Interview Transcript

SCHANEN: This is an interview with Amanda Gramal LoCoco, who served with US Army Reserve from June of 1993 to June of 2001. The interview is being conducted at the home of her parents in Grafton, Wisconsin on January 9, 2005. And the interviewer is Vicki SCHANEN. So Amanda why don't you start off by just giving us a little background on you, the year you were born and your hometown. Tell us a little bit about your family.

LOCOCO: I was born in 1975 in Grafton, Wisconsin where I grew up for many years until I graduated from high school. And I was born to Pete and Mary Gramal. I was the oldest of three kids. My sister Katie is three and a half years younger than me and my brother Matt is a year and a half younger than her. And life in Grafton was pretty good. It's a great town to grow up in, and had a lot of friends, and a lot of family that lived around here as well. All of our family is from Grafton, and pretty much everybody still lives here as well.


SCHANEN: On both sides. [laughs]

LOCOCO: On both sides, exactly.

SCHANEN: Okay, and what type of education did you have prior to going into the military.

LOCOCO: Well my--the last grade that I completed was high school. I joined the military about a month after I graduated from high school.

SCHANEN:And what prompted you to do that?

LOCOCO: Actually a friend of mine from high school also had been planning on joining the military, and one of the days she was actually going to see the recruiter, I just so happened to be going to lunch with her. So she asked me to come with her. We stopped in the recruiter's office, and he started talking to me, and explained to us that we would be able to join--if we wanted to--we would be able to join on the Buddy System. So we thought this was a great idea. I also was not really sure if I was ready to go to college yet. You know, I thought maybe I wanted to do something a little bit different. Give--maybe take a semester off and do basic training and all of that. So I was only seventeen at 2:00the time though, so after cajoling my parents that this would be a very good idea for me, they gave me the permission to join. And so we did--the two of us went down to Memphis downtown.

SCHANEN:Now the recruiter actually came to the high school?

LOCOCO: No, the recruiter actually--we actually had gone to the recruiter's office which is in Westbend I believe, at the time.

SCHANEN: And this was an army recruiter?

LOCOCO: Correct.

SCHANEN:I know you were just going with your girlfriend because she was going and did--what--you went just because she was going, or you thought, Oh I'll just see what it's about--

LOCOCO: No, it really was pretty circumstantial. The two of us were going out to lunch, and she was planning on joining and had to stop there to drop off some papers or something. So I just happened to be in line, and it's probably not something I would have thought of doing.


LOCOCO: Had I not really been with her.

SCHANEN: And once the idea came into your mind then "Oh, maybe this is an option for me." Did you ever consider any other branch of the service like navy or air force?

LOCOCO: At that time I didn't. No, no I didn't. I just really stuck with the army.


SCHANEN: Probably because of the Buddy System often times.

LOCOCO: Because the Buddy System offered and the opportunities that they had explained at that time seemed really well in line with what I wanted to do. They said that the occupations that were available at that point would only require a minimum amount of training, which was good because it only would require me to take a semester off of school. And I'd be able to start school the spring of the next year. So for me that was one of the reasons why I decided to join that branch also was because I would only be waiting for about four months.

SCHANEN: Okay. So you were planning on going on to college?


SCHANEN:But you just didn't want to go right out of high school?

LOCOCO: Exactly.

SCHANEN:You'd thought you'd try something totally different.

LOCOCO: Right. Yes, exactly. [laughs] And I thought it would be a very good experience too.

SCHANEN: What--did he tell you what type of jobs were available? That interested you, or--

LOCOCO: Well he talked--there was quite a variety of jobs that they offer. And it just depends on what time of year you you're actually joining as far as 4:00what's available, because I believe that the fiscal year starts October 1st. And so as of October 1st, all of the jobs for that particular year are available to anybody who wants to enlist, depending on what you're qualified for and things like that. But I wasn't enlisting until June, so by that point a lot of the jobs were actually already taken. So it was really a variety of engineering jobs, carpentry, masonry, truck driver A lot of different engineering type jobs that were available, so.

SCHANEN:And when you--with your plan to go college, were you hoping to go into engineering or something?

LOCOCO: No. [laughs] It really didn't have anything in line with what I was planning on doing down the line. I just thought it was something completely different.

SCHANEN: What were you interested in doing for college?

LOCOCO: Into business. I was planning on going into business, which I did. Which I did end up going into marketing. And so it was--at that point they really 5:00didn't have a lot of jobs in my field of education that I was going to go into. So it was something completely different.

SCHANEN:And it was a chance--

LOCOCO: And it was more trade--you know they had the trades available.

SCHANEN: Try things you never thought of.

LOCOCO: Exactly, exactly.

SCHANEN:So it was kind of like--get away from home, and yet not have to worry about food and rent. [both laugh]

LOCOCO: Right. And I thought long term too. For me, the thing that was very attractive is there was a bonus when you enlisted, the experience, and I thought it would be something that you really need--you meet a lot of new people. I really--looking back on it--being as young as I was--I went into it, really not knowing much about it. And you just kind of learn as you go along. And I just kind of did what I was recommended to do, and--

SCHANEN: Did they promise to help with your schooling once you got--

LOCOCO: Well that also--they offer the G.I. Bill. They also offer the--those student loans that you can get through the military as well, help with the student loans. So that also was one of the reasons why I decided to join too. 6:00And also because there was the signing bonus at that point for some of the jobs that were available, so.

SCHANEN:When you're seventeen years old, money always looks good.

LOCOCO: [Laughs] It always looks good, right.

SCHANEN: What kind of commitment were they requiring from you, when you joined the reserves?

LOCOCO: Well from the initial standpoint for basic training, it was going to be eight weeks of basic training. And then depending on the job, it would determine what amount of advanced training. For the job I ended up taking, it was also eight weeks.

SCHANEN: Okay. And they assured you, you'd be home again--

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: So you could start school.

LOCOCO: Exactly.

SCHANEN: Once you finished your training.

LOCOCO: Once I was done with that, it was one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer.

SCHANEN: Okay. So that's what they told you was going to happen.

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: So now you said you've agreed to join, and you went down to Milwaukee for your MEPs? When you--

LOCOCO: Well the MEP--it's actually the MEPS [Military Entrance Processing Station] building. It's the government building downtown.

SCHANEN: And that would stand for--?

LOCOCO: I'm not sure.


LOCOCO: I don't know. But--that--the Milwaukee--I'm not sure. It's the government building downtown


SCHANEN: The government building. [both laugh]

LOCOCO: I don't know what the MEPS stands for.

SCHANEN: I don't know what MEPS would mean for a government building.

LOCOCO: I don't know. I'm sure we could look it up, but I'm not sure either.

SCHANEN: Milwaukee Environmental Protections, but I'm sure it wasn't that. [laughs]

LOCOCO: No, maybe it's government slash something else--I'm not sure that's the name of the building. [both laugh] But yes, then we went--so then we decided to enlist together, this friend of mine from high school and myself. And so the two of us went down with the recruiter one morning, and they were doing the--I believe they just do--they enlist people one--maybe one day a week.


LOCOCO: So I think it was on--actually on a Saturday that we went down. And we went through all of the counseling, and choosing the job, all of the medical exams, and all of that. And then they actually do the--signing you in.

SCHANEN: [Inaudible] Counseling?

LOCOCO: I believe they meet with you and check as to--find out why you want to join, and give you some information before you actually do swear in--to join, obviously because there's such big commitment that you're making.


SCHANEN: Did you ever see anybody leave that office and walk out of the building?

LOCOCO: Well a friend that we were going--that I was doing the Buddy System with, did not end up joining.

SCHANEN: You're kidding.


SCHANEN: After the counseling, she decided, "Ah, I really don't want to--"

LOCOCO: No, what she actually did [laughs] this is really--we're not friends anymore.

SCHANEN: Oh, you're not even friends anymore. Okay.

LOCOCO: Because she had got me into go into this whole Buddy System thing, which was great because they said that, "When you get to basic training, you would be guaranteed that you'd stay together through your own training." So that was that was fine- I mean that was a good idea for me. She was the one who basically had started me on the whole road to joining the military in the first place. And so we had decided we were going to do the job. We went through everything together. We went through--we both got counseled, we went and picked our jobs. Our jobs were going to be the same. We went through the medical exam, and then they take you into the room to swear in. My group went first. I went in with my group. I swore in. I came back out and her group was next. She said, "I'm not going to 9:00join." [both laugh]

SCHANEN: Did the friendship end at that moment?

LOCOCO: Pretty much on the ride home. [both laugh] So, "What do you mean you're not going to join?" And she said, "Well, I lied during my medical exam. I told them that I had knee problems, so they're not letting me join. They said I can't due to medical reasons. So they wouldn't let me join at that point." But that was after the fact--which I still would have anyways.

SCHANEN: On the ride home, did you ask her at what point she decided? [laughs]

LOCOCO: She just said that when she got there that morning and realized what she was doing that it scared her a little bit.


LOCOCO: You know and so--

SCHANEN: And you never really talked to her since, to find out if she regretted it?

LOCOCO: No. We talked a little bit--I mean we--it's just I-- a couple weeks later is when I ended up leaving for basic training, so.


LOCOCO: So I mean--I understood. I mean it's a big commitment. You obviously wouldn't want someone to do that if they weren't completely comfortable with it.

SCHANEN: But one of the clinches was that you were going to be going to be with 10:00someone you knew.

LOCOCO: The Buddy System, exactly. So I ended up going by myself, which actually in the long run probably was better.

SCHANEN: Maturity wise.

