Back when Czechoslovakia was a Communist country, my dad was required to go to military service once a week. When he was there, he trained in military exercises. When my dad was going there, he was supposed to be a tank engineer, but there was a slight problem. The 1989 revolution. This was when the Czechoslovakian people decided that Communism was enough and began strikes and protests. After the protests, the Czechoslovakian government ended Communism and turned to a Parliamentary Constitutional republic government.
However, even though Communism ended in the country, military training was still mandatory. My dad thought it wasn’t too bad to be forced into military training, because it was a short period of time, and he didn’t really have a choice anyway. (However he wasn’t too excited about it either.) At age twenty-five, my dad went to military boot camp for a month. He had just graduated from the Czech Technical University in Prague with a masters degree in mechanical engineering. He had already started a job in engineering air liquefiers. The military drafting, however, forced him to quit his job. This military boot camp was intense. It included military exercises, training, and firing guns. My dad thought this was the most annoying part because of all the screaming during the drills. At this camp, he said there were only about seven people his age, and the rest were eighteen-year-olds. Normally, at age twenty-six my dad would have been an officer, but because of the revolution, the age groups were mixed up. My dad recalls even having an eighteen-year-old as his officer, which for him, wasn’t a good experience.
Thankfully, my dad didn’t go to any front line. He was positioned at a huge underground bunker complex that was built for the Cold War. At the complex, he was assigned as a facility engineer, which included managing the water, power, and heating and cooling systems. He did many things in the bunker complex, such as guarding the barracks for a little, and even servicing the potato peeling crew! But facility engineer was his main job, which was his favorite.
He remembers one event from his time there. In the bunker, only certain people got hot showers, including the higher ranks such as officers. My dad was not one of them. He and the engineers he worked with figured out that turning down the air conditioning produced more heat waste, which they could use to warm up their showers. One day when he and his friends decided they wanted warm showers, they decided to turn down the AC in a large room below to produce heat waste. Little did he know, the room was filled with officers who were currently painting planes! The temperature in the room became so low the officers started to complain about it, confused why it was so cold in the room.
“It’s too cold down here!”
“Why is it so cold?” The officers were calling the people managing the AC, including my dad. They were right to complain. It got to forty-five degrees down there!
My dad and his friends responded. “Something must be broken.” After convincing the officers, my dad and the rest of the facility engineers in working the AC took their hot showers, and then slowly turned the temperature back up.
Thankfully, my dad got out of that bit of trouble. He resumed normal life as a facility engineer, spending a lot of time playing old 2d war and Simpsons games when he was bored. He slept from six pm to twelve pm and worked shifts the remaining hours. He also worked in twenty-four hour shifts as well. One year after starting, my dad ended his time as a facility engineer around 1994, which would mark an end to his days in the military.
Submitted by Aja T., Age 13