We continued to tourist on the weekends. Family members came up to tour the Capitol with us and go to Mt. Vernon. We made the National Zoo. It also is a Smithsonian. I do not remember how many of the Museums we did visit. I understand there are a total of 37, but we did not see that many.
Not being familiar with sub-ways, we did not try a ride on this stay in DC. Little did we suspect that we would get orders back to DC. Later in life.
Towards the end of school everyone begins to wonder where they next duty station will be. We knew none of us would be stationed together. Our job as repairmen was a singular job with no back up. That really puts the pressure on a guy. Viet Nam was growing, and we knew some of the guys were headed to different commands there. the other jobs were mostly on Aircraft carriers.
During the time we were being processed and selected for repairmen, clearances were being checked. During the process I was told some DIA men were at the school to talk to me. These spooks can make you nervous. No smiles or hand shakes. “We have a couple questions. Was there a reason your father changed his name?”
“Not that I know of, I didn’t know he had?”
“It is a small thing, his early records show him as Frank Benjamin Darnell, he now goes by Benjamin Franklin.”
“Oh that, he likes the sound of Benjamin Franklin better, that isn’t a crime is it?”
“No, we are just checking, one other small detail, you listed Junior Darnell as a brother in Shelby, NC. We cannot find a Junior Darnell in Shelby, we do find a B.F. Jr..”
Now comes another southern problem, no one tells you your brother and sisters real names. I thought his name was Junior, that is what we called him! “Yes sir, as you know that is my daddy’s name, but I was raised to call him Junior, I didn’t know that would upset anyone.”
They looked at me like I was a simpleton, and shook their heads, “And we are going to clear you for the highest level of clearance, “Top Secret with an SI accreditation.” Then they both smiled and said, “Darnell you look good, we just wanted to chat.” I was afraid to appear more ignorant and ask what the “SI” was, later I found out that was ‘Sensitive Information’.
On the same line of thinking. My friend Buddy Sansbury was very upset in the first grade, the teacher wanted to change his name from Buddy to Richard. He had answered to Buddy all his life. He learned his name in the first grade.
When the orders came in I drew the USS Independence CVA-62, an aircraft carrier out of Norfolk. At least I knew where Norfolk was.
So, again we loaded our gear up in the car and headed to North Carolina, then Norfolk. We were set. Hey, we own a 42x8 house trailer.
If you don't have a sense of humor ...
you probably don't have any sense at all.
This a 1906 Mason Car, for some reason I want to say a Mason Jar.