Monday, June 27, 2022
June 27, 2022

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Everybody Has a Story: The bad and beautiful of being in the Navy

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The U.S. Navy taught me the bad and the beautiful.

I was a high school junior in Long Beach, Calif., when I enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1952.

In 1956 the draft board was still looking at prospects for the Korean War, even though it ended in 1953. I went on active duty to escape the draft. The Navy assigned me to Radio School in San Diego.

And now began the bad. Radio School drummed Morse Code into my head day and night for six months. I heard it in my head nonstop. I hated it but I worked hard to qualify because I thought that anyone who flunks a Class A school would receive only disgusting dead-end jobs thereafter.

I finally graduated and was assigned to the Naval Air Station Moffett Field on San Francisco Bay. And now the beautiful began. This station did not use radio. All communication was via teletype. I never heard Morse Code again and I soon forgot it.

During the next two years, I grew up and matured. Now I craved knowledge. I wanted to study and learn and go to college. My duty station was close to San Jose and I discovered that San Jose State College was the main training ground for elementary school teachers in California during the 1950s. I was smart enough to know that most elementary teachers are young ladies.

So when the Navy released me, I enrolled at San Jose State College. The campus was packed with lovely young ladies going about their college business. I surveyed them all and carefully chose the very best one. She is still with me today, after 62 years of a wonderful marriage!

That is how the U.S. Navy went from being bad to becoming beautiful.


Everybody Has a Story welcomes nonfiction contributions, 1,000 words maximum, and relevant photographs. Send to: neighbors@columbian.com or P.O. Box 180, Vancouver WA, 98666. Call “Everybody Has an Editor” Scott Hewitt, 360-735-4525, with questions.

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