Sea Story 7

 

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Italian protesters outside the Naval Base Sigonella gate. Aerial view broadcasted on the guard tower’s TV.

Every year for the reserves, naval personnel has to go on what is known as an AT, or annual training. These trips can last for as little as two weeks to almost a full year. Either way, it’s good work and it keeps service members updated on their roles in the military.

I’m part of a reserve unit known as Naval Support Activity Naples, Detachment 106 Chicago. As an Information Systems Technician, my main role over at NSA Naples is to manage network systems and to operate general computer equipment wherever necessary. NSA Naples is not based in Florida, but it is based in Naples, Italy. If you can guess, every year I get to go to Italy to perform my AT. The work is a lot of fun and I get a lot of leave time to explore the city and Italy as a whole. More on that later. This last summer was my first year at Naples, so it was a unique experience to say the least.

The first day I arrived there, I reported to N6, also known as Information Systems. The shop was 100% government contractors, and all of them were pretty damn chill. The work was cake as well; I would go and DRMO equipment (basically take them apart and recycle them) and log them in a excel spreadsheet. It’s a bit below my ability level, but I’m not complaining. I’m getting paid for this.

A few days go by of doing that, and we are notified that in a few weeks, the base will be inspected by other government agencies to look for network vulnerabilities. In preparation for this inspection, the government contractors and I would do an in-house inspection to make sure that we don’t fail the big inspection. Did I mention that we’re doing an inspection?

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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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