In the Navy – We Want You as a New Recruit
(a few weeks before graduation 1969)
It was hard to believe it was really almost here. For 12 years I had been working to graduate. Suddenly is was within grasp. A little hard to believe, but at the same time a reality.
To celebrate I had been making plans for the ultimate party. Woodstock. I didn’t know how I was going to pull it off. I knew my parents would never give me any money to go to an event like that, but I figured if there was a will there was a way and my will was making big plans.
As I walked down the hall Phillip hollered out at me. “Webster, Hold Up”. I stopped and waited. He caught up.
“What are you doing for lunch?”
“No plans.” I responded.
“I got a guy I want you to meet. He’s a recruiter at the post office downtown. Been in the Navy forever and you have to hear what he has to say.”
I agreed to lunch, but the last thing on my mind was joining the Navy. I was trying to decide between majoring in journalism at Texas Tech or University of Texas . . . not shipping out.
The recruiter was a fast talker. He was making promises faster than we could take them in, but one thing we kept hearing over and over was the word “buddy” and how if we went in on the “buddy” plan we would be together through basic training, through advanced training and in all probability be assigned to the same ship where we could see the world as “buddies”.
Then the recruiter started talking about how women loved men in uniform and how sailors were known to have women attracted to them like magnets. He was such a liar, but Phillip and I were sitting there like the two small town kids we were just awed by this man who had seen the world and the exotic experiences he was relating one after the other.
“Webster, if we go in together we can see the world together. And we’ll get more (the word Phillip used for sex) than we can shake a stick at.”
That did it. I knew Phillip had more than his share of sexual encounters in high school, but I was still a virgin. I had lied about a few, but when that remark came out of his mouth I grabbed the pen and without even talking to my parents or anyone else committed myself to six years of service to Uncle Sam.
We walked out of the recruiters office and I immediately began questioning what I had done. Goodbye Woodstock. Goodbye Texas Tech (or UT). Goodbye to every dream I had ever made.
But then, the wanderin’ star in me was excited by the new dreams the recruiter had created. Phillip and I gave each other a hug. It seemed like the thing two buddies should do. Now the really hard part was going to be to explain this to my parents
We were soon processed and put through physical exams and ordered to report under the “buddy” program to the United States Naval Training Center in San Diego California in early July.
- The Graduate was Hot! KOMA was King!
- In the Navy – We Want You as a New Recruit <- You are Here
- Basic Training – First Abandonment
- To the Girl Who Loved Me
- A Cantina in Mexico – Second Abandonment
- Vanished In Tijuana – Fear and Panic
- Phillip Needs Help – We Can’t Tell the Truth
- Thanksgiving Day – A Time for Healing
- The Captain’s Mast of Seaman Apprentice Webster
- Conclusion – Too Much Living to Do