You’re in The Navy Now~Part 2

31 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Back home in Albuquerque, I discovered Boot Camp, the “Summer Cruise” I had just endured was actually going to be credited to my 1956 record, and I was now eligible to go for my 1957 “Summer Cruise” if I so elected.  Since I f1elt like having to go to boot camp had cheated me out of a cruise on a “real ship,” and I was bored with those reserve meetings, I ask my company commander for orders to go on a “real summer cruise” and he reluctantly agreed.  This time I was assigned to the destroyer USS Gurke (DD-783) out of San Diego.

At first sight, tied up alongside the pier, I thought the Gurke was a small ship, but it didn’t take me long to find out that it was plenty big enough, especially, when it came to swabbing decks and painting bulkheads.  The 2regular Navy sailors looked down on us Reserve pukes, so it was no big revelation to learn that was why we got so many of the grunt jobs.

The ship’s regular routine while I was onboard, was five days of maneuvers training at sea and back to port for the weekend.  I was surprised to find that this landlubber got his “sea legs” right away and didn’t get seasick like many of the other reservists, but I actually enjoyed the rolling/pitching motion of the ship.  That is, until on liberty that first weekend, while walking through San Diego, the streets were 3rolling/pitching like the ship had been doing all week.  Then, when I stopped in a tattoo parlor with a friend, and almost lost my dinner because of the sights/smells and the moving room.

I discovered that in the Navy, the smaller the ship the better the food, because there are fewer men to cook for.  The food on the Gurke was great, and I looked forward to every meal.  However, that wasn’t the case with some of the other reservists.  I thought we were lucky during this cruise, because the areas of the ocean we did our maneuvers in were 4relatively calm most of the time.  But, there were others who were sea sick from the moment we left the dock, and never did get over it until they were back on dry land.

After the two-week cruise on the USS Gurke, it was back to Albuquerque and those boring monthly reserve meetings, where I finally realized I was just going to have to bite the bullet and get this Navy thing over with.  The contract I had signed up for was two years of active service and four years of reserve service.  So I went to my company commander and requested orders for active service.  He said NO!  What was this?  Weren’t we in the same Navy?  Then I realized he probably got points or something, for each person in his unit.  But, I was determined, and went several levels over his head, and wrote to the Commandant of what was then the 11th Naval District, and requested active service.  Would you believe, I had my orders for active service within two weeks, and boy, was my company commander mad!  However, to get this “trouble maker” out of his district, the Commandant had cut my orders to report to the Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Center in Illinois, outside Chicago.  The next thing I knew, I was on a train headed East.


—–To Be Continued—–


One Response to “You’re in The Navy Now~Part 2”

  1. oldthingsrnew July 31, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    This was fun! You sure were determined.


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