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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!

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Comment by Douglas Karr on May 16, 2009 at 2:49pm
When I went to bootcamp in '86, they weren't allowed to strike us. However, they got around physical attacks with physical pain. I remember we got 'cycled' in boot camp for a few hours. One of the recruits overheated and passed out. He literally fell from push-up position and it sounded like a melon hitting the floor.

The ambulance picked up the recruit and left. As they were carting him out, I remember thinking... wow, these company commanders are in some deep trouble. About the time I was thinking that, one of the CC's (Chief Walker) yelled...

"One down!"

This may have been the first time in my life I was afraid of someone. I thought, "What was I thinking?".

Just as you guys say it, I do too... these were the experiences that made me confident in myself and made me a better person. I, too, am thankful for everything the Navy provided me and my family.
Comment by Marvin R. Lucas on May 6, 2009 at 6:05pm
Boot camp for me was also out of high school, only i almost made a mistake and joined the marines but i woke up and smellled the coffee and signed up for the navy, i went to Orlando Fla. in June of 1974 like i sad right out of high school, i guess what influenced me was the fact that my older brother was in at the time only he went to Great Lakes, and the other thing that influenced me was the NJROTC Instructors i had in high school, one was a full Commander who flew PBYS and the other was a LT served on tin cans, they both pointed me in the right dirction, i never regretted joining the navy, i enlisted here in corpus christi texas and my first duty was here at home doing brother duty, from there it was 20 years of training and lot of going to sea, but i learned alot and enjoyed every day that i was in. I worked in aviation and today i am in aviation in corpus christi army depot.I retired out of NAS Miramar in San Diego Cal. and i really liked Cal. except the cost of living.
my company commander in boot camp was tough, he was a seal. and our days started at 0400 with exersises and ending at 2200 with exersises, and the rest of the day was what ever he could throw at us including sleeping with your rifles at least once a week.
i guess if i had to do it all over again i would gladly and proudly join the navy again. GO NAVY

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