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:
From that age I admired a man in uniform. I loved these pictures of my brothers in uniform:
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:
She loved me in my Sailor suit, do I have a great lady or what?
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.