Tag Archives: Navy

5 of 25…

Re-Enlistment Looms

My time in the Navy was coming to an end, and as every true sailor who has ever served, I wanted out. Those guys who never wanted out have a term that we referred to them by:

L.I.F.E.R

If you know what it means, you understand. If you don’t… well, lets just say it’s not the nicest acronym that has ever been used. Just to clue you in, the L stand for ‘lazy’ and it just gets worse from there.

Anyway…

I was due to get out in August and my ship was deploying in July (or somewhere in that time frame). If I timed it right, they would end up leaving me behind and I would process out of the military and head home. Sounded like an awesome plan to me. That is, until I brought it up with my wife.

A fact that I never considered when was that women have this whole comfort and security idea that I think is passed down in their DNA, because the second I started saying I wanted out, she rebutted with all the reasons I should stay in. This lead to some long conversations between us, where I would tell her why I wanted to get out and she would tell me why I should stay in.

My Reasons…
  1. I hated it.
  2. I would be making my third 6 month deployment in 4 years.
  3. I hated it.
  4. I didn’t like that I couldn’t go in and just quit.
  5. I hated it.
  6. I had a jerk for a Senior Chief at the time.
  7. I hated it.
  8. Bell bottom dungarees. Seriously, so ugly.
  9. And just in case you missed it… I hated it.
Her Reasons…
  1. Wait, I was supposed to be listening to them?

Ok, truth be told, she did have some valid reasons. It was a guaranteed paycheck, I couldn’t get fired, medical, dental, it was a job… and the list continued on like that. And although I hated it, my reasons for hating it were the same reasons anyone hates their job. Mainly, they make you work. What’s the deal with that?

In The End

I ended up going on the cruise and re-enlisted. Got to do it in the second lock of the Panama Canal too. That was pretty unique. Oh, the Navy also gave me a bonus for staying in, a whopping $14,000. I got half of that upfront and it was going to all go to wiping out the debt that we had accumulated over the last 3 years with a little bit extra left over too.

I never said I was good with money back when we first got married. That was another one of those hard learned lessons.

The bad news, however, was that I would end up making the entire cruise and finish out my sea time around February. That is when I would be eligible to go to shore duty, something that was heavy in the ‘pro’ column when I finally made my decision to stay in.

Shore duty. Saying good-bye to haze gray and underway. Not having to worry about leaving the family for long periods of time. Being home every night.

Little did I know, it was those reasons that were about to send us into some pretty heavy seas.

Again.

Goose_and_the_Duck

Ok, this photo is of my son when he was about four months old, so it is out of chronological order, but... sometimes you just need to post stuff like this. Goose ain't got nothing on this look.

I joined the Navy when I was 18 and over the next four years got to see more of the world then I really ever wanted. Call me short-sighted, call me narrow-minded, call me non adventurous, call me a homebody… but I just don’t like traveling. At least, not anymore.

You see, in that four years I got to see Portugal, Spain, Palma de Mallorca, Italy, Sardinia, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Djibouti, Israel, Turkey, Greece, the Sinai Peninsula, Kuwait, Iraq, The Suez Canal, most of the Caribbean, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Panama, the Panama Canal, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and I’m pretty sure I left off a few places…

I even got to see a few cities in the U.S. in that time frame too.

I’ve seen some of the most beautiful water you could ever imagine, sailed in some of the worst seas that I hope never to revisit, did some of the craziest (stupid) things I still can’t quite believe I did, and saw things that will be with me for the rest of my life.

But for all the photos I have, and for all the fun that I enjoyed, for all the memories that were made…nothing was ever like home. Watching our home port grow larger as we pulled in from being underway, manning the rail and scanning the crowd for my family, rushing into the arms of my wife (ok, she rushed, I was military and manly and.. didn’t cry at all.. nope), feeling complete again and that somehow that moment made the last 6 months worth it.

Yeah… home.

I’d be ok if I never had to leave her again.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “No, Thanks.”

Boot Camp

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

Herman the Traveling Teddy Rabbit?

Back a few weeks ago, I posted a poem and one in one of the comments I referenced a ‘teddy rabbit’ that I had. I never really gave explanation, nor a name, but I feel it’s time that I do.

Herman the Teddy Rabbit
Herman the Teddy Rabbit

His name is Herman, and as you can see, he is in fact a rabbit. Where the story of Herman starts I honestly don’t remember. I have this feeling that somewhere in the beginning of my marriage, I acquired him and he became my traveling companion. My wife might have bought him for me or we bought him together, but like I said, I’m not really sure. His moniker is just as much a mystery, lost in time and long ago memories. Continue reading Herman the Traveling Teddy Rabbit?

Nosing into the past…

I spent years on a tin can. (That’s Navy talk for a small warship). The USS Tattnall (DDG-19) and the USS Stark (FFG-31) to be exact. When I left, my sea counter was just 28 days shy of being at the 4 year mark (that’s the counter that is used for when you are attached to sea duty).

USS Stark (FFG-31)
USS Stark (FFG-31)
USS Tattnall (DDG-19)
USS Tattnall (DDG-19)

So, needless to say, I spent a lot of time aboard those Naval Warships.

And in that time, my uniforms took on a smell that was.. well.. navy? (I don’t know how else to describe it)

And what does navy smell like, you ask?

DFM. Continue reading Nosing into the past…