Navy Life- Installment 1-Boot Camp

I think that I will try to do this particular story in four sections. It is probably to long for most people to stay interested for the duration. In between I'll revert to my usual rants! This episode is not as interesting as future ones, but try to suffer through to get some background! There are no x-rated words in here yet!

Early on in my life, I had decided that I wanted to join the Navy in order to be able to work on, and fly in, all the great planes that they had in the 40's and 50's. So with that in mind, I made the first overture to a recruiting Officer in Springfield Mass. I took the required physical exam for all military inductees and was accepted for service. At that time in the history of the navy, you could make a request as to which "rating" you would like to strive for. I made my pitch to them that I wanted to be an Aviation Machinists Mate R. The "R" stood for 'reciprocating as that was the type of engine that I wanted to work on.I was assured that after the successful completion of boot camp I would be assigned to a school to learn all about those babies.
Eventually graduation day arrived, and that evening I was presented with a diploma signifying that the end of 12 years of terrible mental exertion had arrived! After all the graduates had been given their kudos and awards, I was a non-recipient of either, it came time for a Naval Aviation Pilot to do the deed, and swear myself and two other equally naive children into the service of their country. This took place as we were still wearing our cap and gown outfits and clutching that hard won sheepskin in our other hand. This all occurred on a Friday night and we were then advised that we would be leaving the Island the following Monday to journey to a place called Bainbridge MD. That was to be the place where we would receive our indoctrination into the life as a US Navy sailor.

Well the day of departure finally arrived. I had been looking forward to this with the greatest of enthusiasm. It meant that I would miss the summer of 1956 on the Island but that was no big deal then. So on June the 15th the three of us went down to the New Harbor to get on the boat to leave the Island. Damn, this was an event in which I had never participated in before, as the boat we were leaving on was the one that went to New London CT. Man! Already I was in uncharted waters and I hadn't even left the damn dock yet! As the boat pulled away from the dock, and I looked at my Mom and Dad standing there, I had the first slight twinges that maybe I was being just a little bit hasty in my departure from everything I had ever known and everybody I loved!

We got to New London in good order and went to the train station which was only a few yards away. The train got us underway for the next part of our adventure. It was an adventure to, because here was another form of conveyance That I had never been on before! The next few hours got us down to Grand Central Station in New York City where we were deposited along with a few thousand other people. The only difference between them and us was that they knew where they were going and how to get there. Not so for we hicks from the sticks. Someone had told us on the way down to walk over to Penn Station to catch the train for Maryland, but we didn't have a clue as to the location of this place the end we wound up taking a taxi and not so sure that we didn't get a shortened tour of the city before our arrival at our location. After sorting out all the tracks and finding the right one, we boarded that train for the last leg of this odyssey.

We arrived in a small town in MD called Perryville at about 1:30 am and climbed off with about 40 to 50 other guys who looked just as bewildered as me. Just then a big old gray bus with the words US Navy painted on the side arrived. Hooray, Salvation! We weren't going to have to sleep on the railway platform after all. These guys were going to give us a nice soft bed. HAH! They loaded us aboard and after about a 20 minute ride we came to a stop in front of a huge building. Off the bus and into the building we went like a herd of cattle. Inside this cavernous edifice, was just a huge floor painted with three foot squares covering the whole thing. Now comes out a door this person who was about six foot forty and commences to scream at us. Not even my mother could scream this loud! He told us to occupy one of the squares, stand at attention, (whatever that was) and don't talk. Then he hollers at us, "Divest yourselves of all the civilian accoutrements you have on your US Navy issue body!" We all stood there and just looked at each other trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about. Well he made it abundantly clear to strip off every stitch of clothes that we had on including shoes socks and underwear! Right at that moment, I knew for sure that I had made a HUGE mistake in joining the USN! This incident occurred about 0230 in the morning and we were left standing at attention in our birthday suits till 0600! So much for the nice soft bed! TO BE CONTINUED. Everett

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your story about your introduction to the Military Life. It reminded me of a conversation I had with my brother many years ago after he joined the Air Force and had completed basic training. Not knowing anything about the military except what I'd seen in the movies, I asked him what he thought about the Air Force so far. "Not bad" was the answer. Wanting more details, I asked him "What about the drill sergeants? Do they really get in your face and yell?" He replied "Oh sure." "How was that?" I asked, still looking for more information. He paused for a minute and then replied " Oh, no worse than Ma." I knew exactly what he meant and knew he'd be fine.

Hope to see your next installment soon.