LOCOCO: Exactly, because you don't you don't have someone there to lean on, and you're basically forced to meet new people and everything like that. And to just kind of overcome that, because it was definitely a challenge. Being away from mom and dad for the first time, yeah.

SCHANEN: So you left the MEPS center, on a quiet twenty-five mile ride home.

LOCOCO: Right. Yes, it was very quiet. [laughs]

SCHANEN: And when did you have to report for duty then--or basic training?

LOCOCO: I actually enisted on June 24th of 1993, and then I left July 28th.

SCHANEN: Okay. And you went to where?

LOCOCO: I went to Fort Jackson, South Carolina.



SCHANEN: A little bit warm?

LOCOCO: Very. It was hot the whole time I was there. One hundred degree plus days, most of the time.

SCHANEN: And what was basic training like?

LOCOCO: The first week was very hard. It was probably the hardest week of my life, because at that point you're actually just going through initiation. 11:00You're not actually starting the trainings. So I think when you're in basic training you like to count down the days until you're done. And that first week of initiation, you can be there anywhere from two to seven days. So you don't know when you're actually going to be starting the training, you can't start counting down the day you're going to be leaving. So it's kind of like--and also me being away from home for the first time, not knowing anybody, and being in this military type environment--

SCHANEN: Where it was private?

LOCOCO: Where it's not--where they're not--I mean they're not very friendly. So it was very hard.

SCHANEN: And what goes on during initiation, where it could take anywhere from two to seven days?

LOCOCO: They're--oh gosh--they're giving you background of military. Basically training you as far as like what--really what the military is, what the army is, who are all of your officers, they issued all of your uniforms. You go through medical exams. If you need eyeglasses, you would get eyeglasses. You learn how to salute an officer. All of the military cordialities I think is what they're 12:00teaching you.

SCHANEN: But some people can learn that in two days, and other people take seven or--?

LOCOCO: Well I guess it just depends on when openings occur. When they can get the people moved out, into the actual training. Because sometimes there might be basic training classes that last a couple days longer than what they're normally scheduled to. So that opening might not be there for another couple of days. So it just depends. Some people would come in and they have everything done in a couple of days with that particular group. And they move out, and your group might be taking a little bit longer, because they don't have room for you then.

SCHANEN: So they just keep going over all of the same things while they're waiting for room?

LOCOCO: They have you clean, and clean, and clean, and buff the floors, and---

SCHANEN: Did you have a cleaning lady at this time?

LOCOCO: No, unfortunately not.

SCHANEN:Got a little sick of cleaning?


SCHANEN: Okay, so you finally got through the initiation. And you stayed on the same base?

LOCOCO: Right, yes.

SCHANEN: And what--once you could start counting down now, what did you say typically--?

LOCOCO: The one interesting thing I will say is that the class that I was in was 13:00the first coed basic training class ever--in the history of the military.



SCHANEN:This would have been at what time? July--?

LOCOCO: June--or July of 1993. Actually in August, it started in August. So August of 1993, they always had the males and the females separated in basic training. And we were the very first coed class ever in the military for basic training. And I think--and they did--I mean on the base, most of the other classes were still separated by male and female.

SCHANEN: Now did you have coed dorm-type barracks--?


SCHANEN: Or just separate barracks but just trained together?

LOCOCO: We were in the same building, we just had separate floors. So the women were on the third floor, and the men were on the second floor. And then the first floor was the classrooms and common areas. But I really honestly have to say that I think that my basic training was probably quite a bit easier than what other people may have experienced, because they didn't know how to handle the coed classes.

SCHANEN: Yeah I was going to say did they have to---?

LOCOCO: The dynamics was very different.

SCHANEN: They have to have more supervision or something, because there's only a 14:00floor separating the men and women?

LOCOCO: Right. Well there wasn't really a problem with that so much. But I think because in our particular class, you're split up into four different squads. And the squads were also male and female--integrated--males and females integrated together. And the majority of us were seventeen--eighteen years old. There were some people a little bit older, maybe in their early twenties. But the majority of us were teenagers. And there's that whole sexual tension between male and female teenagers. And so there was people dating, and not really--you can't really date, but I mean had feelings for each other and that kind of thing. So I think it was very different because normally in basic training, when we would take other classes, you weren't even allowed to look at someone from the opposite sex. If you were in the lunchroom and your drill sergeant caught you even looking at a woman or caught you looking at a man, you maybe have to get down and do push-ups or something like that. But with us they were our other classmates.


SCHANEN: Your team, yeah.

LOCOCO: Exactly and so we were interacting with them all the time. So it was very different because they didn't really know how to handle that yet, I don't think.

SCHANEN:So not a whole lot different from high school yet, at this point.

LOCOCO: Not really, right.

SCHANEN: Except for what they're making you do.

LOCOCO: Exactly, exactly. Except for [inaudible]. Obviously a lot more disciplined, a lot more strict, but I think because they just weren't really sure on how to discipline you if you were with a person of the opposite sex. They really couldn't at that point.

SCHANEN: Yeah, right. I mean that was of their big things. Now that's taken away from them, because you have to work together.

LOCOCO: Exactly.

SCHANEN: Okay, were your barracks open bay barracks, or like a dormitory with so many to a room?

LOCOCO: We had so--it was basically like a dormitory. We had so many women to a room. I think in my room we had eight. Yeah, it was typically eight women to a room.

SCHANEN: In bunk beds?

LOCOCO: We had four bunk beds.


LOCOCO: We had four sets of bunk beds

SCHANEN: Alright.

LOCOCO: So there was eight of us in a room. And I think that was pretty typical for all the other rooms; there was about eight other--eight men in a room.


SCHANEN: Okay, and what type of things were you trained for at this point now, in basics?

LOCOCO: When I went to basic training is when I was just really trained in general. You know, rifles, and we would go through CPR, all the different medical training that they give you, and just really all the general training that they do.

SCHANEN: A lot of marching and--?

LOCOCO: A lot of marching, right. You go through Pomp and Circumstance. And you do--if I remember correctly--I believe you do three different segments. And the first segment is really more of just the really very general part of the military training, where you do the marching, and you do that kind of thing. And then the second section is the rifles, where you learn shooting and all of that kind of stuff. And then the third is really more of classroom and then also survival. Where you go--we would go into the field--I think we went out to field for a week--

SCHANEN: Sleeping in--

LOCOCO: Mhm hmm. We would--well that's where we would do--we would dig foxholes. And we would do different type of combat training.


SCHANEN: And you'd sleep in the foxhole, or did you--?


SCHANEN: Sleep in tents?

LOCOCO: We would also have little tents, but there were many nights where we actually had to sleep in the foxhole.

SCHANEN: Really?

LOCOCO: Mhm, because we would do night time mock training.


LOCOCO: And that kind of thing.

SCHANEN: When you were doing marching, did you ever have full packs or anything that you had to march with?

LOCOCO: Mhm. Right.

SCHANEN: How heavy would that be and how far would you march?

LOCOCO: Oh gosh, I think they were probably about maybe twenty to thirty pounds.

SCHANEN: Did they differ for men and women?



LOCOCO: Nope, because we would pack the same things.

SCHANEN: Really?

LOCOCO: Mhm. And would march about thirteen miles.

SCHANEN: And the women could keep up with the men, or--?


SCHANEN: The men got to slack off because they had women?

LOCOCO: No, well maybe a little bit of each. It's hard to say because you're so well physically trained by that point because you're doing physical training every day. That we would do--we did that march at the very end of our training. That was really the last week--the last week that we had is when we did the week out in the field. And so by that time, you have eight weeks of intense physical training so you're in pretty good shape. And so I think everybody was able to 18:00keep up. It was definitely hard. But I think for the most part, everybody was able to keep up with each other.

SCHANEN: And how did you feel about this whole ordeal, having just come from high school in a small--Grafton's not a big town. It's a small town. You know, this whole regiment and--you go from being a senior in high school where you're the king of the hill, and I don't think that's how they make you feel in basic training.

LOCOCO: No. I mean they really do, they tear you down. Really--they really--supposedly they're--the reason is that they want to tear you down until you're very very weak, and then build you back up with what they want to teach you, and what type of ethics they want to give you, and that kind of thing. But, yeah it's very hard. But I honestly have to say that basic training for me--the first eight weeks when I was there, compared to the second eight weeks that I had of advanced training, the basic training, I thought was quite a bit easier.

SCHANEN: Oh, really?

LOCOCO: Advanced training, for me was a lot harder.

SCHANEN: Okay. So let's get into the advanced training now. You said basic was eight weeks.

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: And did you stay on that same base, or did they send you to a different one?


LOCOCO: No, I went and then left to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

SCHANEN: Okay. And this is getting to be August, September.

LOCOCO: [Inaudible] It was at this time or beginning of October when I went.

SCHANEN: Probably the nicest part of a--right? Being at Fort Leonard Wood.

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: Nicest time to be there.

LOCOCO: Right, yeah it wasn't--the weather wasn't bad. It got a little cold by the time I left. But at that point, it was still fairly mild.

SCHANEN:Okay, and what were you doing--what were--first of all, what were they going to train you for?

LOCOCO: They were going to train me for--I was--actually my job was a 51 Bravo, which is the code for carpentry and masonry. And so--

SCHANEN: How did they determine that?

LOCOCO: That was the job that I choose when I enlisted.

SCHANEN: You choose it?


SCHANEN: When you enlisted--you already knew when you enlisted?

LOCOCO: Right, when you enlist is when you actually choose your job. And because like I said, it was kind of towards the end of the fiscal year. There were very few jobs to choose from. There was maybe five to ten jobs that I could actually choose from.

SCHANEN: What were your other options?

