This is the 3rd and final part of our story in joining the Navy. The first part can be found here. And this is where you can read the second. It still amazes me how God orchestrated all the pieces of the puzzle together. Especially this next part…
So now you know what got us on our process of joining the Navy. Bet you think we enlisted and then just waited for his ship date, right? HA! If only it was that easy for us!
Ben went about an hour away overnight to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Command) to meet with a job counselor, learn more about enlistment, and get checked out by a Navy physician. He called me on the second day to say he’d be home early. Once the recruiter dropped him off at our house, he let me know he’d been flagged!
His blood pressure was too high.
Of course his blood pressure was high since he had recently been laid off, is pursuing a high pressure job, has white coat syndrome (his BP spikes around doctors), AND they woke him up at 4am for tests so he drank around 4 cups of coffee. But there was no moving forward until this was checked out and he was cleared. Since he wasn’t enlisted, he couldn’t technically be “treated” or checked out anymore by their doctors and was sent home.
At first he was told he would need to see a cardiologist. (WHAT?!) Of course, you can’t see a cardiologist unless you’re referred by a physician. And you don’t have a physician unless you have medical insurance. And you don’t have medical insurance unless you have a job. (Remember, Ben had just been laid off!) We were making calls left and right to see if there was a doctor who could do something pro bono for us, to see if there were any loopholes, anything. Ben literally had the phone book out and went down the list calling each one for help.
Thank God for a receptionist who asked him some questions before putting him on hold or just saying no. Turns out her son was in the military and she really empathized with our situation. She gave Ben her personal extension and told him specifically what to ask the MEPS doctors to find out what was needed to resolve the situation.
It took some time going between her and the military, but she came to the conclusion that they needed some one to monitor his blood pressure and a doctor to sign off on it. She then told us about a free clinic in the area that could meet the sign-off part of those requirements and we knew someone who could do the rest.
Thanks to a medically qualified friend of our family who came to the house every day for a week to monitor his BP, we were able to get a waiver filled out and it was accepted! Of course that whole process took several months!
Hurry up and wait
We finally felt like we were moving forward, and then we were told that Ben should be prepared to leave at any time. Little did we know that call wouldn’t come for several more months!
The wait was based on an opening. With the economy being what it is, men and women were reenlisting for job security and great benefits. Some jobs even had a 2-year wait! We sometimes would get a call that the recruiter heard about a job that may be opening up soon. He always told us not to get our hopes up, but it was hard not to.
After several “close calls,” we started wondering if maybe God had something else planned for us. That maybe God just wanted our complete trust? To see if we would follow His leading in faith? Ben had been working third shift at a local warehouse, which was great to have the income, but difficult on both of our sleep schedules, and Ben really wanted to be working in a more fulfilling field.
Ben had been resume-blitzing when he received a call from the recruiter telling us to be available the next couple days because there were 3 jobs opening up and he hoped to get Ben one of them! Again trying not to get our hopes up, we waited for the word. All 3 of the sailors re-enlisted. Ugh!! More waiting?
At this point, the recruiter said he wanted to give it to us straight. He had been banking on one of those positions for Ben, and now he honestly thought it could be another couple more months. Disappointing. He then told Ben about how his job as a recruiter was actually as Active Reserves and asked how we felt about that. We took some time to pray about it. We decided to go forward with it and again prayed for God to close the door if it wasn’t right. He’s gotten us this far!
Officially Joining the Navy
He needed to go up to MEPS again and then fill out the paperwork to be in the Navy Reserves. He was sitting with the job counselor and about to sign on the dotted lines, when the conversation turned to his hopes in the job. Once she heard he originally wanted to be Active full-time, she was able to find an opening and signed him up immediately.
January 12, 2010. After first meeting with a recruiter seven months earlier, Ben took the oath as a United States Navy sailor and would be leaving the following month!!
Of course, at a meeting with the chief later on we found out it wasn’t a job she was supposed to give away. It was part of the quota for a California recruiting office. The chief explained that it was a mistake that Ben got it, but that he was happy for us and he wanted Ben to make them proud.