A Corpsman’s Story: Part 1

It was the Spring of 1986.

The third-class petty officer whispered in my ear nothing that should have convinced me to join.

I assumed that wearing a uniform would be something cool.

Being the screwup that I was, I should have known better.

I didn’t listen to the butterflies in my stomach.

I signed on the dotted line. It actually wasn’t dotted, but solid.

My visit to the recruitment center was a mere memory.

The days were hot and there were plenty of punk bands to see at the Metro.

The herb was smoked, the spirits were consumed and the sex was vacant.

After a show we met the band members. They were called Fudge Tunnel.

Music was important to me.

Mat and I slept on the floor that night.

Next night we met some more friends of his.

I tried to share spit with the ugly punk girl.

They all thought I was crazy for joining the Navy.

Summer finally came and then came the car.

The recruitment officer with 20 years under his belt met me at the door.

I had been staying at my grandmother’s house.

We drove off. Our destination was downtown.

In the front seat was a stout Mexican kid.

Next to me, I don’t remember.

The building was large where they processed us, fed us and sent us to sleep.

I met some black kids and I got along with them OK.

Why did it matter that they were black? I don’t know.

Rise and shine sweethearts, it’s time to go.

Ride to O’hare airport—flight to San Diego.

Bused to Naval base.

Processed again. It was early morning and the air was cool.

I liked how it felt.

Another sailor recruit was stomping around in dungarees, boondockers and white cap. He marched, pivoted 90º every time he turned and marched again.

He carried a mail bag over his shoulder. I was mesmerized.

Would I march like that?

Line after line we went—get this, get that.

Finally, head shaved and duffel bag in tow, the fun began.

Were told the rules and taken to our bunks.

Met a few kids—Billy and Bradley.

I didn’t know that we would become the THREE AMIGOS.

To be continued…

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