LOCOCO: I know that one was a truck driver. I don't remember what the other ones were--it was very--they were all different kinds of trades.


SCHANEN: Okay, and why carpentry and masonry?

LOCOCO: Because it had a two thousand dollar signing bonus. [both laugh]

SCHANEN: The money again.

LOCOCO: And that was one of the reasons, and it was also something I thought that I can put to use. I mean as far as like learning carpentry skills and things like that. I thought it was something useful maybe. You know, down the line.

SCHANEN: Now having known your grandpa a little bit, and knowing that he could make almost anything, plus built his house, do you think that had any input into--?

LOCOCO: A little bit, sure. I mean those are always just general things, I mean you can use carpentry skills around the house.

SCHANEN: But you had seen it in action.

LOCOCO: Exactly, yeah. So it was definitely something interesting. But you know in this area--in southeastern Wisconsin--or really it's--really I think throughout Wisconsin we only have so many reserve units and there aren't a lot of jobs--there aren't a lot of variety of jobs in the reserve units. Most of the battalions in this area are engineering battalions. So that's why it's always that kind of job that you have. Or you could do medic something like that, if that's available. [inaudible]

SCHANEN: Because once you finish your training you now, you come home to regular 21:00civilian life--

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: And you have these--you just go to a meeting each month. And that's what you do. And every summer. So you have to have something that will fit into what they have.

LOCOCO: Exactly. Yeah, because whatever they have available is what you have to choose from.

SCHANEN: Now if you told them you were moving to another part of the company, where the units do different things, I suppose they would put you--

LOCOCO: Then you could probably put--sure exactly. But because I was actually going to be staying in this area--and one of the other things I also had looked at that point is I wanted to join the military and I wanted to be a part of that, but I didn't want to really necessarily put myself at risk for having to be called out to war. If I didn't have to, because I knew I was planning on going to school and all that. So one of the other things I looked at is I wanted it to be part of a unit that had--that didn't have the risk of maybe being called out. And the unit that I was assigned to had never been called up ever since its existence which was sixty-five years at that point

SCHANEN: Alright.

LOCOCO: So that was one of the other things I had looked at, just because I knew and with my overall plan, that may not be something really necessarily do if I 22:00didn't have to.

SCHANEN: And they provided you with information like that before you enlisted?

LOCOCO: Right, because they can advise you as far as what unit you might be assigned to and things like that.

SCHANEN: Do you know now with the things going on in Iraq and everything that's been since you went in, if that unit has been called up?

LOCOCO: They have.

SCHANEN: They have now.

LOCOCO: They spent about nine months in Iraq.

SCHANEN: So after how many years did they have to go?

LOCOCO: Seventy--well probably about seventy-five years.

SCHANEN: Seventy-five years and then they did go.

LOCOCO: Yup, they did.

SCHANEN:So you never really know.

LOCOCO: No, you don't. And you don't really know. And actually when--I have a few friends I'm still in touch with from that unit and when I found over that they were going, I really felt very guilty. I felt like I had--I was-- if I didn't have two small children, I may have even volunteered to go back and do it because I thought, Here I have this training and I'm not helping out. It's kind of--you have this sense of obligation even though I wasn't in the military anymore. It was really hard for me knowing that I had friends that were going over there and that I wasn't a part of that.

SCHANEN: Yeah, I hear that a lot. Okay, so now you're heading to this training 23:00for carpentry and masonry. What was--what were your days like there now? You said it was harder.

LOCOCO: It was harder.

SCHANEN: What was harder?

LOCOCO: The drill sergeants were much harder. And like I said, I think because I was in basic training, I didn't think much of it as far as the fact that it was a coed class and that we may have had it easier. But once I got to advanced training and it wasn't coed--

SCHANEN: It wasn't?

LOCOCO: No, we had--the women were separate from the men. In new training it was, because you have everybody lumped together.

SCHANEN: But the classrooms--

LOCOCO: The classrooms and--I mean it was just--it was just much more strict, I think. They weren't doing that yet. It was only at Fort Jackson that they were doing that. It was the first time they'd ever done it. And so they were much more strict than what I had at basic training. So looking back when I got there, I thought I had it pretty easy, compared to what I was experiencing there. And so it was quite a bit more difficult, I think. The other thing that was also very hard about it is I had four really strong friendships with people at basic training, and I had finally--I mean I felt very comfortable with everybody and I 24:00was very close to everybody. And now you're leaving everybody and you're starting all over again.

SCHANEN: So there was nobody from that unit that went to the same--?

LOCOCO: No. To Fort Leonard Wood, yes. But not in my class. So they're--

SCHANEN: They had different things they were being trained for?

LOCOCO: Right, exactly. So I don't know anybody from basic training going to advanced training. So it was like starting all over again and being in the base wasn't quite as nice. Fort Jackson is a nicer place to be--


LOCOCO: For training than Fort Leonard Wood was.

SCHANEN: And did you ever get any time off that you could get in touch with these other people? Time off for anything?

LOCOCO: Well, not really. I mean you could--with letters. We stayed in touch by letters and things like that.

SCHANEN: I mean at Fort Leonard Wood. You said they're at Fort Leonard Wood but--


SCHANEN: On your time off could to go--?

LOCOCO: Not really. I mean not really. We didn't have very much time off, plus I didn't really know where they were within in the base. And so--and there was only maybe two or three people.

SCHANEN: They don't provide a nice directory to--?

LOCOCO: No, not really. And there was maybe two or three people that were there from basic training that I knew. But no one that I was particularly close to either. We had a little time off once we got into a couple of weeks of the 25:00advanced training, we would get off maybe in the afternoon until the following morning or something like that. So we did get a little bit of time off, but there wasn't much to do. We were kind of in the middle of nowhere. There wasn't much around Fort Leonard Wood, so.

SCHANEN: So what did you do to entertain yourselves? I mean what did you do in your free time?

LOCOCO: Well usually you would get a group of people and we would go get a hotel room and just hang out. Wouldn't really do very much.

SCHANEN: Did they have entertainment on base for you? Like movies or bowling allies?

LOCOCO: They had--we never really went--they really didn't have much. They had a little bit of a mall, where they had the kiosks. They had the army stores and things like that. We never went to a bowling alley or a theater on Fort Leonard Wood, so I don't remember if they had that or not. They may have, but we always went off. I think when you have free time; you just want to get off base.

SCHANEN: Okay. [laughs]

LOCOCO: So you don't have to worry about running into a captain, or you don't have to worry about running into anybody. You just want to get away from it. So--

SCHANEN: In your free time.

LOCOCO: In your free time, you're still around. Exactly. Yeah, you still have to 26:00kind of keep up with that. So the first thing we wanted to do is just off base get around normal people. Even if it's for half a day.

SCHANEN: And what did your training involve here now?

LOCOCO: Well we would just do--we would do the classroom training on carpentry. We had--our first session was carpentry. We would learn all the carpentry skills and learn how to roof, and learn how to do drywall, and learn how to do walls, and all this different stuff. And then we also had done--and at the end, we did masonry training where we learned how to lay block.

SCHANEN: And you actually did this? I mean did you actually build a building at all?

LOCOCO: We did. I mean we would do--like I know--I remember one of our tests--one of our exams that we had to pass--I think the last thing we had to do was actually--with concrete block we had to build a small building. It was fairly small. We each individually did our own. It was maybe about fifty block that we had to lay and we had to make sure that we had the flush lines, and mix mortar, and so all that kind of stuff, so-- [inaudible, both laugh] And I 27:00actually really enjoyed--I enjoyed the masonry part of it much more than the carpentry, which I was really surprised at.

SCHANEN: The creativeness probably.

LOCOCO: And I think it's very detail oriented.


LOCOCO: You have to--you're using your lever, and I'm a very detail orientated person, so I think because of that I enjoyed knowing that it had to be exactly right and everything like that. So I really enjoyed that part of it.

SCHANEN: Then would they tear these down so the next class could build something?

LOCOCO: Mhm, yeah.

SCHANEN: Did you have to know how to tear it down?

LOCOCO: We tore it down ourselves. We spent about two hours building it and then we tore it down. [laughs] Yeah.

SCHANEN: Alright and how long was that training?

LOCOCO: It was also eight weeks.

SCHANEN: So that brings us to about what time?

LOCOCO: I actually came back the day before Thanksgiving, so November 23rd, 24th.

SCHANEN: Of 1993. And what did you do when you got home then? Did you--?

LOCOCO: Rested. [both laugh] And missed Thanksgiving. I had--well I had to get--

SCHANEN: Did you have to get into a unit here then, or were you already in one?


LOCOCO: I was assigned one before I left. I was assigned to a unit in Pewaukee.

SCHANEN: So that's a ways from here.

LOCOCO: Right, yeah. It was pretty far away, but it was the unit that had an opening for me of time. And so I actually had--even before I went to basic training, gone with my recruiter to visit the unit and met people there and everything like that. So I knew where it was. And then when I came home, then I was assigned. And I think--I don't--I had to go the first month in December. I probably had gone for the first time in January, when they had their normal--

SCHANEN: And they do a weekend or one night--?

LOCOCO: It would be a weekend. It was typically Saturday at seven o'clock until about five o'clock. And then Sunday the same hours. Sometimes you would have a Friday night you would need to come in, maybe a couple times a year. Most of the time Saturday or Sunday.

SCHANEN: So how long a drive was it from Grafton to--?

LOCOCO: Well from Grafton, it was about forty-five minutes to an hour. But by the time I started, I was in school. So from Milwaukee, UWM.

SCHANEN: And you were living on--?

LOCOCO: I was living on campus, so then it was really about a thirty minute 29:00drive for me.

