P.S. is a Military Entrance Processing Station, and it can also be spelled H-E-L-L. The Nashville MEPS is located at Executive Park 4751 Trousdale Drive, Nashville, TN 37220-1378.
I was actually at the MEPS on three different occasions, and none of them were pleasant experiences. The first time I found myself at the MEPS was when I had to retake the ASVAB. My test scores from sophomore year in high school were too old to be accepted. They took us upstairs that evening and sat us down in a room filled with computer terminals. The test was computerized, and, as it seemed to me anyway, challenging only to preschoolers. I scored an AFQT of 87 and a GT of 117. If you don't know what that means, let me just put it like this, I could have gotten any MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) in the Marine Corps. I wanted more than anything to be an INTEL (Intelligence) translator, and my grades on the ASVAB were high enough to allow me to test for the foreign language institute for INTEL. (The foreign language testing is the reason I went to MEPS the second time.) I only scored an 80 on that test, barely missing the passing marks, so INTEL was out. I ended up with a MOS of EBP 9971 Calibration/ Electronics Repair with a $3000.00 sign-on bonus. Granted it still wasn't too shabby, but things were already deviating from the plans I had made for myself.
The third time I went to MEPS was to get a full physical, and let me tell you I got everything (except the finger, thank God!) they could possibly imagine. The urine test was the worst. I am not one to just be able to take a leak with some guy watching me, thus you see how this could become a problem area. It would also affect one incident at Parris Island, SC as well, but that is another story. Anyway, I was not the only one to be held up by this aspect of the process. Several others had to join me on that back and forth trip the the water fountain time after time. Each time we entered the head we were near the point of pissing in our pants, but once we were ready to get down to business, the phantom urine would again go into hiding. At last, after being thrown out of the head several times, I finally did the deed. The tests really weren't the worst part of MEPS.
The worst part of MEPS, and the USMC in general, was the hurry up and wait of it all. The military is two-thirds wait for one-third activity, and MEPS is a prime example. The only thing that makes the wait endurable is chatting with the other applicants. The Nashville MEPS services a great deal of the southeast. I met people from the surrounding states on each of my visits.
The wait is made more uncomfortable by that hospital feel to the place. I have never been one for hospitals, and I doubt I ever will be, so you can imagine how much I hated MEPS. All branches of the military use the same MEPS (Air Force, Air National Guard, National Guard, Army, Navy, and the Marine Corps). So, not only did I meet the people I would be travelling with to Parris Island at MEPS, but also recruits leaving for basic training at miitary bases across the country.
I still wonder about Travis J. Lance (from Middle TN), Jeremy R. Ashley (from Tullahoma, TN), and Demetria S. Erskine. Yes, I still wonder if they made it, and if so, where they are stationed and how they are liking it.