This day in 1991 I went to basic training (boot camp) at a Naval Base in San Diego, CA. I remember leaving my mom at the bus station to head to the MEPS station in Montgomery, Al. I’ll never forget that first week (we called them P-days). We went an entire week with little to no sleep. I can still remember the exhaustion I felt. Marching in the hot sun, getting all of my hair cutoff, being yelled at, taking a shower with other men, and having my personal identity stripped down to nothingness. Today has me reflecting on my very brief military career.
My favorite part of that journey was where I would end up (I went to different Naval bases)…aboard a Trident ballistic submarine (USS Michigan SSBN-727, blue crew). I was a Navigation Electronics Technician (Nav ET). My job was to tell the nuclear warheads and the actual boat where it was located relative to its prospective target. I have alot of sea stories.
The most memorable one is when I received my dolphins (April 1993). The receiving of one’s dolphins was a major rite of passage in Submarine life. I was what they called a hot runner. I would receive my dolphins around what was called half-way nite on my first patrol.
I miss going through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and preparing to submerge or dive into the Pacific Ocean (Dive! Dive!). I miss when we would surface in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and have steel-beach parties on the back of the submarine…with no land for hundreds and hundreds miles. We’d swim in the middle of the ocean. An awesome experience. I wonder where the rest of the guys are.