SCHANEN: Okay, not too bad then.


SCHANEN: Alright, I should ask if there are any particular memories from your basic or your advanced training that--any little stories?

LOCOCO: I actually don't remember. I can't think of anything right off hand, as far as--

SCHANEN: Any little pranks or anything you'd play on each other?

LOCOCO: Oh gosh.

SCHANEN: Involved with cleaning or--?

LOCOCO: I'm just trying to think.

SCHANEN: Or you know, men and women--[laughs]

LOCOCO: I know. Well I think--like I said, the strangest thing for us is the fact that it was coed. And I think that was really interesting. It's like you--we--and like I said, we had a lot of people who would try to date behind the scenes and everything like that. So I mean it was just very interesting that way. I don't--I can't think of any particular stories though. I might think of something as we go along, but--

SCHANEN:Okay, anybody ever get caught trying to date behind the scenes?


SCHANEN: Was there a consequence to that?

LOCOCO: No, there really wasn't a consequence.

SCHANEN: They didn't know what to do yet?

LOCOCO: They didn't know what to do, and so they just basically--they just kind of kept you separated as much as they could.


SCHANEN: Any particular instructors that stick out in your memory or--?

LOCOCO: Both of my instructors from basic training, I remember both of them very well. And actually, they were great. They really were. I mean I--they were really great. I mean we actually--even at the end of our basic training we got them plaques, thanking them, because they--like I said it was very different any instruction. They were both men.

SCHANEN: Okay. Did you have men and women instructors with the coed group, or were they all men?

LOCOCO: I believe some of the other--because we had a couple different classes that were coed, starting at the same time--a couple of the other ones may have had women. But both of our instructors, drill sergeants were men. And they were not nearly as tough on us as they were in advanced training. In advanced training, I had much harder instructors. And they were much stricter.

SCHANEN: Because they were in the same old routine for years. It wasn't a new thing they were dealing with.

LOCOCO: Exactly. And then I don't know, I guess it maybe just depends on the drill sergeant too. Because I don't even think our drill sergeants that we had 31:00for basic training--they certainly were tough, but yet they also were--they also helped you. I think they kind of took the approach that they knew we were very young, they knew that we were away from home for the first time, and they--it's almost like they more took us under their wing. And tried to--

SCHANEN: That's not the normal story.

LOCOCO: Not the normal story. It was really different, so it's like I--I mean really everybody was actually quite fond of them. But in advanced training, it was much harder. They weren't like that--they weren't personable to you.

SCHANEN: So you weren't sad to say goodbye to them?

LOCOCO: No. Not at all.

SCHANEN: Alright, so you came back, you went to school, you got started in a unit. I should ask too, how about the food? How did you like the food in the military? Did it--?

LOCOCO: It left a lot to be desired. [both laugh] No it wasn't very good. I do remember eating scrambled eggs with shells--with the egg shells in it. I remember that was not very good.

SCHANEN: Did you ever get KP duty [kitchen police]--did you ever--?



SCHANEN: You did?

LOCOCO: We would have KP duty. They would--you'd have to get up at four o'clock in the morning. And the schedule--

SCHANEN: I can see why there were shells.

LOCOCO: Yeah, exactly. [both laugh] I mean the schedule in training is obviously very hard because you're getting up--I mean if you have KP duty, you're up at four o'clock in the morning. If you don't have KP duty, you're up at maybe four thirty or five o'clock in the morning. And you're up, and you're exercising and running two miles for--your exercising really for two hours. So you're done exercising and doing all of your workout at seven o'clock. You're in the shower and you're in class by eight. And then you're up until nine o'clock in the classroom. It's just--you learn to live without a lot of sleep, is what it really come down to. And like I said, there would be times where maybe someone would do something wrong or maybe if things weren't cleaned well enough, then they'd get you up at one o'clock in the morning just to take you outside and exercise for an hour. They'd do that--

SCHANEN: Oh, really?

LOCOCO: They'd do that just to do that of course, they're just trying to mess with you and trying to break you down, and--just get you to that level. But, 33:00yeah it was definitely a lack of sleep and KP duty would entail a whole day of cooking. Well you didn't really do much of the cooking, but washing pans and cleaning pans, I mean. Oh yeah, just washing and taking trays and just basically working in a cafeteria for a whole day.

SCHANEN: So what--okay so you rotated through KP?

LOCOCO: You would rotate through KP; you'd have KP maybe once a week.

SCHANEN: Oh, really? That often?

LOCOCO: Mhm. Once a week, maybe once every two weeks, something like that.

SCHANEN: At least four to eight times, you got to--?

LOCOCO: Absolutely, yeah. Got to enjoy that.

SCHANEN: Did you ever get any kind of leaves or anything, during any of this training?

LOCOCO: The one thing that--with basic training, I do remember that they held a concert on base, for everybody was in training. I don't remember who came in concert. It was a--like not a very popular band at the time, but someone who we knew. And we--so we had this concert we were able to go to, and I believe that 34:00that was actually maybe over Labor Day or something like that when they had that. When we were down in Fort Jackson. And then the last couple days that we were there when we were graduating from basic training, they allow your families to come down. So my parents came down and my brother and sister and my two grandmas came down at that time. So they had come down and then they allow you to take that day off and then you have your next day, which is graduation. And then you leave the next day for your next training.

SCHANEN: Oh, right away?

LOCOCO: Right away.

SCHANEN: No leave in between?

LOCOCO: No leave in between. Yeah, so you go right away the next day. So you really have maybe two days off where you can spend time with your family.

SCHANEN: And basic--I mean you were training seven days a week?

LOCOCO: Mhm, yes. In basic training, you didn't have any time off.

SCHANEN: Alright. And what about the advanced training?

LOCOCO: In advanced training, we would get off, like I said maybe Saturday afternoon. And then we would be--and then we would have off that day, the rest of that day. And then we have to report back Sunday. But Sunday also was kind of a relaxing day. You'd have to stay maybe on base, but you'd be able to do 35:00somethings within the base, and things like that.

SCHANEN: Okay, so--

LOCOCO: We had a little bit more free time.

SCHANEN: You weren't exactly in classrooms on training on Sundays?

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: So you're off pretty much like--?

LOCOCO: Maybe a day and a half.


LOCOCO: But that was only really towards the latter part of the training. The first couple of weeks we didn't have that free time. And maybe the last three to four weeks they would allow you some free time. To do other things.

SCHANEN: So now when you--you couldn't leave the base, but you had that day and a half off. What would you do in that free time?

LOCOCO: Make phone calls to family and go to church. That really--for a lot of people, especially in basic training when you didn't have any time off, that was your release.

SCHANEN: When you really had to get time off?

LOCOCO: That was the only way you could get time off, is really going spending an hour in church.

SCHANEN: And if you didn't go to church?

LOCOCO: You were stuck in the barracks. So most people went whether they were religious or not. [laughs] Totally true.

SCHANEN: Whatever works.

LOCOCO: Yeah, they just wanted to go just because they wanted to get out the barracks and go do something. Because that was the only place they really couldn't yell at you, or do anything.


LOCOCO: And that kind of thing, so most people decided they wanted to get out 36:00and go do that.

SCHANEN: Did--I asked about the food, and you said, "It left a lot to be desired." Was there anything in particular that you especially didn't like or looked forward to having?

LOCOCO: I mean some of the things that you can't mess up too bad, just pizza. [laughs]

SCHANEN: They served you pizza?

LOCOCO: French fries, yeah. I mean they would--you could have--I mean they had a variety of things. It just wasn't really very good.



SCHANEN: Was it any different between one base and the other?

LOCOCO: Not really. It was pretty much the same.

SCHANEN: Pretty standard.

LOCOCO: The barracks--I mean the sleeping conditions though or the rooms that we had were different. Because in basic training we each had eight women to a room or eight people to a room. And when I went to advanced training, the barracks were quite a bit older. And the base was--I think--quite a bit older. At Fort Jackson, they had been starting to redo a lot of the barracks and things like that. So when I got to Fort Leonard Wood, we had one big bay area where all of the women slept together.

SCHANEN: So your training was probably a reversal.

LOCOCO: It was.

SCHANEN: Most people describe their worst initially and then they get better as 37:00they go.

LOCOCO: Mine got worse as I went along.

SCHANEN: Downhill.

LOCOCO: Right. And then the last couple of weeks you're there, they take some of the people, like some of the women if they were--like I was a squad leader at that point and you're allowed to have your own room. So I shared a room with one other woman.

SCHANEN: Oh really?

LOCOCO: At that point, the last maybe three weeks I was there.

SCHANEN: And how did you get to be a squad leader? They only pick them at the end?

LOCOCO: No, they pick them at the beginning. But they only--the people who had left maybe before me, then that room opened up. And so the whoever was the squad leader was able to actually do and stay in the room.

SCHANEN: So you were a squad leader from the time you got to--?

LOCOCO: I don't think so. I think--if I remember correctly that there are other squad leaders throughout the time--throughout the training that you're there. But then they kind of--you kind of change a couple times throughout and maybe the squad leader says, "I don't want to be the leader anymore." And so you want someone else to take over.

SCHANEN: To give people a leadership position, type thing.

LOCOCO: Right, exactly.

SCHANEN: Just to--alright. So now if you had had it early on would you have had 38:00to leave that room and go back to the bay when somebody else was squad leader?

LOCOCO: Probably.

SCHANEN: So it was nice to have it at the end.

LOCOCO: It was nice to have it at the end, because then yeah, then you had your own room with one other person. So that was nice.

