View Full Version : October 5th, 1965
Oct. 5th, 1965 I joined the Navy and four years later on October 5th,1969 I was spending the first night in a new home and I had a job that paid more a month than I made in six months in the Navy. Life was good and I was using my Navy education.
Except for the long family separations I enjoyed the Navy. If you could pass the tests you got the promotion and I was treated more than fair. Did meet a lot of great people which I think of often. Slept in a air conditioned bunk with clean sheets and no biting bugs. The food was good and really no bad ones stick out that I can remember.
Except for a lying Navy Recruiter that I would like to give a verbal assault and a Company Commander that I would just like to assault I have no regrets.
What were your likes and dislikes of service life?
"Health & Welfare" inspections sucked. MPs would enter your room at an un-Godly hour with dogs searching for drugs. Being in an MI unit, this was most annoying as most of us held high clearances and were above-board, unwilling to risk loss of MOS, etc. due to drug use. As a "thank you" and treat for the dogs, I would sprinkle some Copenhagen snuff at my door's threshold. The ensuing sneezing was always a laugh.
While living on base in the barracks, a weekly inspection with the senior ranking man present. Took me away from my work which I had too make up. Also had to get into summer whites or winter craker jack monkey suit. Plus a drug test every two months. As stated above would not waste my life or ruin my military bennies over stupid drug use. Plus as a friend once said booze an drugs will cloud you mind when the bullets start flying.
My recruiter never lied to me, believe it or not, he actually tried to talk me out of the infantry and into a more high-tech MOS (high ASVAB scores) that would give me great skills later in civilian life, but I wouldn't have any of it. I guess it was luck of the draw. He told me exactly what to expect, fully and honestly. When the other guys were cursing their recruiters, I couldn't. What did I hate? I absolutely hated running! The main reason I left the Army was my loathing of running. Later on, in the NG I was happy because I only had to run once a year. As long as I passed the PT test, nobody cared if I ran every day or just that day.
I'm glad somebody's recruiter didn't lie to them. Mine certainly lied to me and my son's lied to him which goes to show some things never change.
While I was never cut out for the military, I just don't have a military mind, it was worth while for me on a lot of levels. I sure as heck wouldn't do it again though, once was enough.
I guess at the time and place I was in it turned out ok though.
My recruiter didn't lie a bit. The only thing he promised me was Naval Aviation rating and nothing else.
The Air Force recruiter did not lie to me. My number was up. He told me unless I did well on the ASVAB he could not get me into the Air Force before I was drafted. I scored 93 percentile on the AFQT (Category 1) and I was on my way to basic later that week. No prior choice of career field was allowed. When it was time to select a career field all of the available jobs were listed on a black board. Before I filled out my forms a Sergeant came over to tell me as a CAT 1 enlistee my choices were three of the four listed in the top right hand corner. I requested language specialist and the two computer specialties. I was tested for these positions and passed for computers but failed for language. They were right as I was promoted to E-5 under three years and continued to work with computers after discharge for 35 years.
I really enjoyed my time in the service. In the Air Force my only permanent party assignment was to Richards-Gebaur AFB, MO. I had two or three TDY assignments every year so I was able to see other bases too.
I also served 24 years in the Army Reserve. In that time I served one year as a system analyst, 10 years in a Infantry Training Battalion (Drill Sergeant, Training NCO, and Bn Operations Sergeant), 10 years as Operation Sergeant (REPLO-V) DoD liaison to FEMA V, and three years as Division G-6 Sergeant Major
I was already married before I went in so I missed a lot of the barracks experience thing. Well, I didn't experience it but I don't think I "missed it."
While at the recruiter's office a recent retiree paid a visit. He recommended a field and I took his advice. Best thing I ever did; nobody lied to me.
All in all it was a positive experience. Most of the people I served with were senior officers and they watched out for me. The sole really bad experience was a bird Colonel with personal deity issues; he seemed to believe he was one. It finally caught up with him.
One enlistment and then out. Didn't regret that decision either.
My (1961) AF recruiter was very honest. He said the first couple of weeks of Basic would be terrifying and lonely but things would level out after that. He was right. He had promised an electronics field and that was what I got. I never held a grudge against him at all.
Still, I believe most recruiters speak with forked tongue.
I was watching "How It's Made" tonight and they were in Scotland at a food processing plant that makes haggis. Just watching it being made was revolting. Beef fat, lamb lungs, lamb liver, oatmeal, and "secret" spices, all nicely packed in beef intestines. Yuk! Unlike recruiters, I don't believe you ever spoke with forked tongue about haggis.
I was set to follow my Dad's footsteps and join the Air Force in July '63, but the Navy recruiter called and told me about the submarine nuclear power program. If I passed all the tests, I'd spend almost two years in training and then go to a nuclear sub. There was a catch though, I'd have to commit to a six-year enlistment. I signed on the dotted line and the Navy gave me what they promised. After seven years, I got out and entered the commercial nuclear industry where I've been ever since. It's been a good career that has kept a roof over our heads, food on the table, and plenty of tax revenues for the government.
To do what you did you had to test in the top 1/2% of all the men in the Navy. Then to be able to mentally handle being a Nuclear Submariner truly put you put you in a very elite group of men. Glad it worked out for you. I'm sure the Navy hated loosing you and offered a very good bonus to entice you to ship over.
I'm sure the Navy hated loosing you and offered a very good bonus to entice you to ship over.
Interesting that you brought that up. Back then the Navy had what they called a variable reenlistment bonus, which was designed to entice personnel with certain skills to reenlist. I forget what the amount was for my job code (Nuclear Machinist's Mate), but what a lot of us did was reenlist for three years when we reached the four-year mark. Now that I think about it, I believe I received $5,000 before taxes, which I pissed away in about three months. (There is sometimes a large gap between intelligence and maturity).
The enticement to reenlist was shore duty at one of the nuclear prototypes. I was selected for instructor duty at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho. What that entailed was a 50-mile bus ride each way, mandatory 60-hour weeks, and having to stand underway watches while sitting in the middle of the desert. What I really wanted was to go to air conditioning and refrigeration school or welding school. The Navy said they needed instructors more than AC&R repairmen or welders, so I opted to get out.
I wasn't recruited into the Navy but after my experiences at the Vietnam Village at Fort Sill I was ready to change over to the Navy when a Navy Captain uncle suggested it. There was some irony, then, in getting assigned to the USMC, and eventually being assigned as an infantry battalion dental officer with 1-4 on the RVN/Cambo evac. You might assume that they sent me there because of my Army training (I assumed so). When I finished with 3rd Mar Div I was going to be assigned to NAS Jacksonville, FL. A great assignment! BUT... I wanted a USMC base where I could continue to shoot, Pendleton or Quantico. So I wrote the detailer of the Navy Dental Corps, Captain Noel Wilke. I recently found the note he wrote back to me in 1975. He said in the letter that he had met me when he came to Dallas to meet the Baylor dental students who would be going on active duty soon. At that meeting, I brought some of my collection of 1:1200 waterline ship models (similar to the WW2 ID models, but, I had a small "fleet" of modern US/Russki types). In his letter, Captain Wilke said: "When I saw your ship models, I knew you were the right man for the 3rd Mar Div."
So you see sometimes your hobbies can get you typed as gung-ho and can influence where you get sent....
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