Tag Archives: United States

You’re in the Navy Now~Part 1

24 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

No. 7 Blogger

No. 7 Blogger

1When I was a senior in high school my best friend Bud talked me into joining the U.S. Navy Reserve.  The idea behind this brilliant move was to get the attention of girls.  You see, we lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico where there were two U.S. Air Force bases and we had grown up seeing guys in Air Force uniforms everywhere we went.So, we figured, what better way to attract the attention of girls than to be able to drive up and down Central Avenue dressed up in those unusual Navy uniforms once a month.  Of course, once we joined up and got those uniforms, things didn’t actually turn out the way we planned.

Back then there was none of this “I don’t like this, I want out” business.  Once you 2signed up, you were in for the duration.  The worse thing was, by the time we got out of our evening meetings and got to the drive-in, most of the girls had already been picked up by some Air Force guy, or gone home to do their homework.

The first few monthly meetings were a real adjustment for me.  Each meeting 3started with us having to report to the reserve unit doctor for a series of shots.  We were inoculated against every disease known to man, so the Navy could send us anywhere in the world and we would be protected.  I couldn’t believe how many shots that entailed.

While we were still stinging from the shots, it was “All personnel report to the parade ground for close order 4drill.”  That was the “grinder” where they taught how to salute every officer we ever encountered, how to handle our M1 rifle, march in straight lines, all the while looking smart so our company commander would look good to any big shots during divisional presentations.

Each year all reservists were required to participate in a “Summer Cruise.”  That sounded like fun, until I discovered the Summer Cruise for all first time reservists was “Boot Camp” at the U.S. Naval Training Center in San Diego.  I don’t think the drill instructors were very happy to see us by the way they treated us, but I was glad to see reservists from other states there, and to know I wasn’t the only one having to go through all this degrading punishment.

Even though I had worked at various jobs since I was fourteen, nothing of those 5had prepared me for the challenges of boot camp.  We did learn some interesting things while at boot camp, like how to tie every knot the Navy had used since the beginning of time, and survival swimming, a must for use after the ship you are on is torpedoed at sea and sinks, and all you have left to make a float with is your trousers.

Then there was how to properly fight those scary shipboard compartment fires with nothing but water, and the one I disliked the most, the gas mask training.  6They have you put on a gas mask, walk you into a building full of tear gas, and let you stand there to see how effective the mask is.  Then, they tell you to remove your mask.  Of 7course, you hold your breath as long as you can, but you don’t think to close your eyes.  The next thing you know, your eyes are burning like crazy and you have to breath, and that’s when you get the full force of what that gas can do to a person.  Let me tell you, that episode made a real believer out of me, because that tear gas they use is really nasty stuff.

But, mostly it was a 24-hour test to see if you could keep up with marching 8everywhere we went, exercising with our rifles until we thought our arms would fall off, drill until we thought we would wear the soles off our shoes, clean the barrack until a bug wouldn’t dare show it’s face in the place, and learn how to wash our clothes by hand with a bar of Ivory soap.

Luckily it only lasted two weeks.  Then, when it was over, I actually felt cheated that the only ship I had been on through all that, was the USS Recruit (TDE-1), which turned out to be a giant “ship simulator” sitting in the middle of one of the training center parade grounds.


—–To Be Continued—–



14 Jul


 Judy Wills


 I have been an “exerciser” for many, many years of my life.  As a matter of fact, I began jogging more than three months before I shamed Fred into jogging with me. We’ve never stopped doing something in the way of exercise.

 So it came as no surprise to me to find an “aerobic dancing” class beginning shortly after we arrived in Heidelberg, West Germany.  One of the military wives was teaching the class.  I took the class and loved it!  The interest was so great that she wanted to have a partner to help teach – and she selected me.  I taught the remainder of the three years we were in Heidelberg.   This was our logo and color.

During that time, there was one lady in my class who always stood in the front row and to my right (I was facing away from the students).  As we conversed, I thought she had a speech impediment.  After we got to know each other a bit better, she told me that she had been born with some hearing loss.  She wasn’t totally deaf, but enough so that she couldn’t hear the way most words were sounded.  That explained her speech.  But she had hearing aids that helped her so much, and she could understand all the cues I shouted out in the class.

As interesting as all that is – to me anyway – that’s not the end of the story.  We returned stateside and began our life in Virginia.  Our oldest daughter had met her 2future husband while in high school in Heidelberg (his father was our American pastor), and he had returned to the States to attend college – where she was attending, of course.  They married a few years later.

One evening, around Thanksgiving time, I received a call from our son-in-law, saying that, on their way to see his parents in South Carolina, our daughter had fallen asleep at the wheel and they had crashed.  I was furious that he would only say that she was “in with the doctor” and wouldn’t give me any more details – like…..is she still alive???!!!

I asked if he wanted us to come and take them back home (they were only about an hour from their apartment).  He agreed.  He then said, “wait, here is the paramedic who will give you directions to the hospital.”  This young man came on the phone and gave me the directions – with the very same intonation that my aerobic student had!!  I knew at once that he had hearing loss, and not a speech impediment.  And, by God’s grace, I was able to understand every word he said – the first time!  No repeats.  God had prepared me, all those years ago, for that very moment, when I would need my wits about me, and to understand this young man’s instructions.

