I gave a talk at our school Veterans Day assembly today. I didn’t get everything I wanted to say in, but it seemed to go over well.
The Smell of Salt
A long, long time ago, what seems like a different life now, I was a Sailor. Towards the end of my teenage years, I came to a point where I knew I had to do something with my life, and at the time, that something was not college. My adoptive father was in the Navy, so I decided to follow in his footsteps and joined the Navy myself in October of 1995. From June of 1996 to July of 1999 I was assigned to the USS Platte, an oiler. During this time I made the best friends of my life, met my wife, and travelled across Europe and even into the Middle East.
It was June of 1996 when I arrived in Rota. The Spanish sun was bright as I stepped off the creaky military aircraft, and I realized that this day would hold a lot of firsts for me. Today, I was going to meet my ship.
The GI Hole
In December 1995 I was halfway through boot camp, a time called service week. Service week was when the recruits went to work in the galley. Some served food, other mopped the floor, and still others handed out miniature boxes of cereal.