Friday, April 11, 2014

Now what? Why not try the Navy?


Remember what I said? “I admired anyone who knew what they wanted at an early age.”  Well I knew what I wanted, it just took me longer to get there.  Look at the military bearing of this kid:

shirl jackieNew Folder (2) 002

From that age I admired a man in uniform. I loved these pictures of my brothers in uniform:

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I remember thinking they were really in the moon.

Without a lot of thinking, I dropped by the Navy recruiter’s office. I think it was in December.

Completely unprepared for the first question, “What do you want?”  He, meaning what job was I looking for.

“A uniform.”  Was my exact answer.

“Are you ready to take some tests, we have a desk open right now.”

“I have nothing better to do, I am ready.”

After the tests. “I can get you a 12 week civilian school with IBM in DC, after a short 6 week school at Great Lakes. Of course we cannot give you rank for rank from the USAF, you will have to start at the bottom, E-3.”

“I always seem to start there, I am used to that. I need to wait until after Christmas, so I can tell the wife and kids and be with them Christmas.”

After looking at a calendar he said, “How about Dec. 27th? That will be after Christmas.”


“That is about a week  come in before then and we will get you sworn in, good to have you aboard. You are going to like us better than the Corps or that flying Club.”


Sherry knew I had been thinking about going back into service. Whether she was thinking now, I do not know. But that evening I braced myself for an argument or tongue lashing, I got neither. “That is okay,” she said, “But remember I do not do uniforms. Where are we going?”


“I don’t know. He said I would go to Great Lakes for 6 weeks then to Washington to a civilian school, 12 weeks with IBM, then my assignment would be up to the Navy.  But I first have to report into Norfolk Navy Base for some orientation, uniforms and await orders to Great Lakes.”

The boys seemed excited, it would be an adventure.  Thank goodness it would be my last military change.


Christmas came and went, and on December 27, 1967, I became Seaman Darnell (E-3) low guy on the totem pole again.


I fell in love with the USN because of Christmas decorations on USN ships. If you have never seen ships decorated, you would be amazed.


Here I am on my first trip home to Happy Valley in my winter uniform:

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She loved me in my Sailor suit, do I have a great lady or what?

Nite Shipslog


I wasn’t really worried about starting at the bottom, it was a challenge, I knew I would soon advance.



The 1968’s had already came out. I liked the Firebird.


Glenda said...

wow, did not know the USN decorated ships for Christmas, amazing. Beautifuln pics!

Rick Watson said...

I have a picture of me in front of an old Chevy almost just like the one here. I was about four years old at the time. I love that picture.

Paula said...

The ships must look beautiful decorated. I always thought Navy uniforms look nice. I liked the white shorts my mama sewed for me from my brother's uniform after he got out of service. I wonder if he should have turned them in?

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Jack you are truly a jack of all trades. I'm truly astounded at all you have done and still so young too.
Your lady is very special. I don't know I could have made all those changes and moves as easily as she did.

betty said...

I never saw a military ship decorated with lights; the pictures were impressive of them; must be gorgeous to see in person.

Sherry's a great lady for her willingness and acceptance when you told her about joining the Navy. I'm not sure I would have been that kind about it.



LOVE the pictures of the ships all decked out in Christmas decorations. That is wonderful, indeed.

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» has always wished he had been able to serve in the Navy. They wouldn't take him when he tried to join because he is blind in his right eye...

He sees you have a photo of Iowa BB61. «Louis» got some photos of her in Richmond before she was towed to Long Beach where she is now a museum.

Chatty Crone said...

I realized that I read things backwards - here is when you decided to join the navy!

Rose said...

Everyone loves a man in a uniform! So handsome with a lot of meaning!

Mevely317 said...

Have to confess, the USN is my favorite branch. (Daddy's girl!)
I never realized they decorated the warships - WOW!

PS - I was a pretty naïve college freshman the Fall of '68, but thinking I'd sell my soul for a new Firebird. (Thank God, I wasn't offered the chance!)