August 20, 1989, I boarded a Greyhound bus out of Fort Pierce and started what would end up being an 8 year enlistment in the United States Navy. I said goodbye to my mother, my friends and to my girlfriend, took a seat heading for MEPS in Miami to be formally enlisted, then off to Great Lakes, IL for boot camp.
Even though I was surrounded by other people who would be joining the military, I felt completely alone. They were not friends, they were not even acquaintances, at best they were traveling companions, and most of them were barely that as their destination was different than mine.
I suffered through the initial indoctrination process in Miami, boarded a plane, ended up in Chicago with only minimal instructions as to where to go, eventually ending up in the USO where I met up with other young men who were headed to RTC Great Lakes. It wasn’t until almost dusk when they rounded us up, filed us onto a blue school bus and we were driven to our final destination. In the dying light of the day, I was able to see some of the surrounding countryside, take in a few of the autumn changes that I was not used to being a native Floridian, and watch my final sunset as a civilian. Continue reading Boot Camp