Forty years

“I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.”  _John Fitzgerald Kennedy,  PT-109 Commander, WWII;  President of the United States

In the pre-dawn hours of Oct 3,  1977  I arrived at the Recruit Depot of Naval Training Center, San Diego, California.    I had signed my life away the previous afternoon at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS),  Phoenix,  Arizona.   And despite the very attractive female Marine Sergeant at the MEPS,  I did not on-the-spot decide to opt for the Marine Corps.

Marched as a gaggle – that would be rectified very shortly – to get haircuts,  none of us really knew what was happening.  Then lined up for clothing issue,  and medical checks and barracks assignment.  Nothing was fast enough, efficient enough nor military enough for the Recruiting Company Commanders that day.    After a full day, we were assigned our bunks.   And at O-dark Thirty,  0330 or  3:30AM,  the loudest bang from a metal trash can thrown down the center of the barracks woke everybody.   Welcome to Boot Camp,  ladies.

Forty years later,  I have been retired seven and a half years.   I can look back on the best  and most challenging times of my life: two periods on Active Duty from  1977 through 1980,   and 1987 through 2000,  and two periods in the Reserve,  1987 till I opted for Active Duty again;  and from 2000 through 2010 when I retired.   Eight years assigned to sea duty – most of which spent going to sea.   Pacific,  Atlantic, Mediterranean ,  Red Sea, and Caribbean deployments.  Panama and Suez canal, Equator and Date Line crossings.

Not a bad life.

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