I enlisted in the Navy July of 1949.  Along with two of my buddies we left Pittsburgh on an old coach to Great Lakes, Ill which is close to Chicago and also Kenosha, Wisc.  It was so long ago the memories are fuzzy of my first day but I do recall a lot of shots, exams, getting rid of our civilian clothes and getting our uniforms.  After that it was a daily regiment of marching and obstacle course with some class time thrown in between.  Sunday was our only day off so usually went to the lounge and buy junk food and watch baseball on the TV there.  More often than most I fell asleep on the lounge chair.  I recall inspection every morning both for us and our barracks.  One funny incident was we had a guy who didn't shave every day so one day our Company  commander dry shaved him during inspection.  I was never home sick at all as an only child and not having a close relationship  with my Dad.  I was only 17 when I enlisted and my Mother didn't want to sign to let me join but my Dad jumped at the chance.  We were given a 6 hour liberty towards the end of boot camp and we hopped a train to Kenosha where about 6 of us headed for the tattoo parlor. I only had an anchor with a U.S. Sheild put on my upper left arm.  That was it for tattoos for me and never wanted another.  We were trained with M1 rifles and also  with 45 cal hand guns.  We all took our turn in cleaning the latrines and barracks.  Actually it was so good to be on my own I really did not regret boot camp.  I had a strange thing happen to me during our graduation on the gridiron.  As we stood at parade rest for a very long time during this time and then at the end we were snapped to attention and I fell flat on my face like a falling tree.  I was not the only one thank goodness but it was embarassing.  I was assigned to Yeoman School in Norfolk when we graduated where I spent 16 weeks and then was assigned to my ship the U.S.S. Charles R. Ware DD865 which happend to be in Trieste Italy which at that time was a free territory but now part of Italy  itself.  I did see my one buddy once in a while during my 3 plus years aboard my ship when we happened to be in the same port.  That's about it, at least as much as I can remember back 65 years ago.

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HI Bob!

I love all the detail you write about here.  Ouch!  That poor guy who got dry-shaved by the Company Commander.

you touch on a lot of things.  Maybe my blog series will help you remember more details about each.

I am going on an Honor Flight this next Saturday, 6 September.

Robert--you CAN'T lock your knees..!! From prior experience at Parris Island.....My dad probably went thru Great Lakes just before you. He ended up in Fla. with the blimps. Then, Korea, and on the U.S.S.Essex carrier.(CV-9) He did get to see one of THE battleships fire a broad side.(USS Wisconsin,New Jersey)..

Thanks for the input Jeff.  At 17 when in boot camp I probably didn't remember anything except we were told not to move or glance left or right when at parade rest.  I spent over 3 years aboard the USS CHARLES R. WARE DD865.  Still regret not making it a career.


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