“Memories which someday will become all beautiful when the last annoyance that encumbers them shall have faded out of our minds.”
― Mark Twain,
I am reading my letters written in boot camp forty years ago. As an eighteen year old enlisted sailor, I entered the training gate by military bus at four in the morning of 3 October, 1977. This was my first real separation from family. I wanted to share my adventures. It is not gripping prose.
27 October, 1977
Payday! I went to cash my paycheck. After deductions for the ditty bag ( personal items, toiletries and shave kit, $65) and taxes, I have $173 for two weeks. I am sending you $163 in a money order. Use it for bills or put it in the bank for me.
We got big news today which made our Company Commander very happy: we earned a 4.0 mark on our barracks inspection which means the inspectors found nothing to report. And we began a competition between companies which will mean a lot in the coming weeks. After the barracks inspection, we had a personal inspection – uniforms, gear, shave and such. In our third week, we took a test that I had been worried about. It was very easy and I nearly aced it.
At our classification interview – to select which career I would follow, I went for the CRYPTOLOGIC TECHNICIAN, MAINTENANCE …….. It seems I have been preliminary accepted into this field – part of the Advanced Electronics Field I signed up for. But it means a COMPLETE security check as I would be dealing with ….. equipment. I will be sending home a document to for you to completely fill out and return to me as soon as possible. I hope I can get into this “hush, hush” rating. I sure hope that the investigators will not dig up anything to disqualify me. …. the Navy will spend five months investigating me. They will uncover everything and find and talk to everyone I was in contact with. And five months of schooling. According to the classification brief, school will pack two weeks of high school electronics training into a single 8-hour day! If I should fail school I will be screwing up a six-year commitment and become a barnacle-scrubber!
Please thank Nana and Robin for their letters. They help a lot. I will write again, probably on 4- 4 day next week when we cross the bridge into advanced training. Movies, recreation room, and a Baskin-Robbins and hamburger joint available to us on our liberty time. The hitch is that the Company Commander decides whether we earn a pass to visit these things. Tell Senorita I miss her and not to bug Buttercup too much.
P.S. Please send postage stamps as it is hard to obtain them here in RTC and I like to keep up a running commentary. After all the physical training, you will see a definite change when you come here for my graduation.
I miss you a lot. Tons of love,