SCHANEN: Okay. I think I--I wonder if I did ask you while we were taping, but you said you had some really close friends. Did you keep in touch with any of these people then after--?

LOCOCO: I did for a while, from basic training I did. I had a lot of--I had probably about three or four people that I was very close to from basic training. And two were men that I was very close to. And I stayed in touch with them for a couple of years. And we just eventually grew apart. Other one was a girl that I was really close with. And she lived in Illinois so it was easy. We would go back and forth and visit once in a while. And once again, we kind of grew apart after about maybe four or five years. We stayed in touch for a while.

SCHANEN: Okay. So about the time everybody is getting married and having kids.

LOCOCO: Exactly, lives change and you get busy and all that kind of stuff.


SCHANEN: Well and you said you went to college for four or five years.

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: You've got that--you're still in the student mood. And once you get into the family mood, it takes more effort to get that involvement. What were you required to do, what were your duties at reserve meetings?

LOCOCO: We would do a variety of things. We would--it just depends on what they had on the weekends. A lot of times they didn't really have projects for us, so killing time a lot of the time. You know, doing--

SCHANEN: Staying out of notice?

LOCOCO: Exactly. That's just--it's like you just don't want to be seen. But when we would get there on Saturday mornings, we had our area where we had all of our vehicles, and so we would have to go out and do inspection of the vehicles, make sure that everything is running okay on a monthly basis, check the oil, and--

SCHANEN: And you know that being trained in masonry and--?

LOCOCO: No, they would train you. And then once you get to the unit, they train you on that and they teach you how to--you can get your drivers license to drive the five tons or to drive the Humvees and all of that kind of stuff. So eventually then I also was licensed and--


SCHANEN: So you were driving trucks anyways.

LOCOCO: I was driving trucks anyways, yes. Even though I wasn't the official truck driver, we were still driving the trucks.

SCHANEN: What was your title? After being trained in masonry, what title do they give you?

LOCOCO: Just--they would basically go by the code. Like you were a 51 Bravo is what my occupation was--were the code for the military. So they would keep all the 51 Bravos together on one platoon.

SCHANEN: And 51 Bravo meant masonry and carpentry?

LOCOCO: Exactly, and so they would try to keep each job that each person had--they would keep all the jobs in one platoon. So then we'd have a platoon of maybe the vehicle matainence crew. And they were in charge of making--you know if anything was wrong with the vehicle, they would fix it. We would check them, they would fix it. And so you'd have all your different--you have maybe four different jobs within my unit.

SCHANEN: And this is after you--?

LOCOCO: After I'm back, right. When I'm in Pewaukee.

SCHANEN: So when you got into Pewaukee, were you still 51 Bravo, or did they give you a different title?

LOCOCO: No, I was still 51 Bravo. And then you stay that too, because they only 41:00way you can actually change your occupation in the military is if you go back to training.


LOCOCO: So if I wanted to change to something else, I'd have to go back and retrain.

SCHANEN: So 51 Bravo didn't necessarily mean that you were doing just masonry.

LOCOCO: Right, it just means that that was what I was trained to do.


LOCOCO: But you'd be doing other things, like I said we would--once you get to the unit they want to get you licensed on the trucks because they need people who are going to drive. And we do things around the community, there were sometimes--gosh what did we do--in Pewaukee, if they would need something done in a park; I think we built once a structure at a park for them. We built a retaining wall downtown and things like. So if they the community needed something, they would ask us to come and do it.

SCHANEN: So you still got to use those skills.

LOCOCO: Oh sure, we would still do things. I mean they didn't have enough for us to do is the problem. I think there was a lot of people there who wanted to do that kind of thing and it really made the weekends go by fast. We actually also--our unit built a new bathroom down at the Summer Fest grounds.


SCHANEN: Oh really?

LOCOCO: This is about--

SCHANEN: It's in Milwaukee.

LOCOCO: Mhm, yup. Summer Fest grounds are down in Milwaukee. We did that for two--about a year. We started in--the two winters. So it took us from one winter throughout the summer, and then the next winter it was done.

SCHANEN: Because you're just doing this one weekend a month.

LOCOCO: We're just doing it one weekend a month, exactly. We would come in and we built a brand new handicap accessible bathroom downtown.

SCHANEN:Now did you have to know how to read blueprints or anything like that?

LOCOCO: We had--some of the--a lot of the men who were in our unit, because it was predominantly men. We only had about maybe six, seven, eight women in our unit.

SCHANEN: Out of how many.

LOCOCO: A hundred fifty.

SCHANEN: In the whole unit?

LOCOCO: In the unit, yup.

SCHANEN: And they weren't all masonry and carpentry people?

LOCOCO: Most of the women were. We had--in my platoon, we had four women. For the most time that I was there, we had four women and we had about maybe forty men. So I mean the ratio of men to women was very very big or very spread apart 43:00I guess. And--but we had a lot of men who did this for a living and they had a lot more experience. So we're really more the laborers, the people who didn't really know what they were doing. For the most part we would help out. But they knew how to read blueprints and all that kind of stuff.

SCHANEN: Was that part of your training though, to read the blueprints?

LOCOCO: Not really.

SCHANEN: You were just worker bees.

LOCOCO: Exactly, yup. Because I think they figured that you could do eventually learn that if you wanted to. They just give you very basic training and teach you different things. But no you really were probably more like the laborer.

SCHANEN: Because actually army is pretty much infantry, so if you are going to build something, it was probably something that just had to be put up quickly.

LOCOCO: Exactly.

SCHANEN: More of a temporary type thing.

LOCOCO: Exactly, if we were ever to be called up to combat, we'd be building up tent cities. We'd be doing building up temporary housing, something that--not something that's going to necessarily need to stay there for good. You know or we'd be cleaning up, is what we'd be doing after the combat was over. So that's really what our particular unit is earmarked for.

SCHANEN: Alright, and what did you do during the summers then? In your two weeks?


LOCOCO: In the summers it would vary. I spent my summers--we actually went to Germany.

SCHANEN: Oh really?

LOCOCO: Mhm, and if they sent you overseas, you would actually go for three weeks, to give you extra time for traveling.

SCHANEN:That was hard to take.

LOCOCO: Yeah, it was very hard. [laughs] And then they would also give you a couple days off, which was nice. So you really spent still about two weeks doing work or training, but then you'd have the other week traveling and having some time off.

SCHANEN: Were you on a military base over there?

LOCOCO: We were on a military base. The first time we went to Germany, we went to Hohenfels, Germany. And both times we went there; we actually were putting together buildings that they were using for really work practice. And so we would put up block buildings and then the Infantry Division would come in and use them to hide behind, and they'd use it for different things that they were as far as practice goes.

SCHANEN: Alright, so when you enlisted in the reserves did you think you were going to be seeing Europe?


LOCOCO: I had no idea. Well I knew that our unit had actually done some traveling other times that they had gone, which I wasn't able to go. They'd gone down to--where'd they go--they went to Central America a couple times, went to Panama. They actually had traveled to quite a few different places--Samoa they went to. Then we went to--and then the few times I went, we went to Germany. There was one year I couldn't go because I had summer school, so I didn't go.

SCHANEN: So you weren't required to go? Is this a voluntary--?

LOCOCO: No, you were required to go. But if you weren't able to go on those two weeks, you could make it up by coming into the unit. So then there was--so even because my summer school coincided with when they were going on this two weeks, I came on later in the year and just spent two weeks doing things around the unit, things like that. So you would have to make it up.

SCHANEN: Because they are open full-time.

LOCOCO: Exactly, yup. They are open full-time even though you're only there one weekend a month.

SCHANEN: They'd have different units coming in at those times?

LOCOCO: They didn't--in our unit they didn't. No, they only--we were only there 46:00one weekend a month, but they were there for support. If someone needed something during the week, they were open. They were really a fully functional reserve unit, did other things even when we weren't there.

SCHANEN: Alright, so--

LOCOCO: And then like I said, a lot of times when people couldn't make it up on that particular weekend or during the two weeks, then they'd come that following weekend and make it up.

SCHANEN: So they're--

LOCOCO: It was on an exception basis really--I mean they weren't really very flexible, but they would be if you had a good enough excuse.


LOCOCO: So it just depended on what your reason was.

SCHANEN: Like, "I'm having a baby I can't--" [both laugh]

LOCOCO: That one would be okay. Yeah.

SCHANEN: Okay, any particular little stories you remember about this time, now in your reserve years?

LOCOCO: Oh yeah, I mean there was--I mean that--because it was such a long time. I was there for six years active in the reserves at that unit. And then two years in inactive reserve. But yeah I mean there was a lot of stuff, especially when we were overseas and other--I guess on our time off is really where you had 47:00the most fun, obviously.

SCHANEN: So you'd get the weekends off?

LOCOCO: We could take--for the two weeks--or the three weeks that we were there, we would be able to take off any three days, if we wanted to. As long as it wasn't right in the beginning or right in the end--they wanted to kind of have you take it in the middle, and not everyone take it all at once.

SCHANEN: So you were allowed three days off.

LOCOCO: We were allowed three days off.

SCHANEN: And they're all together or you could spread it out?

LOCOCO: Mhm, because it was really more like you were working. It wasn't--I mean it's obviously not strict like when you were in basic training, where you're under their control all the time. We'd be getting up still about probably five thirty--six o'clock, getting up, doing a little bit of physical training--for the people who could actually do physical training. By that time--[both laugh] that's when you're back in the real world, then you're not as in good shape as you normally would be.

SCHANEN: So that physical aspect wasn't so easy anymore?

