|One Big Ship! USS Abraham Lincoln http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Abraham_Lincoln_%28CVN-72%29|
What Was I Thinking?
Have you ever had someone tell you that you couldn't do something, and then you did that something that they told you you couldn't do? Well, that's how I got to be a sailor! Now, don't get me wrong, this wasn't the complete determining factor, but it helped to push my decision. "Why navy," you ask? Well, I have no idea! I originally signed up for the air force (my dad had been in the air force, so maybe that would have been a better fit than the navy), and when I decided that I wanted to enjoy the summer right after graduating from high school instead of going to boot camp, I gave up the opportunity to have a job that may have potentially led me to working for NASA! So, I decided to ditch the air force and go navy. Well, you live and you learn, and you end up working with a bunch of guys in the bottom of the USS Abraham Lincoln, standing boring and tiresome watches, while at the same time experiencing some pretty amazing adventures and destinations!
Unfortunately, I don't know where my photos are from when I was on the ship. They may be at my parent's house in their computer files, so, for now, I have to use photos from the internet :( I will try to post them as I find them!
|CVN 72 http://www.motortrend.com/features/112_0105_ac/photo_13.html|
I went to navy boot camp in March 2005, 10 months after graduating from high school. I was 19, and very naive! Looking back, I feel like I was pretty sheltered. Don't get me wrong, my parents did a great job of raising me and my 2 brothers, but I grew up oblivious to the reality of what I was to experience at boot camp and later on the Stinkin' Lincoln, or the Devil's Flag Ship (as I heard others call the huge aircraft carrier that I would later choose to be stationed on. I'll talk more about my time on the USS Abraham Lincoln later, but this time around, I'll just be talking about my time at boot camp). I knew I was naive, especially looking back, knowing what I know now; close to 9 years later. I was miserable at boot camp! Was it hard physically? No. Emotionally? Oh yeah! I can honestly say that I grew up during those 3 months at boot camp, and the 3 months following, while I attended Machinist's Mate A School, both of which were in Great Lakes, Illinois.
My brain has decided to shelter me from the majority of what I experienced at boot camp, because it was such a traumatic experience! I know that it was either really late at night or really early in the morning in March 2005 when I arrived off the bus at boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois. All of us new arrivals had to change out of our civilian clothing into smurfs, or blue navy sweats, from almost the moment we got there. Shortly after that we went through a mandatory urinalysis. I was so nervous about having to pee in front of others, especially the mean woman who was doing the urinalysis for the women. I had to walk around the room visiting the drinking fountain every time I passed it, until I could finally go to the bathroom. I remember going through a line with medical personal who were wearing hoods who, as you walk down the line, vaccinated you as you went along. I remember getting what we called the peanut butter shot in our behinds, and recall dumbfoundly looking around the room at the other medical beds where other recruits had their rear ends sticking up ready for the shot!
I remember bits and pieces of being in Ship's Staff (a group of selected recruits who stood watches and had jobs outside of the berthing (sleeping compartment) and watch standing, and then writing the watch bill for Ship's Staff. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watches are kind of like short jobs. Watch standing involved roaming p-ways (passageways, or hallways) checking on temperatures and making sure that no one was out and about at 2 o'clock in the morning! It also involved colors (raising the flag in the morning or lowering the flag at night), greeting those who entered the building (often just the officer in the morning, while at boot camp. This always had me stumbling over my words, and made me want to throw up). Thankfully, but maybe not so much, I soon was moved to the position of watch bill writer. As watch bill writer, I was able to keep myself off the watch bill, which made some people complain. One of the RDC (recruit division commanders) told me that I shouldn't worry about the complainers, because I was doing more work than they were. I still felt guilty though, and ended up putting myself on the bill more often. Most of the other recruits stood watch strictly inside the berthing, while Ship's Staff stood watch everywhere else, and did other jobs, like cleaning the heads (bathrooms) outside of the berthing.
|Fire Fighting www.usmilitary.about.com|
|Boot Camp Graduation http://mybossier.blogspot.com/2010/04/great-lakes-boot-camp-graduation-april.html|
After Boot Camp Graduation
My parents and grandma were able to make it to my boot camp graduation, and I remember being so happy, relieved, and quite a bit traumatized when we were allowed to finally meet up with family. My grandma couldn't stay for long, but my parents stayed for a few days. We spent a few hours catching up, and then I had to check into my "ship" (or next base, or living place) at Machinist Mate A-school "across the street" (which was literally across the street) from boot camp. Once I got through the rest of Friday's obligations, I was released for the weekend. Unfortunately, because of the standing that all new sailors start with at A-school, I had to wear my uniform the entire weekend. My parents took me out to dinner that night, sleep in a hotel (and the first bed that I'd slept in for the past 2 months that wasn't a bunk), and visit the botanical gardens the next day. My parents and I ended that day with a trip to the NEX (the Navy Exchange) store, where we bought a few items that would help me adjust a little better. They got me signed up for a cell phone, so I could better keep in touch. I was still pretty traumatized after the past 2 months of being away from home, and I couldn't help, even at 19 years old old, to cry when my parents had to head to the airport.