I don’t know if being a preacher’s son had anything to do with my restlessness or not. I do know my restlessness did rub off on Sherry. I have always considered life an adventure I think. WE (me mostly) have made a lot of decisions that may look wild or adventurous to others, but to me, they were natural.
(It is a fact, every sailor with a special girl, wants a great picture to look at and ‘lust’ for, on a cruise, this ONE was mine. She was inside my locker, every time I opened it, there she was!)
I get a lot of comments about our lives being so exciting, but most lives are exciting when you take it in context.
I will never forget Les, one great guy (we met him and his wife Gail in Gitmo), A friend in MN. We were headed thru North (or South) Dakota and stopped to visit a few minutes. My friend said, “Get ready for the most boring drive of your life.”
I love Les, but he did not know that every drive is an adventure to me. I loved the Dakotas.
I have for years tried to analyze myself, I came to the conclusion ‘I want to do too many things’, and was light headed enough to try them. (I wish I had wanted to be a surgeon).
Once an Aircraft carrier leaves Norfolk for the Mediterranean, it never ties up at a pier, we always used boats to ferry us ashore. (This is Messina, Sicilia. These kids were cute.)
The Navy wants men to re-enlist. They need ‘Lifers’(career men). If they can keep you in, they do not have to train a man to take your place, so they offer incentives. For a first re-enlistment, (which mine was, since the others were ‘enlistments’) they allow you to pick your duty station. I could have picked Japan, Hawaii, Thailand,Rhode Island Spain, France, etc. So once I decided to re-enlist I had the candy store of plum assignments to pick from.
(Malta, and more cute kids)
And that was a good laugh for my division officer and Skipper, “Guantanamo Bay? You must be kidding, that is the pits, no one picks GITMO, you get sent there for punishment! You are skipping Hawaii?”
I must have answered that question 20 times, “YOU SURE?”
I was sure, and it was one of the best decisions on my life. I explained to the ‘Old Man’. “Sir, GITMO is SEA DUTY. ADD that to the time on the Indy and I will have enough sea time to possibly retire without leaving my family again.
“I can get you Gitmo, no problem, but you do realize your family will not accompany you down. There is a waiting period, it can be up to 6 months.” I did understand that.
(Me at work on the Indy)
I don’t pride myself in being ‘odd’, but when I am odd there is usually a reason for it.
I had received 2 promotions on the Indy. I was leaving as a Second Class Petty officer.
So it was just like the movies you see. I Walked to the Quarter deck with my orders and Seabag. I presented the orders to the Officer of the deck. Saluted him and then I saluted the Ships Flag for the last time and walked down the gangway.
The USN paid to have the Trailer towed to our home of record. Sherry and the boys would await my letter saying we have a house. After they were settled took me to Norfolk where I caught my plane to GITMO. One last good bye if my calculations were good.
If I had taken Hawaii, I am sure we would have loved it, but after 4 years in the sun and fun, I would have been sent back aboard another ship. I loved shipboard life, but not enough to leave Sherry UNLESS IT WAS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
The 1970 models were coming out when I flew to GITMO!