LOCOCO: It wasn't so easy anymore and we would get up and do our physical training, go to breakfast and then basically like you're working a normal day on the job. We'd work from eight until maybe five and--depending on how things were 48:00going, if we were behind on our work, we'd obviously work a little bit later. But many days we'd be done by five and we'd have the nights off. We'd go into the local town.

SCHANEN: You could leave the base?

LOCOCO: Yup, they would have--they would actually have a bus that--we would have one person from our platoon or whatever who was the bus driver, who volunteered to be the bus driver. Maybe they didn't want to go and drink beer or something like that. So they volunteered to be the bus driver.

SCHANEN: And did you ever volunteer?

LOCOCO: That was not me, no. [both laugh]

SCHANEN: Just because you wanted to drink the beer?

LOCOCO: Yeah, I wasn't the bus driver ever.

SCHANEN: But you could have been?

LOCOCO: Could have been, sure. But no--some people just didn't mind, they liked doing that. So that was fine. And then we'd have one bus that would take us back and forth to the local town, meet the locals. That was--it was amazing being that young and being able to do that and getting paid for it, really. I mean being--having the military's paying for you to go there and see Europe.

SCHANEN: How old were you, that young?

LOCOCO: The first time-- well we went the first year I was in. So I was like 49:00eighteen or nineteen years old. Eighteen and then we went back three years later, so I was twenty-one. And we went to different part of Germany, and then we were able--I went with a couple friends both times and we traveled down into Austria, rented a car, saw a lot of different things. It was really really a great experience.

SCHANEN: It's a beautiful area.

LOCOCO: Yeah, it's beautiful, it is.

SCHANEN: And to get from one country to another in Europe, it's not much different than going from state to state.

LOCOCO: No, exactly. And especially the second time we were there, we were actually very close to the border of Austria. So it was about an hour away. We didn't go very far but we just went just across the border and saw a little bit and came back. But it was really very interesting and something that I would never be able to do otherwise, especially going there with such a large group of people.

SCHANEN: So by this time now you're feeling comfortable, you know people again.

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: Not all alone.

LOCOCO: Right and you're with people who are from this area. So you have--everybody's from southeastern Wisconsin--Milwaukee suburbs, so. You stay 50:00in touch with them more than you would people from across the country.

SCHANEN: Okay, so--over in Germany now, what kind of sleeping facilities did you have there while you were there for those three weeks?

LOCOCO: It was pretty much--it was a smaller barracks. I mean we had--the women were in one room, but there was only--

SCHANEN: It was open bay?

LOCOCO: Right, because it was only--I mean it was the four of us from our unit, we had the four of us. And then we had--if there were any other women--because there were so few women that were doing this type of job--we would have women from other units in this area that were maybe over there at the same time, there would maybe be a total of ten or fifteen of us. That would stay--we'd stay in a small barracks. Yeah, we'd each have our own cot and--

SCHANEN: So it's not like it was a bay meant for forty people and you only had ten in it.

LOCOCO: Right, it was--yeah. It was a smaller room.

SCHANEN: And you had cots instead of bunks then?

LOCOCO: Yeah, well cots and sometimes we would have bunks, depending on where we were staying.

SCHANEN: Alright.

LOCOCO: It wasn't too bad.

SCHANEN: So now is the food the same as it was in the States or--?

LOCOCO: Yeah, it's still military food. [Inaudible]


SCHANEN: Did you get a sample any of the local food then? Was there any in particular?

LOCOCO: Yeah, not on base we didn't. On base we would still have just the normal military food. But when we would go out at night, we would be able to go out and if you'd want go to restaurant or go somewhere, you were free to do that.

SCHANEN: Was there anything there that you were able to eat, that you weren't used to getting at home that you liked?

LOCOCO: Well you know they have the normal like schnitzel and all of that kind of stuff that we tried. So yeah there was a few different German things that I tried, that I never tried before. But I'm also from a German family, so it's like a lot of stuff I may have tried before. But it's definitely different being over there that it was here.

SCHANEN: And it sounds like you sampled the local beer.

LOCOCO: Yes, we did. Yeah.

SCHANEN: Was that different from the beer you'd--?

LOCOCO: And I was underage the first time I went, so for me to be able to go over there and drink legally, that was a great thing. [laughs]

SCHANEN: You could drink legally because you were with military?

LOCOCO: Well because in Europe it was legal.

SCHANEN: Oh it was legal?

LOCOCO: Yeah, in Europe they don't have a drinking age. So it was legal for me to drink there.

SCHANEN: So it was the first time you could drink legally?


LOCOCO: It was the first time I could drink legally. [both laugh] Yeah, and I was in Europe. So yes we were able to sample the local beer and--

SCHANEN: And you were probably a bit of a connoisseur of beers by that time.

LOCOCO: I don't know. No, I wouldn't say so. [both laugh]

SCHANEN: Did it--well or--in your past experience now, did the beer in Germany taste any different than the beer here?

LOCOCO: Well in Europe, they have warm beer. It was warm and it was thick and dark.

SCHANEN: Oh really?


SCHANEN: Here we like it--

LOCOCO: Light and cold, exactly. So yeah it was quite a bit--I mean it wasn't very good. They had--

SCHANEN: You didn't like it?

LOCOCO: Well the traditional dark lager, we didn't like. Then they also had some different Weiss', which is their term for beer, but they have a honey Weiss and different--all these different beers that actually once I came back, I realized that we had that here also.

SCHANEN: Yeah, it's in stores. I'm not a beer drinker myself but--

LOCOCO: And I think it became quite a bit--I mean it was more--it was very popular once we had come back and it seemed like it was kind of that time when 53:00they came out with Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss and all that kind of stuff.

SCHANEN: Okay, I think they were just starting it.

LOCOCO: Right, right.

SCHANEN: Alright, when you were touring, what in particular struck you about the country, as far as the difference between there and here?

LOCOCO: It's very clean, very clean. I think that was one of the main things that I was just in amazement of. The--one of the towns that we went to that was really near the Hohenfels base that we went to--the streets are--just everything is--looks brand new. The streets are in perfect condition.

SCHANEN: And how old would these cities have been? They're old.

LOCOCO: Oh they're old cities.

SCHANEN: Centuries.

LOCOCO: Centuries old. But it's like everything is in such fabulous shape. Like the streets, it's like all brand new paint and like the signs are glistening. It's just--every little thing is well taken care of and it's not run down and it has a lot of different charm. And just seeing the countryside and everything like that, it was very different. And I had never been to Europe before. So for me it was an eye opener, being--seeing everything--


SCHANEN: Was the terrain a lot different than Wisconsin?

LOCOCO: It was very hilly and it's just not as populated. I guess it's like very--I mean a lot of open fields and very green, because we actually flew into Frankfurt both times and so we ended up having to take a bus for about three hours. So by bus we saw a lot of different areas that we normally maybe wouldn't have seen. It was beautiful.

SCHANEN: Now you said you met some of the locals? I mean, just for the evening or did you meet anyone--?

LOCOCO: No, yeah just pretty much for the evening. We would go out to a bar or we'd go out to a restaurant--wherever we would go and you'd talk to the locals and they could speak English a little bit, so you're able to speak to them. And they would always get a kick out of you being in the military and find out what you're doing--

SCHANEN: [Laughs] Building?

LOCOCO: Yeah, and all this kind of stuff. So yeah, they really enjoyed it I think as much as we enjoyed talking with them.

SCHANEN: So they were pretty receptive to you being there--?

LOCOCO: Very much.

SCHANEN: It wasn't a problem.

LOCOCO: And I'm sure they were probably used to it also just because the base 55:00was near there. So I'm sure they were used to seeing different people come over.

SCHANEN: Been there quite a few years, so.

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: Did you ever feel that any of the things you were trained for in the service have helped you later in life?

LOCOCO: Probably not as much as I would like to. I think that I--I'm good with a hammer. [both laugh] I can do little stuff--I'm probably more self-sufficient than what I think I would have been otherwise. As far as being able to do things around the house and being a little bit more handy. But I wouldn't trust myself to necessarily construct something and think that it was sound.

SCHANEN: I was going to ask if you were finding a house that you want to grow.

LOCOCO: No, no I wouldn't trust myself. I mean I wouldn't trust myself to do something like that. We--a couple of years ago my husband and I redid our basement. And I mean I know how to do drywall and I helped out a little bit with that and I can take down--we actually do a lot of demolition because we did a lot of demolition as well. When we would have our weekends where we would drill 56:00and they--we spent about also two years up at Fort McCoy, going up there and we were demolishing a building and redoing it and building offices for them up there and things like that. So I know how to do a lot of demolition which is also fun, because you don't really have to know how to do anything, you're just tearing everything down.

SCHANEN: Just go at it with a hammer.

LOCOCO: Just go at it with a hammer.

SCHANEN: Sometimes that's easier.

LOCOCO: Exactly.

SCHANEN: Except for the mess afterwards.

LOCOCO: Except for the mess. And we would do drywall and we would do--doing the wall--laying out the walls and things like that. And that's probably where I'm a little bit rusty that I don't know that as well.

SCHANEN: Is your husband talented in that area too?

LOCOCO: Not especially.

SCHANEN: So he's kind of happy to have you around.

LOCOCO: He's probably--we're probably about equal. I mean he knows enough where he can get by and I know enough where I can get by.

SCHANEN: And do you tend to know different things, that you can complement each other?

LOCOCO: A little bit, yeah. I mean we can kind of work together and do a couple of things. Like I said, it's not something we would trust ourselves to necessarily do and know that we're doing it right. But we can do a little bit here and there.

SCHANEN: Sometimes it just takes doing it.


LOCOCO: Exactly.

SCHANEN: Learn as you go.

