From September 11th forward, the various arms of military branches of the United States have been in the spotlight. Shrouded in mystery, for the most part, for the past 100 years, it’s only been within the past 3-4 years that we have gotten a birdseye view into a fraction of the inner sanctum of what is the military. And in light of our war in the middle East, whether the Marines, U.S. Army, National Guard, or U.S. Navy, serving in a branch of the military carries with it honor, prestige and dignity.
Okay, so you’ve raised your right hand and sworn your personal freedom away for at least four years or more… What next?
Well, the military has changed since our last big war. More now than ever, soldiers are actively seeking an edge in everything from infantry to officer training programs. Competition was always fierce, but now, that edge may have taken on a broader capacity to win. What exactly is that edge? From all indications, it may, in fact, be anabolic steroids.
Not a lot of media focus has been placed on the military over the years. So much about military life is shrouded in secrecy. We believe that this is because military action is necessarily covert. But are there things going on in the military that have nothing to do with national security? Unseemly secrets and practices that are going unnoticed in the name of national security? These men – and now women – who defend our country and its ideals, are as prone to the same habits, attitudes and practices as civilians on the outside. True, military life is a social structure and habitat unto itself with very different rules governing it, however, these are still men and women to whom physical fitness is a career and life choice, rather than a cosmetic one.
Having said that, there is not a set policy in the military about steroids and how discovery of their use is handled. Situations governing use, abuse, and action against activities surrounding AS are handled case by case within a unit. And it wasn’t until recently that testing for anabolic steroids was actually conducted. Routine tests for recreational drug use has been in effect for a long time. Performance and safety depend upon a clear head. But is performance getting an unwitting boost from soldiers of all ranks using AS?
Well, it wasn’t until Androstendione and other pro hormones and hormone pre-cursors were made illegal that the various branches of the military began testing for performance enhancing drugs at the level of enlistment. But random tests are now performed on soldiers for any form or version of AS or PH. Still, all specimens are tested for recreational drugs upon entry to the military.
There are two types of enlistees: One that ships out within 30 days (direct shipper), and one that is ‘on call’ and waiting to be needed or the time has come to ship out. The latter has much more time to rid his/ her body of AS used in a cycle of injectables. You will not be tested between the time you enlist and the time you are waiting to ship unless something about you raises suspicion and your recruiter wants you tested. But since recruiters make money off of you enlisting, they are not apt to want to find anything wrong with you as a candidate.
First stop in the military is your Military Occupation Specialty school (MOS), where you will ultimately specialize and learn your chosen trade. If you were anything from a mathematician to a mechanic, you’ve likely been chosen for your expertise and will be further nurtured in that area. But intense focus is on you here, and it isn’t a time to do a cycle. Don’t go putting on 25 pounds of muscle, or your tests will be anything but random.
After MOS you’ll be assigned a duty post and location that you’ll be at for least 3 years. Don’t immediately start using AS here, either, as if you were in your hometown. Check out the situation. Forge relationships and loyalties and don’t tip your hand as to your usual routine. Go to both military and civilian gyms in the area, and check out the scene to see what is normal and routine and what is, say, out of the ordinary. A few rules once you do decide the coast is clear, and you’ve met others who take AS (they will be most loyal):
- Don’t talk about what you do to anyone – even other AS users until you know if they are loyal
- Never use a local source for gear near base – too many people in the loop to rat on you
- Don’t use the base/ military postal service! Have packages delivered to a neutral location in town
- Getting your gear back on base is tricky. Panels within trucks, gaps in seats, and other inconspicuous locations work best
If you know you’re going to go to a guard station with MP’s or civilian guards, don’t even try it. Wait for military guys like you, serving guard duty that night.
Storing your AS stash can be challenging depending upon the kind of accommodations you are in as a PFC. You can be in barracks, squadbays and dorms. The more privacy, obviously, the better chance to store your gear. Work is often a better place, since unannounced inspections there are not commonplace. Make your gear mobile so that it can be moved on a moment’s notice.
Always remember that your fluctuations in weight and in size will be the biggest tell-tale sign of AS use, and will raise suspicions. You can’t hit it as hard in the military as you might in your home gym, where packing on mass is like a free-for-all.
The military will turn a blind eye to someone who’s in great shape, looks good, embodies the physical prowess to do well in fitness tests and performs well on the job. But if you have attitude, are bloated, are putting on mass like there’s no tomorrow and are having a hard time lacing your boots because you are holding massive amounts of fluid, it’s going to be tough on you! In other words, don’t look like a bloated mess, and don’t start setting base records that don’t even compare to what you achieved when you first came in. They know progress isn’t that rapid. Excel, but don’t be a superstar.
Beware the SACO (Substance Abuse Counselor/ Officer)! Testing in the military is supposed to be random, but if you are a troublemaker or you are not in good standing in any area of your service, you will be singled out “by accident on purpose”. But if you do not raise unnecessary suspicion, only about 10% of a unit is randomly tested every three months. That is a low number and you could well avoid tests for recreational drugs or oral AS, quite easily if you are not singled out.
In the Army Reserve or National Guard, the picture is a little bleaker. They know that you are ‘on the outside’ and have access to drugs and a lifestyle that is laden with much more freedom, so drug tests can be performed randomly on a monthly basis.
Keep in mind, too, that weight and size fluctuations will also be costly in terms of uniforms. Make sure that you pass your uniform inspections on a regular basis – even if you’ve put on size and it means dieting on low carbs for 3-4 weeks prior. If you don’t, you had better make sure you fix your uniform by tailoring it to fit each time before inspection.
A final note: It’s pretty hard to be in the military, with all that has been discussed, let alone adhering to a system that is about discipline, respect and following orders, no questions asked. Keeping your attitude in check with your superior officers, and sublimating that rebellious streak that you sometimes get when on AS, takes a lot more than maybe even you have. If you are bound and determined to use AS while in the military, use milder forms of orals. Injectables are too much hassle because you have to hide your vials and your gear. That is a lot more conspicuous, and maybe more trouble than it’s worth.
Point is, know how you react to anabolic steroids before going in. If you have a temper, or accumulate a ton of water weight or acne, you’ll want to just skip using altogether for those few years you’re obligated to the government. It isn’t worth it. Work out hard, do your duty, and you’ll be in a position of choice sooner than you think!