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Post Info TOPIC: Memories of Bootcamp


Third Class

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RE: Memories of Bootcamp


To all,

I was leaning forward, waiting for high school to end, June 1954. One week later, on a Monday, my stepfather dropped me off at the Los Angeles Armed Forces Examining Center. We were prompyly lined up and quicklyly sorted into the various branches by following the particular colored lines painted on the floor. We were then mustered.

We took the basic qualifying mental test and were scored. Anyone that didn't make at least a category four was released. That was when the physicals began. Lots of paperwork, all governed by the various colored lines painted on the FLOOR.

The strip BA and cough, turn and spread'em, then dressed and following the colored line according to the schedule they gave each individual. You had to keep track of the time because we were not always going to the same place at the same time.

We even lined up for lunch by the colored lines on the floor. It was memorable because we were first taken to a Navy facitility for our blood and urine samples.

The eighty recruits that would become a company were loaded into a couple of Navy buses that took us to the Ritz-Flower Hotel. Lunch was my introduction to the Navy Standard S.O.S., Minced Beef on Toast with a green salad, beverage and a square of custard for dessert.

Back to the AFEC and the rest of the battery of exams. It was nearly 1400 when we were collected and informed that a snafu had allowed most of the blood samples to coagulate. We had to be scrambled back to the facility and have more blood drawn.

No bus this time. They found three carryalls and a four sedans available for nearly seven dozen men, not all at small. There were people sitting in the trunk with the lid open and legs hanging out the rear. Every time we went through an intersection the rear bumper would drag. And our feet, too, if we didn't pick them up.

It took us nearly three hours before they finished the tests and we were carried back in the same vehicles, like sardines, to be sworn in.

Now the Navy guys were really frantic after the swearing in. This time a they lined us up and took a shortcut at double-time through the AFEC to the parking lot and loaded us on a Greyhound.

I guess they put the fear of God into the bus driver because he was pedal to the metal the entire trip.

This was in the days before the interstates and the road most of the way down to San Diego was a two lane road with a center passing lane. I was sitting in the front seat on the right side, just back of the door, and was thoroughly bemused as the driver went flying down the center lane. If there was someone approaching in the lane, he simply flashed his lights and kept right on going.

He bullied and frightened a lot of people during that flight.

At San Diego, off the bus and onto numbers painted on the "deck". They called our names and we answered by the numbers we were standing on. Then it was moving to the standup desk to fill out the post card. "Fill out your home address on the front, and stop." Turn the post card over and write onlly this: 'I arrived safely. More later.' and sign your name." They collected the postcards and we went back to the numbers.

It dawned on someone that we had not had anything to eat since lunch. So off to the chow hall for a cold cut sandwich, an orange and a beverage. We learned it was called a 'horse cock" sandwich.

We were marched into the barracks and told to take a bunk, then go and take a shower.

I swear, I was the only one there with a bar of soap, a towel and shower shoes. Everyone was borrowing my cake of soap. It disappeared somewhere.

Fortunately, I had a couple of spares.

It was really a thrill to hear tatto and then taps at lights out.

I really felt as though I was in the Navy as I had wanted to be for so long.

The fun wasn't over yet, though.

About 0130, a really noisy bunch from Texas was stumbling around in the barracks and raising a fuss. That ticked off the MAA and he ordered all of us outside onto our numbers, at attention and quiet. We were there for an hour while we were harangued about our idiocy and unfitness to be in the Navy.  

Back in the rack, next was reveille at 0500.

"Drop your cocks and grab your socks. Your in the Navy, Line up on your numbers."

If anyone was late, the entire company had to march out to the grinder and pick up cigarette butts before being ordered back onto our numbers and sent off to chow, late.