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: How about the--then you finished your military commitment in June of 2001.

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: Now was that was also--

LOCOCO: An extra two years, correct. So I actually--the last time I spent in my unit doing the weekend drills was in June of 1989.

SCHANEN: Okay. Did you form any friendships in this unit in Pewaukee then that you've maintained?

LOCOCO: Mhm, yup. I actually stay in touch with two people still on a regular basis and then there's other people I talk to every once in a while. We don't talk very often but there's two people that I do still talk to on a regular basis that--a girlfriend of mine and a guy friend, so.

SCHANEN: And before you finished your obligation, did they encourage you to stay in or go active?

LOCOCO: They do--not necessarily go active. I mean they never really pushed for that all that much. I think that because we were all in the reserves and 58:00everybody who was there was in the reserves, except for maybe just a few people who were there full-time. I think they understood why you were in the reserves, if you were in school or you had a family. And so they really didn't push that too much. But they did definitely encourage you to reenlist. And they wanted to keep people there. But I--at that point I was getting married in August of '99. I knew we were planning on having kids in a few years. I mean that was our plan. And I just didn't want to put myself with that commitment. I--especially then--I mean I had no idea what would happen. And then September eleventh happened and I thank God that I wasn't in at that point, because I had a--I mean I was pregnant. I was--I mean was actually--I got pregnant a couple months later, but by the time we went to Iraq is when I would have been pregnant. And I thought, Who wants to take that chance of us having a little baby at home and go to war?

SCHANEN: And did you unit get called up?

LOCOCO: Mhm, they did. And she--they got called up. I mean the timing of it is 59:00really uncanny, but they actually were called up when she was just about four months old. And the military rule is that if you have a child whether if--like if you have a child that's very young, once they're four months old they can call you up.

SCHANEN:So you would have gone.

LOCOCO: And so it kind of hit home because I thought if I was still in, I probably would have gone. Because she just turned four months when they left.

SCHANEN: And I remember when--

LOCOCO: And they run for nine months.

SCHANEN: Yes, when they first started doing this--I don't know how many years ago they started calling women in to combat situations. And I remember seeing that on TV all the women having to leave their small children.

LOCOCO: Mhm. And it just hit home because I thought I would have probably had to go. Because she was just at that age. So like I said, I just didn't know at the time, but because that's what we were planning on doing and I just didn't want that commitment anymore. I thought I've done my eight years and I enjoyed it and it was a great thing for me and a great experience, but I knew that I was going to be doing other things in life and I didn't want to put myself in that position.

SCHANEN:Then before we started the interview, you mentioned something too 60:00about--after a little bit though, then your feelings were--

LOCOCO: Oh, absolutely. I mean when they--right. I mean it's like--

SCHANEN: Regret or something?

LOCOCO: Exactly, when they were called up, and I knew that they were called up, I even said to my husband, "I know it's silly and I wouldn't want to go--I wouldn't want to put myself in that position, but I have this really strong sense of responsibility that I should be there. And that I should be going because I have this training." And it's like, why have all of this if you can't use it? And why go through all of this if you're not there when your country needs you? But then again I had this--I had a small daughter. So it's like--

SCHANEN: If you're too close to war--

LOCOCO: And it's like I couldn't take the chance of being over in a situation where it's completely--you just don't know what to expect. I mean at that point it's not settled and there's a lot of terrorism over there. And I just didn't want to put myself in that position. And yet it was very hard for me not to call them up and say, "I could go." If I was--if I didn't have a child, even though I was married I probably would have.

SCHANEN: Even though you were finished with all the commitment you had given them, you would be able to go back in or would--?


LOCOCO: Sure, you could go back. And you could--

SCHANEN: At any time you could just--?

LOCOCO: I think so. I mean I think you could.

SCHANEN: I'm sure they wouldn't turn you down.

LOCOCO: It depends, right. I mean there may be a situation where maybe you couldn't. But I mean they were asking for people to come back.

SCHANEN: Oh really?

LOCOCO: I mean I actually had gotten a phone call from someone saying, "Would you be willing to come back?"


LOCOCO: So I think that they--

SCHANEN: So it wasn't just for [inaudible]?

LOCOCO: No, I mean it was that too, but even if they hadn't called it--still you just feel guilty, because--

SCHANEN: Did you have the phone call before you started thinking that?

LOCOCO: No, it was after. It was after I had been thinking it already, because I--like I said, I had a couple of good friends of mine who were going over there with my unit. One of the men that I knew--probably in his mid-thirties--had four small kids at home. And his wife--and here he's leaving his wife and his four small kids and I think that he had a baby also that was probably four or five months old.

SCHANEN: Now it doesn't make any difference with men how old the kids are?

LOCOCO: No, just with women. With men, they can be called regardless. But with women, because you're the mother and you might be breastfeeding or something 62:00like that, I think it's different.

SCHANEN: And are they since back now from Iraq?

LOCOCO: They are. Yup, they've been back--oh gosh--they would have left early in 2003. So they've been back about a year.


LOCOCO: Already, but I think they're--

SCHANEN: How long did they have to stay there?

LOCOCO: There's talk that they might be going back.

SCHANEN: Oh, really? They might go back again?


SCHANEN: And how long were they there the first time?

LOCOCO: Nine months.

SCHANEN: And what were they doing? Did you talk to him?

LOCOCO: I did talk to him--I talked to one of my friends who had been there--I don't know exactly what they were doing. He really didn't tell me too much. And I don't know if it's because he couldn't or just because he didn't. I'm not sure--

SCHANEN: Whether they were building something up or cleaning something?

LOCOCO: I think they were--I think from what he had told me that they were doing--they weren't really building necessarily. I think they were kind of cleaning up. And maybe like where some of the units had been, they were taking down supplies and things like that. And I think they were just basically putting them wherever they needed them. But he didn't go into a lot of information. And it was--I talked to him about a week after he got back, and I think it was still a little too fresh in his mind for him to really sit there and talk about.


SCHANEN: Right and it's not uncommon for people who've in combat situations or war areas or whatever you want to say, to just want to put it behind them.

LOCOCO: Exactly.

SCHANEN: Not to--

LOCOCO: Exactly.

SCHANEN: It's stun; let's just leave it at that.

LOCOCO: Let's just move on. Right.

SCHANEN: Did you ever receive any kind of medals or citations or anything for--?

LOCOCO: Well we had--I mean general medals that our whole unit would receive. We received different medals for--oh gosh I can't even think what they were exactly. I mean basic training I had been rewarded with the number one woman for physical fitness. I can't even think of what the other one was.

SCHANEN: Oh, really?


SCHANEN: Were you always physically active?

LOCOCO: I was. I mean I was pretty athletic in school. So coming out of high school and being athletic then and still being in pretty good shape when I went to basic training, I think definitely helped a lot. But I was at the number one in my class for that. So I received that award. And then I don't remember--I 64:00mean our unit had received some general awards, but I don't remember exactly what they were.

SCHANEN: To do pretty well with the rifle? [both laugh]

LOCOCO: I did okay. I wasn't a sharp shooter or anything like that, but--or an expert I guess. But I did okay.


LOCOCO: I qualified, so that was a good thing.

SCHANEN: How about for going to Germany or anything, did you get anything special for your unit having been there or--?

LOCOCO: Yeah, and you would also get different recognition--awards and things like that. And actually when I was in Germany too--I actually have it at home, I don't remember what it was called--but I did receive an award for working very hard there and being kind of like a--I would a lot of the times would take a leadership position and things like that. So I received an award for that both times I was in Germany. They would actually usually reward that at the end of the session. [phone rings]

SCHANEN: Okay, and what about when you did things like for the city of Pewaukee, did they have some recognitions or something then for--?

LOCOCO: They would have. Yeah, I think that the city of Pewaukee after once we had built the retaining wall and one of the parks, they had a picnic for us.


SCHANEN: Oh, okay.

LOCOCO: And they would do different things like that, or we'd be maybe a part of their local parade over the Fourth of July. They were asking people to be part of that. So they really incorporated the unit into the community a lot I think, and tried to do that

SCHANEN: That's nice.

LOCOCO: It was very nice, yeah.

SCHANEN: Have there been any reunions for your group or--?


SCHANEN: For basic or anything--?

LOCOCO: No, I would know. I would love it if they would. Yeah, I think it--especially for basic training, just because I had a lot of close friendships in that.


LOCOCO: So I would love it. But I actually had tried to get in touch with a couple people a few years ago and wasn't able to track them down. So I don't know where they are. I mean I know generally where they live, but I haven't been able to find them so--


SCHANEN: Do you currently or have you ever belonged to any veteran's organizations?

LOCOCO: I don't. I haven't, no.

SCHANEN: Busy with your family.

LOCOCO: Yes. [both laugh]

SCHANEN: And looking back on it, what do you feel your military experience has meant to your life?

LOCOCO: I think it's meant a lot to my life. It really changed me as a person. 66:00If I hadn't had that experience and hadn't had that discipline and--I think getting away from home for the first time I probably wouldn't be nearly as self-sufficient as I am. And I've always been kind of--I've always been pretty headstrong to begin with, so I think it just kind of fit right in with what I was planning on doing anyways.

SCHANEN: You're so good in those leadership positions. [both laugh] And since it had such positive effect on your life, would you talk to that friend of yours again?

LOCOCO: No kidding.

SCHANEN: I mean would you thank her for that or--?

