I joined the navy to see the world, what did I see I saw the…..dry-dock? I woke up this morning with the urge to tell a short navy story. Yes I was in the United States Navy. Right out of high school, well before I even graduated I decided college wasn’t for me, but the navy and traveling was. No I will not admit it had anything to do with the movie “Top Gun.” Okay, maybe a bit, though I knew I wasn’t going to fly jets or anything; working on them sounded pretty awesome. I qualified, at least that’s what the test I took said. Sadly, there was no school openings for Aviation Machinist Mate and the only school I could have taken was “weather-guesser.” For those not familiar with the term it’s like that man or woman on the news talking to the blue screen, with the little button pretending he or she knows it’s going to rain tomorrow, when it isn’t.
So I decided with encouragement from my recruiter (cough) to enter the Fireman Apprenticeship Program, where I could decide later on, which career path I wanted to take (cough again). Sounded good….at the time!
Blah…Blah..Blah, graduated from boot camp, went to apprenticeship school, and got my first pick of duty stations…Hawaii…SCORE! I was gonna be stationed on a submarine dry-dock, now how cool is that? Since I was a “FR” (Fireman Recruit), they put me in A-Gang (engineering), to learn the ropes. Regardless if I was working on aircraft engines or diesel engines it was experience I needed.
This is where the problem began. I hate to say it, but I was pretty damn good at my job, so when I put in for some temporary duty at the air station, there was some (how do I word it) resistance. A call to daddy, and his hot-headed ways along with talk of writing congressman and senators seems to have put things in motion; temporarily anyway.
I got what I wanted, sort of, and temporary duty for one month at the squadron working with the airman. Got all my PQS paperwork signed off and even got a ride along on a C-130 flight. Now this is what I’m talking about……(thinking then). Yeah well, tempers and letters only go so far, especially if your department is under-manned. It didn’t help that somebody neglected to fill out the proper paperwork for my “flight.” Saying that I almost crapped my work coveralls when they called me to the commanding officer’s office and told I had to meet with the real NCIS is an understatement…. Yeah, having to give them the names of every relative I could think of that lived in Hungary (pre-Iron Curtain) along with other details had me in an utter state of panic.
Fortunately I made it through that ordeal too, though my dreams of life as an aircraft mechanic vanished. I got over it….but my parents had a harder time. I found out later, when people asked them what their daughter did in the navy, I was significantly demoted from a Engineman 2nd Class to a…..”secretary” of the engineering officer. I have nothing against yeoman, one of my best friends in the navy was one, but damn I didn’t work in diesel oil and pump-room hell for nothing. Why is it so embarrassing to tell people your daughter is a mechanic? Not a typical job people associate with women; regardless I was proud of the fact I could go head to head with the boys in A-Gang; and I have pictures to prove it!!! Kat~
P.S. I didn’t see the world, but Hawaii was not a bad runner-up!