That was the day we went to get our haircuts. Then it was into the uniform warehouse, to be given a big cloth bag (a mattress cover we were informed) told to strip and take off all of our clothes and put our civilian clothes into the bag. Then we were individually measured for our uniforms. Naked as jaybirds, scalps shorn to the skin, we moved to the first station, the skivvies, put the shorts on and then black socks, ONLY, and the high-top and low top shoes. Put the high tops on.

My problem was that my high top's soles would split right across the ball of the foot when I took a step. They scrambled around and found another 5-E and it broke too. He found another couple of pairs and flexed them. They also broke. So I was the only recruit in low tops and that infuriated the rest of the uniform issuers. It was a matter of official business that this recruit was not wearing elements of the prescribed uniform. I would be ordered to put them on. I explained that I did not have any. AFter I had dumped out the mattress cover, they believed that I really didn't have any high tops. So They would send me back to the station where the shoes were issued. The guy there would order me back to where I was supposed to be before that guy sent me back for shoes.

After I had gone through this about a half dozen times, my company commander passed the word along that they, the Supply clerks did not have my size. (They ordered some in from somewhere and they did not break. Those others must have been left over from WWI).

The afternoon was spent stenciling. they called out our names and we were given two sets of stencils, one for white uniforms and dungarees using balck ink, the other for the blue uniforms and white ink.

We were now officially Navy.

Our coupon books were issued and explained to us. Real money value, however it had to be spent on the station. We would pay for our haircuts with the appropriate coupons or could buy items from the gedunk when we reached Advanced Training, if we survived.

We were told to put our name and service number inside the front cover of our Bluejacket's Manual. It was the Fourteenth Edition. I noticed the first copyright date was 1938 and the last, 1950.

Ater everything was stenciled, all of our uniform pants, blues and whites and dungarees, save the ones we were wearing, went to the tailor.

That was a problem for me later. I grew two inches while I was in boot camp and the only uniform trousers I could salvage were the blues which had enough material in the cuffs to be lengthened.

It wasn't that noticeble while at RTC snce we had to wear the leggings that made up the difference.

So that day we walked around, with new, unwashed dungarees, skinned bareheaded, and most shuffled along. There were two of us who knew how to drill. I was in HS-JROTC for two years, and the other guy had been kicked out of the Navy before, when they discovered that he was underage.

So we were marched all over the place until that afternoon when we received our altered dungarees. Now we were given instructions on how to wash them while we surrended the ones we were wearing with the rolled up cuffs to the tailors to be altered as well.

We learned how to fold our uniforms and present them properly for inspection on our bunks.

As Geno said, buckets were scarce. One bucket per bunk for us, and you had better start right after evening chow or you wouldn't finish in time. You had to turn to for compartment cleaning and try to do the homework for the next day's classes. There were lots of guys still washing clothes in the dark and trying to find a place to hang them to dry.

Unlike Geno, we had to carry our steno pad inside our shirt, in back with the bottom against the waistband of the dungarees and leaning back so the top would be seen in outline. Our pencils went into the leggings. It was always a neat trick to remove the steno pad before sitting down in class, then replacing it when you stood up.

It seemed that every class had an instructor who would scream that he hated so see people poking the pencils up their noses. I think it was suggestive for there always seemed to be someone who did exactly that and the instructor would go into a tizzy.

That first week was a winner. I was finally on my way to becoming a man 'o warsman.             

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Wayne L. White


Chief

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I found the Recruit topic in another area too sorry my mistake!!!
 
CRS

Howardcompsux

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Howard Gillins [AKA] Howdude,Midway 70-71 ABH-2 Fire Dept,Group Member since 2001.Retired since 2002.


Chief

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It says on the plaque that it was reconditioned in 1982 & update to TDE I believe.

Howard  shrug.gif

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Howard Gillins [AKA] Howdude,Midway 70-71 ABH-2 Fire Dept,Group Member since 2001.Retired since 2002.


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Howard wrote:

All,
For those who went to NTC SD here are some recent pix's of USS Recruit at the city owned Liberty Station.

