Sea Story 6

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Yeah, we completed our trip to Denny’s.

 

Graduated from boot camp, enlisted naval personnel and went to what is known as “A” School. This is a technical school that sailors attend to learn about their
jobs or “rates” in the Navy. For me, I went in as an Information Systems Technician, which deals with military networking, communication, and general IT and
computer support. It’s a broad discipline containing various aspects of networking and computer skills.

IT “A” school is located down at sunny Pensacola, FL. right at the east end of the southern bible belt and just miles from the border of Alabama, making it a very
unique location for training and travel. There’s two sides to the base:

NAS Pensacola = Naval Air Station Pensacola. This base is absolutely beautiful. It’s quite a large base, and it is where all of the aircrew and pilots go to
train. The base is well maintained, full of amenities, full of beautiful architecture and nature, and the noble might of the US Navy shines brightly here.
It’s definitely the place to be.

Corry Station = Also known as the Center for Information Dominance, this base looks more like a prison than a place of learning. The compounds (also known as
SCIFs- Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities) are gated and barb-wired. The base is dated and construction seems to always be taking place. It’s sh*t.

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Sea Stories V – High School Sweethearts and Best Friends

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I made it to my bed (or rack, as it was now called) the night of the Moment of Truth. My division was sleep-deprived for 49 long hours. I’m pretty sure I saw the utensils at the galley swing-dancing in front of me; that’s how tired and cracked I was. In the 49 hours I had been at Great Lakes Recruit Training Command, my division got off those coach buses in the middle of the night, we spent hours getting our gear issued, getting our hair buzzed off, and going through hours of paperwork. On top of that, we ate 5 times at the galley, we spent time cleaning the head, (bathroom) we spent time stenciling our gear, and we received initial medical checkups. It was due time for sleep. The recruit division commanders were giving us 8 full hours of sleep, and our new temporary home was at the USS Red Rover. (It’s not actually a ship. It’s just a building named after one). Lying face up in my rack, I thought about my last day, right before the Navy.

 

I wanted to cry for her to see, but I didn’t as well. It was strange.

 

It was only that evening we were watching Silver Linings Playbook. We cuddled and hugged each other until it was time to leave. We didn’t watch Ant Man with her parents that night, either.

It was only that afternoon we were sitting on the balcony of her house, reading some book about palm reading. I didn’t agree with her choices of what I was in a hand. It was only that morning we went out for breakfast, and we had one of our last meals together. At least the last one I spent taking her out. We switched cars to her driving after breakfast. I felt pretty happy in her arms.

“I love you.” She said back to me, parking the car in my driveway. “I shouldn’t say that, but I don’t know any other love like you. I wish we had more time, too.”

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Sea Stories IV – Moment of Truth

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(This is the first grilling you’ll receive; on top of the weight of your disappointed parents, you have been sleep deprived for the past 36 hours.)

Getting denied head privileges by the Filipino Chief was my first taste of what was to come in the next few months. I was expecting some Full Metal Jacket type things, and I was getting a similar result.

The next couple of hours involved the new recruits going through gear issue. Everything that every recruit brings is put in a 1×2 box: this includes your phone, your wallet, any civilian clothes, and just anything that a recruit brings. Everything that made you who you are, as an individual, is taken and shipped back home. After exchanging personal items, I went with the rest of the recruits to get issued our basic uniforms and toiletry items.

There are 3 times in boot camp where you are issued gear. The first one includes very basic things:

x2 set of PT gear (work out clothes)

x7 white socks

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Nail Clippers

Sneakers (nicknamed “go fasters”)

Gillette Fusion Proglide 5

(Some other sh*t, there’s a lot of stuff)

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Sea Stories II – Paperwork for Days

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My fellow shipmates and I departed from the MEPS, or military entrance processing station feeling quite valiant, dare I say honorable. The only thing we truly did that day was sign some paperwork, then it was off to the buses for basic training.

Let me rephrase that: the only thing we did that day was sign paperwork. As in, from 0600 to 1500 we did nothing but sign paperwork. Who knew that the MEPS was so similar to the DMV.

Despite all the metaphorical papercuts, our family and friends were waiting outside the buses, cheering us on. I felt a sense of pride that I was becoming something more than myself, although that pride was not even close to being earned yet. My mom was recording the entire walk from the building to the bus on her iPad. Filipinos like to record everything.

And then I dropped my paperwork all over the pavement. I looked like a complete fool in front of everyone’s families, but I quickly scooped it up, and acted as if nothing happened.

I played myself.

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