Life was rocking along just fine we thought until I received a draft notice in the mail saying my number was up and for me to go into the military. We never thought I would have to go into the service because of that terrible wreck I was in just a few short years ago. This was during the Viet Nam crises and since we were married I did not want to go into the service but what choice did I have, I went down to have my induction physical down town where they had us doing all kinds of test in a group setting when that asked us to squat down I could only squat about half way so the doctor asked me what was wrong I explained to him about my wreck and that I have trouble squatting. He told me to go to my family doctor that had treated me when I had my wreck and that if he said I was not fit then I would not have to go into the service. I made an appointment to see my doctor and the first thing he asked me was how my knees and ankles were. They took x-rays of my ankles and then I got up on the examination table and the doctor bent my knees back and forth, he went in and looked at my x-rays then came out and told me that they looked like the had never been broken gave me a clean bill of health and sent me on my way.
Charlotte and I knew that I would probably not be able to handle the Army and I did not even thank about the Air Force at this time plus I did not have a high school diploma which would have helped. I went to the Navy recruiter and told him I wanted to join the Navy, he gave me some paper work to fill out and when I had finished filling it out I gave it to him, he looked at it and told me that I was to far in debt and that they would not take me because they would probably end up giving me a hardship discharge? I told him that the Army was about to take me any way it did not matter what kind of financial shape I was in. He came back saying that they had a two-year program that was new and that I could take that option if I would like, I said sign me up.
Well I was told that I had 120 days before I would need to leave for the Navy, so that was what I told the bakery where I work at, a month later I was shipped out to San Diego for boot camp which at that time was ten weeks long.
I left Charlotte crying at the Gray hound bus station and left for Albuquerque New Mexico where I spent the night with some other guys headed for boot camp. The next day we loaded on a plane and flew to I thank was Las Angles than we were loaded on a helicopter for a ride to some military base, I have no idea which one it was then we were put on a military bus and was taken to San Diego Naval Station for boot camp. We got their around midnight and was sent to a barracks for some sleep and was woken around 05:00.
As a group we were then taken to a building to receive our uniforms, A man would look you over and say this looks like your size and started throwing cloths your way, one set of button up dress blues, three sets of zip up blues, four sets of dress whites, four white round hats, four blue ball caps, four sets of dungarees pants and shirts, four pairs of boxer short underwear, four pairs socks black, then he would ask what size shoe you wore and he would give you one pair dress shoes and one pair work shoes. We were thin given stencils and was told to stencil all of our clothes, we were told where the stencil would be and just how the stencil would look with our last name and service number. After learning how to fold each item of clothing just right and stuffing them into a duffel bag we were marched to our assigned barracks that we would be the remainder of boot camp.
At 05:00 we were up and out marching to breakfast and then out to the exercise field, later that morning we had to go get a haircut and I do mean haircut, they took it all off. For the next ten weeks we practiced for graduation day and we learned a lot of discipline. After I graduated I got to come home for a week before shipping out to a LSD “Landing Ship Dock” number 35. The reason Charlotte and I decided for me to join the Navy so that I would not go to Viet Nam, well you guessed it my first orders was to Da Nang Vet Nam, that is where my ship was close to at the time.
- Starting Married Life @ 19 (harbin77.wordpress.com)