LOCOCO: I would, yeah absolutely. I mean I'm very thankful that I did it. I think it gave me--it's an experience that not very many people have. I mean I have a couple of other friends who had joined after I did, and I can kind of talk to them about it and they understand what we have been through. But there's a lot of people who just don't quite understand what the military is about and what kind of camaraderie you have with people who are also in the military or different experiences you go through. I mean at seventeen, eighteen years old 67:00you're at such a vulnerable point in your life that the people that you meet and spend time with at that point change your life forever. And I think if I'd gone away to school it was just--in college it's kind of the same thing, but it's just different. It's not as meaningful.

SCHANEN: More partying.

LOCOCO: Exactly. It's just not as meaningful. It's not--you're not down to the core of what you're really doing when you're in the military. So it'd just a lot different and definitely was a life changing experience.

SCHANEN: You can still do the military type partying.

LOCOCO: Exactly.

SCHANEN:But you don't have someone over there drawing a line as to where it stops.

LOCOCO: Right and you're not desperate for them. I mean it's like when I was at basic training, you're desperate to have closeness with someone else. And it's like vice versa, they feel the same way. So you just kind of grab onto somebody and that's why, because those friendships just become so strong.


LOCOCO: Whereas in college, your--it's normal life.

SCHANEN:If you're not here then--

LOCOCO: Exactly, it's normal life. I mean you would have your friends from high school, so you're not as desperate for that. Or you can go home if you need to. In basic training, you can't do that. You're there.


SCHANEN: That's it.



LOCOCO: You don't have that escape I guess.

SCHANEN: So what if a young man or woman told you that they were thinking about the military? What would you say to them?

LOCOCO: It depends on them. It depends on who it was, and I think what it would mean for them. I did actually have--my sister-in-law has a little brother who is--well he's probably now in his--he's probably about twenty-three or twenty-four years old. And when he was graduating from high school he had talked about joining the military and I highly encouraged him to do it. And he really had--he actually really really wanted to, it was his family that was a little hesitant about him doing it. He would be the first from their family ever to do it and they were a little scared, especially because it was--it may have been around September eleventh. It may have been right around when all of that was going on. So I think there were a little hesitant about him doing it. And I really did encourage him to do it. He decided not to. So I think for him it would have actually been a very good thing. He was a little unsure of what he wanted do with his life. And I think that discipline would have been a very good 69:00thing for him. But once again it just depends on the person. You know each person I think is different as far as how they may react to something like that. But I think for most people, it would be a pretty good experience. And I recommend it.

SCHANEN: Okay, any other little stories or memories you have from the military that you'd want to share?

LOCOCO: The only other thing I can think of is you know when we talked about when we did the training in Germany. And then a couple of the other years where we didn't go to Germany, we would go up to Fort McCoy one year, or we went to Michigan one year to Camp Grayling for training. And we would just basically do mock combat training. And one of the funniest stories I do have is that this girlfriend of mine and I, we were in charge of one of the five tons.

SCHANEN: Which is a truck?

LOCOCO: They're huge, of course they're huge.

SCHANEN: And you're a slight little girl.

LOCOCO: Well they're dump trucks. And so she has two, but so she was--we were maybe twenty-one, twenty-two years old at the time. And we're driving this 70:00probably two hundred thousand dollar truck around, and going through trails and doing all this stuff. And we're doing this mock training where they have you going on this convoy. And they had us going all through the forest and all this kind of stuff on all these back trails.

SCHANEN: So you're following a group?

LOCOCO: We're following this group, because what we're doing is we'll go to one location and they'll set up this smoke bomb where you're smoked out. So you think that it's the enemy. And so you'll all pull over in your trucks, you'll get down, and you'll low crawl through the fields, and you'll do all this kind of different stuff. And so then you'll set up with your rifle and set up a perimeter and do all the stuff that you're trained to do. Well we had one of our lieutenants was Chinese and he didn't speak very good English. His name was Lieutenant Lee. And so he's in charge of us and he's in charge of the whole group. And you can't understand him very well to begin with, so it's kind of comical. So anyways, we get to this one convoy or we're coming in, they set up the smoke bomb. And we pull over a tuck, and he'd trying to direct my friend 71:00who's driving into this little area. And so he's directing her and directing her, and "Back up, back up, back up." Well she ends up hitting a tree. Forty thousand dollars' worth of damage. Oh, it's just--I guess you kind of had to be there. [both laugh] It was really funny.

SCHANEN: He didn't say, "Stop"?

LOCOCO: No, he didn't. And he kept on saying. And we're like, Are you sure? I don't really think we can go any further. "Oh, no. Keep coming, keep coming." And we ran right into the trees.

SCHANEN: How did they take that?

LOCOCO: Well, we weren't at fault. [laughs]

SCHANEN: Oh, no.

LOCOCO: No, I know.

SCHANEN: He assumed responsibility?

LOCOCO: He did assume responsibility. Yeah, he did. We did have another time when we were in Germany; one of the other girls had rolled a five ton.

SCHANEN: Rolled it?

LOCOCO: She just rolled it. She had a load of gravel in the back and was going down a hill and rolled it. She was banged up a little bit, but overall okay.

SCHANEN: Oh my goodness. So then I suppose you had to clean all that up too.


SCHANEN: I mean not only were you concerned about her injuries, and I suppose the damage to the truck--'cause I assume there was some damage.


LOCOCO: There was some damage, yeah. Her truck was totaled I think. So not fun, but the load was--

SCHANEN: Did she have a problem with that or--?

LOCOCO: No, well no she didn't. No, they--you're basically under their watch and their control and--


LOCOCO: The higher-ups assume responsibility, I guess.

SCHANEN: And big loads can shift.

LOCOCO: Right, and that's what happened is her load had shifted.

SCHANEN: That brings me to an interesting point, isn't your grandfather in something where they would haul big trucks?

LOCOCO: Yes, excavating. Unh-huh.

SCHANEN: Gee, did you ever work for him at any time?

LOCOCO: I didn't, no. [both laugh]

SCHANEN: And what did he think of your abilities to handle these trunks?

LOCOCO: I don't know. I mean he really never said too much about it. But yeah I'm sure that--I'm sure he probably was impressed to a certain extent. Or scared, I don't know.

SCHANEN: Yeah, maybe he just doesn't believe it.

LOCOCO: Right.

SCHANEN: Might be a good idea.

LOCOCO: Right, exactly.

SCHANEN: Or you know if you get really short sometime, he may give you a call and say, "Well, maybe".

LOCOCO: Well and the thing is too that they--with our unit, they really--they 73:00train you a little bit on how to drive it, but it's--once in a while it's kind of like--

SCHANEN: Not real on the job?

LOCOCO: "Good luck!" Yeah. "Good luck with that five ton."

SCHANEN: Alright, well that's interesting.


SCHANEN: Okay, anything else that you want to share or--?

LOCOCO: No, I think that's probably about it.

SCHANEN: Okay, well thank you very much.

LOCOCO: Thank you.

End of Interview

0:16 - Biographical information / Decision to join the military

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: So Amanda why don’t you start off by just giving us a little background on you, the year you were born and your hometown.

Segment Synopsis: LoCoco discusses her family and growing up in Grafton, Wisconsin. She explains her reasons for joining the military.



6:44 - Swearing into the military

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: So now you said you’ve agreed to join, and you went down to Milwaukee for your MEPs?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco describes swearing into the military. She explains the requirements of swearing in, and the overall process.



10:29 - Basic training

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: And when did you have to report for duty then—or basic training?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco describes basic training at Fort Jackson (South Carolina). She discusses initiation, barracks, and daily training. She also discusses being part of the first coed basic training group in the United States military.



18:55 - Advanced training

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Okay. So let's get into the advanced training now. You said basic was eight weeks

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco discusses advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood (Missouri). She explains why she chose masonry and carpentry. She also discusses drill sergeants, friends, and training.



29:06 - Life on base during basic and advanced training

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Alright, I should ask if there are any particular memories from your basic or your advanced training that--any little stories?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco describes life on base during her basic and advanced training. She discusses dating, drill sergeants, military food, and time off. She also discuses her role as a squad leader and the friends she met on base.



39:14 - Reserves unit in Pewaukee, Wisconsin

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: What were you required to do, what were your duties at reserve meetings?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco describes her duties at the reserves unit in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. She discusses her unit's projects, such as building a retaining wall and Summer Fest bathroom. She also discusses the role her unit would take during combat situations.



44:01 - Military base in Hohenfels, Germany

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Partial Transcript: Inerviewer: Alright, and what did you do during the summers then? In your two weeks?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco discusses living on the Hohenfels military base in Germany. She discusses why she was required to go and the work her unit did on the base. She also discusses the food, locals, scenery, and barracks.



55:08 - Life after the military

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Did you ever feel that any of the things you were trained for in the service have helped you later in life?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco discusses the skills she learned from her military experience. She discusses the friends she met in the military. LoCoco also describes the military's encouragement to stay in the military, and why she chose not to reenlist.



58:53 - Thoughts after 9/11

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: And did your unit get called up?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco discusses how her former unit was deployed to Iraq after 9/11. She discusses her feelings of wanting to serve with her unit.



63:17 - Medals and recognitions

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Did you ever receive any kind of medals or citations or anything for--?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco discusses the medals she received in basic training and Germany. She also discusses the recognition her unit received from the city of Pewaukee for their service.



65:53 - Recommending the military to others

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: And looking back on it, what do you feel your military experience has meant to your life?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco discusses how her time in the military has changed her, and developed her character. She discusses a time where she encouraged her nephew to join the military, and how she recommends other people to join the military as well.



69:15 - Truck driving / Interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Okay, any other little stories or memories you have from the military that you'd want to share?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, LoCoco shares stories of truck driving at Camp Grayling (Michigan) and in Hohenfels, Germany. The interview is concluded.



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