When you sign your life away to Uncle Sam, there are a few things that could happen. You might buy a Camaro and finance it at 27 percent APR, begin obsessively rolling all your socks, date a lady of the night, find yourself at a sh*thole like Twentynine Palms or marry someone you met five days ago (and divorce just as fast).

But one thing is almost certain to occur: You will be sprinkled with oleoresin capsicum — pepper spray. Here’s what that’s like, according to some wise veterans who lived to tell the tale.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digital Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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