In 1965 with my graduation from high school complete I was looking for something new, something that was out of the normal order. I knew that I wanted to go to college but now was not the time. I was looking for something that would challenge me and give me new grist for the mill.
I had always been an avid reader, a surfer, someone who enjoyed new experiences and the Navy seemed to fit that bill.
I was seventeen and the war in Vietnam was heating up. My parents were very unsure about my choice but they ended up signing my papers. My father had been in the Army Air Corps and was partial toward the Air Force but I was a waterman and the Navy was always my first choice.
I passed all my tests and was recruited into the U. S. Navy.
Flying on the airline of the day Pacific Southwest Airlines, from San Francisco to San Diego (the one where the flight attendants called stewardess in those days, wore hot pants and white go go boots) landing with all the new recruits at the old Lindbergh Field was a great start to my new life. I was off to the Naval Training Center in San Diego.
This was where and when my "new life" came into a startlingly clear focus!
We were all standing out on the curb waiting for the bus to take us to the Naval Training Center. We were all laughing and waiving to the passing girls going by when this CPO came down the ranks and yelled: "attention you maggots", "stand at attention"!
Well we knew he was serious, but I guess I did not know quite how serious he was until he was standing in front of me two inches from my face staring into my eyes. I was half grinning and he did not think anything at that moment was the least bit funny.
The next thing I know a hand cuffs me across the back of the head, (this was before mothers started writing to their congressmen about recruit abuse), and a loud voice rang out in my ear: "don't you wiggle, don't you move and wipe that grin off your face - do you understand me boy". "Yes sir"I bellowed back. He leaned into my ear and said: "pick a lightbulb across the street and stare at it and do not breathe too loud". My adventure had begun!