I could end the story there – that is the main thrust of it – but I want to tell you of God’s gracious hand in all this.  You see, when our daughter fell asleep, the car drifted, and our son-in-law looked up and screamed, which woke her, and she drastically over-corrected.  That caused the car to roll several times.  Amazingly, there were no other cars around them – just down the road a bit – no other cars involved in the crash.  There was an off-duty ambulance behind them that stopped, and the paramedics gave aid.  They could have rolled off a bridge and crashed onto the road below them – but they didn’t – they just rolled to a stop on an embankment.  While the car was totaled, our children only suffered a few cuts and bruises.

Our God is loving and faithful and gracious, indeed.

O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us…

Psalm 12:7


Hope For Our Country

4 Jul

My Take
DiVoran Lites

Happy Independence Day. Will you be having a cookout, going to a parade, going to the beach, setting off firecrackers, or sitting in the shade drinking lemonade? Author, Poet and ArtistMaybe all of the above?
I love our beautiful world and this country called America, which God has made. Some people may malign us, but at the same time others are doing everything in their power to come here for a new start. No red-blooded American is going to argue that we still have the greatest country in the world. Is it possible God had a hand in that?

I have to admit I am shocked when I hear some of the things politicians in this great country have done. Think of when they killed off the bison so the Indians would die out and when they deliberately infected Native Americans with smallpox so they could take their land.

It appalls me to learn more every day about how bad slavery was. Yet I personally met an African man who explained the scars carved in his cheeks by saying they were proof that he belonged to a tribe that had once captured other villages and sold them to become slaves. He and his wife were in America getting an education. If we focus on badness we will see it everywhere, not just here.
The Dust Bowl was a result of our leaders manipulating the mid-American grasslands until they were exhausted and turned to dust.

The Great Depression was influenced by the Dust Bowl and both came from foolish decisions by the money-mongers in the country, not by ordinary families.
I hear people talking as if they believe the present time is the worst in our history, but what I always wonder is whether those who experienced the disasters I’ve mentioned knew their own time was the worst in American history. It was and they did, but we want to remember this one thing. Our country is a survivor due to those little people that some leaders and officials think don’t count.

Who are we to believe, then? The gov? Or God?

My take is that we are making a mistake if we think politicians good or bad are in control. They are not. Guess who really is. Right, God. God has His plans and He will see that they are fulfilled, every single one of them whether we vote for Him or not. He does however appreciate our cooperation as he does His work through us.
While the events I’ve mentioned were deeply hurtful and themselves left terrible wounds, they have all passed. In 1956 President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation making the phrase, “In God We Trust,” the official motto of the United States and required it to be included on all U. S. currency. Do we believe it or don’t we? Taking it off the money will cost a lot, but won’t change the answer.

Voting is good. Voting is essential. Peaceful demonstrations are still legal as far as I know. We still have freedom of speech even though we are afraid we’re going to lose it. Signing petitions helps our elected officials know what we little people want. Telling the truth helps and so does morality. Trust and faith in God make us stronger, wiser, and happier. Let’s hear a cheer for the grassroots givers, teachers, helpers, mothers and fathers and the people who lift up holy hands in all kinds of service to their country. It is not we who are in charge, this is not our country, it is God’s country and He still has a plan for America.
“…the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night that the flag was still there.

For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

LUKE 14 : 11

Our Cruise to Mexico-Part 4

31 Mar


 Judy Wills


Our last port of call was Key West.  Fred had been there on one of his Air Force business trips, but it was new to me.  I knew there were a lot of bars there, and that was of no interest to me.  But I also knew there was a lot of history there, and was eager to see the sights. We docked at a good time, but for some reason, they wouldn’t let us off the ship for two hours!  There were people in boats below us yelling for us to “come on down!”  And we wished we could.

And so, when we finally were able to disembark, everything BUT the bars was closed!  We had no opportunity to see Hemingway’s house,





or the lighthouse and keeper’s house,






or the Key West Museum of Art and History


– or just about anything else.  We were quite disappointed.  But it was still daylight enough to see the outsides of the buildings and bronze plaques annotating the sites.

We were able to see the southern most house in the U.S.,




and the southern most point in the continental U.S.,


7and other things.  We saw the Mile Marker 0 (Zero) sign for U.S. 1.  That was important to Fred and me, since we had seen the other end of it when we lived in northern Maine.




There was a “street party” going on that lasted past the sundown, which was fun and interesting.  We wandered our way through that, and around some shops, then watched the sun sink slowly behind the horizon.  Our last glimpse was of a tall ship, which was really pretty against the setting sun.



Back to the ship and head for Charleston and home.

We had always been delighted and amused while on board cruises, to find the “towel animals” that the crew put together – and on our bed each night.  Most were fairly recognizable – some required some imagination.  But it was fun to see what animal was going to greet us as we returned to our stateroom each evening.  What do you think?















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