My Search for the missing #PixieDust-- Week 5 -- I Thought I Was Having A Nightmare! Forgot I Wasn't At Home!

in #ctp3 months ago

PixieDust Search Week 5.png

This is my last post for the Hunt for the missing #pixiedust. I thought that I'd share the story of the first morning I woke up in Navy Bootcamp. They didn't care that banging on metal garbage can lids isn't a nice way to wake people up. How Rude! LOL

Oh, and I joined the Navy partially on a dare because someone laughed at me and said I'd never make it through bootcamp. I wished for a very long while that they hadn't thrown that gauntlet. Until then I was just thinking about doing it.

The adventure and journey down to Bootcamp started in Milwaukee, WI on January 4th, 1982. That was the day we were supposed to be going to Orlando, FL. However, there was a horrible snowstorm the night before and a good part of that day. My parents had driven me up the night before and spent the night with me to say goodbye and spend the time together. The next morning it took them 2 hours to get home. That drive from downtown Milwaukee to where they live is about an hour in normal conditions. Anyway, all flights in and out of Milwaukee were cancelled which meant those of us who were going to be starting Boot camp that day would be spending the day in the hotel instead.

The next morning we were woken up by the hotel staff to check out, have breakfast, get our belongings and get on the bus to the place where we would be processed in and put on another bus to the airport to get on a plane to take us to Florida. It was a super long day filled with checkups and paperwork and a just a flurry of activity.

We didn't get to the Recruit Training Command in Orlando till very late at night on the 5th of January. We were all pretty exhausted and disoriented. I swear they do that on purpose. The day started in the dark in Milwaukee and ended in the dark in Orlando, FL. When we finally did get to the barracks which would be our "home" for the next 12 weeks we got in yet another line there to get our bed sheets.

Of course, having never made a bed with out a fitted bottom sheet I was confused when they handed me two flat sheets. Had to ask why one of them didn't have elastic around the corners. They didn't answer me nicely. Big surprise. I put the sheets on the wafer thin mattress the best that I could and laid my head on the pillow and fell asleep.

And then.... I had no idea what time it was but I swore I had just fallen asleep. I forgot where I was and was being woken up by the sound of people banging on metal garbage cans. It had just gotten real.
And so began the journey that would eventually get me onto the ship and missing a man overboard drill and getting the visit with the captain. But first this! And all I could think of was What The Hell have I gotten myself into?

I had just turned twenty years old a couple of months before that and had never been away from home except for sleepovers at friends' houses or a couple of Girl Scout overnights. None of that prepared me for what I was about to experience. Couldn't possibly. But I wouldn't change that for the world. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life and the best thing at that time that I had done for myself.

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I can totally relate to this story. I went to Orlando for basic in Aug. 1984, I remember the reality check of getting off the bus and being immediately yelled at. It was a very had time and I think you grow as a person by making it through to the end.

Thanks, Mike! I was wondering where you went for basic. It had to be hot as hell down there at that time of the year. In August of 84 I was on the USS Samuel Gompers on my first and only WestPac. Good times! I became a shellback right around then, I think Everyone is at Great Lakes now. That's the only one left. What was your first duty station after bootcamp?

Yes it was really hot, there were flags that let them know how hard they can work us over outside. My first duty station was NAS Oceana in Va. Beach I was in an F-14 squadron attached to the USS Forrestal. I did a North Atlantic mini cruise and a Med. cruise while I was in. I never crossed the equator but did cross the Arctic Circle so I am a Blue Nose but not a Shellback.

So, did they have a Blue Nose ceremony for crossing the Arctic Circle or hazing? My first duty station was shore duty. They sent me to the Naval Submarine Base in Bangor, WA. I was there when they brought the USS Ohio over to their new home port which was the Sub base. It was kind of a big deal because it was a nuclear sub. The first Trident Class Submarine.

By that time they had stopped with the hazing and we didn't do any ceremony. We did get a really nice certificate that I still have framed.

Oh, Okay! Yeah, I don't have any idea where any of my stuff is like that. None of my uniforms either. I have my good conduct medal and I think I have my sea service ribbon and that's it. It's a shame because when I was in the Active Reserve I managed to make 3rd Class PO. SK3 I was kind of proud of that.
Enjoy your day and thanks for commenting! 😀



Made in Canva

@lisamgentile1961
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It's pretty funny, I got off of active duty as an AK3 and found out right after that I would have been second class. We nearly had the same rate only difference I was airdale and you were sea service.

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Great story of your life that you shared here Lisa, the shaping of the person that you became I am sure, and now I also know that you can't resist a challenge lol.

Thanks Erik! Yes, that could get me into trouble sometimes. That inability to resist a challenge. Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. LOL

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