Howard  thumbsup.gif



I wonder why they havn't painted "TDE-1" on the bow?

Here's a postcard of the USS Neversail. smile 



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Gary Randall
OMD/GSE Midway Island
1977 - 1979
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Chief

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All,
For those who went to NTC SD here are some recent pix's of USS Recruit at the city owned Liberty Station.

Howard  thumbsup.gif

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Howard Gillins [AKA] Howdude,Midway 70-71 ABH-2 Fire Dept,Group Member since 2001.Retired since 2002.


Chief

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ahhhhh boot camp Jun 56...... arrived at Great Lakes late at night from Lake okaboji via train five Iowa companies.  Took GCT test late at night and tired, how ya gona get a good score then!!!!   Next day or maybe even that night, put the civies in a box and mail home and get the navy uniforms.  Hair cuts down to the skin,  we were called ''skin heads'' for quite a while.  No washing machines , we had to wash our clothes in a bucket in the head where we shaved and so on.  Never enough buckes for all in company, so a big scramble falling out at the end of the day to get a bucket.  Hang clothes outside with clothes shops, that had to be tied in a squared not with only so long of a end, or cut down and trampled in the dirt.  A steam room in the bks where we hung clothes when raining.  Attending classes with leggens on and note bookes in the leggens.  Carring rifles that would not fire.  Wooden bks , summer time no airconditioning.  Graduation on Ross field, just a few of the memories. 



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AZ1 GENE MEYER,USN(RET)
AIRBARSRON TWO
AEWBARRONPAC
APR58-JAN 59 Midway JAN 59-MAY61 Hawaii
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Second Class

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One thing that amazed me at the time, and still does to this day, is the number of people that just couldn't handle Navy bootcamp and were discharged as unfit.  I figured that if I could handle it, then ANYBODY should be able to handle it.  I had grown up in a fairly protected environment up until that time, and bootcamp was quite a culture shock to me.  Still, I didn't have any problems, even though I had a case of Pneumonia for most of my 10 weeks there, and didn't fully recover my voice for about 3 months afterwards.

Gary

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Boot

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My Faux First Day:

After arriving by private jet at Lindberg Field from across the country, a number of us were whisked via stretch limo to the receiving area at the RTC where we were warmly welcomed by the nicest, most courteous CC we were ever to meet..........wait, that was just how I thought it would be....boy was I mistaken....My actual first day began in Los Angeles at the Induction Center there where we were processed into the military (Navy for me of course). To be honest, I joined after giving my recruiter the runaround for almost two years, and specifically to avoid the draft and having to go to Vietnam. It was in January of 1969 (one of the rainiest Januarys for many years) that I finally went into the Navy (after joining on the 120 day delay plan). Arrived at the RTC facility around 1a.m. (I think they purposely plan it that way) and stood on the "numbers" being yelled at in the rain for over an hour before being marched (what a sight that must have been, a bunch of wet, sleepy, scared recruits trying to march in step and failing miserably) to our barracks as the newly formed Company 041. Once there was assigned a rack, locker, and footlocker, bedding and allowed to sleep(?) for almost an hour before the obligitory thrown trashcan and lid pounding began. Were formed up (poorly again) and marched to the chowhall, and after a hearty breakfast began our busy day of getting our new cloths, haircuts, and endless pointers on what Navy life as a recruit was to be for the next 16 weeks (loooooong bootcamp at that time, and in the midst of the Vietnam Conflict). Was an interesting time that was had by all. And by the way, received my draft notice just a week after arriving at bootcamp. Showed the CC, and his words were, "Don't worry about it (tearing it up in my face), WE'VE GOT YOU NOW, I'll take care of it". And he did too!!! (As a sidenote too, after bootcamp and "A" school, was assigned to NavSta Midway for first duty station and LOVED IT, and THEN received orders to NSA Saigon, ground forces, RVN, so kinda did not get away from that Vietnam duty after all. )

Joe



-- Edited by Joe Bennett at 07:44, 2008-07-17

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Second Class

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Well, Jan62 like everyone else ... we got in about 10:30pm, stood in formation until 3 am, then to bed for an hour and then up with the trash can's being thrown throughout the barracks. The second night, we were lucky, we got 4 hours sleep before being rudely awoken again and then we took all of our placement tests that morning. And that my friends, is how everyone got placed throughout the Navy for their careers (LOL) //d:)coolshades

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D. A. "Dusty" Durst
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Chief

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   I didn't have your garbage can experiences the first morning, as I arrived at the airport in SD at daybreak having spent from 1600 the previous day on airplanes and at airport terminals,(in 1961 we flew in DC3s and DC7s, pretty slow) they came and got us and we went immediately into outfitting the first day.
                                                                                    parrot 32x32



-- Edited by gogogarfield at 04:33, 2008-07-17

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Perry Smithberg 
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Midway detachment 1963-64


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Awww... my Dad used to do that to me every morning when I lived at home.  Boot camp was a breeze for me...  He actually was a DI in Great Lakes for a short period in the late 60s...  Did you ever notice that all of the old metal garbage cans had REEVES written on them.  I thought we had our own monogrammed cans or something...

AF Boot Camp wasn't quite like yours...  I had a male and female TI (Technical Instructor).  The female was as mean as mean can get and the male was actually kind of nice.  Stern, but nice.  I guess the female had to prove that she belonged and was just as bad and tough as any guy...

We had lots of fire drills as I'm sure everyone did... where when we would get back inside our barracks everything would be strewn all over the place and we were told to pick it up to only have another fire drill and so on and so on and so on...  My fondest memory was one day after forming up outside during a fire drill a huge TI from another Flight was helping out.  We had one super goofey guy in our Flight and Sgt. Dilwago lit into him.  He was spitting and screaming and finally said, "You've got an IQ lower than plant life!"  That struck me as hilarious on that particular day for some reason and I just busted out laughing and couldn't stop.  The laughter eventually spread throughout the squadron and everyone was losing it.  Sgt. Dilwago tried the best he could to get angry and began screaming at the top of his lungs at everyone of us.  But when he couldn't keep us from laughing, he just joined us...   Oh, the memories!!!

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GaryE.

The tradition was not lost between your time and mine. By the time that I flew in to SD, got bedding and a rack, it was about 1am. About O:dark30 all hell broke loose.

I was sleeping away, oblivious as to where I was until the yelling and crashing started. I came from a deep sleep into what I thought was some sort of disaster setting. At first I didn't know where I was... but it didn't take long to figure it out. I was just glad that I wasn't the closest rack to the door, as they were puilling people out of their bunks as well as throwing garbage cans and banging on the lid with a night stick.

I will never forget that GaryE. yikes

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Gary Randall
OMD/GSE Midway Island
1977 - 1979
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Chief

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When we finally were formed into a company day 3 the exact thing happened at our barracks Gary !! I guess its a right of passage!!  We were in LA all day for swearing in. We were Bussed to SD late night in the Rain stopping at MCRD first. To see what happened to those guy put the fear of God in all of us Navy Dudes. We were put into a old barracks & we got assigned with people who were in various Holds. I think our company 182 was jinxed from the get go. I was gung ho Navy & by the end of our first week of training / abuse I was counting the days till my seporation.
yikes
Howard

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Howard Gillins [AKA] Howdude,Midway 70-71 ABH-2 Fire Dept,Group Member since 2001.Retired since 2002.


Second Class

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My first memory of bootcamp was the next morning after we arrived in R&O (Receiving & Outfitting) at NTC San Diego.  Someone came into the barracks about 4:30am, threw one of those old metal trash cans down the length of the barracks crashing into a couple of other trash cans and told us we had 15 minutes to get showered, dressed, shaved, and downstairs into line ready to march to the chow hall!

Welcome to the Navy!

Gary

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