Monday, April 03, 2006

The Navy and I - Part II

The last time our hero with no parachute was kicked out of an air plane some 5000 feet up in the sky. No, that is next week, this week he was fighting with the pilot inside a plane and the plane, with no pilot piloting it hit a rocky mountain side and exploded.

No, that is not it. Nothing that action packed.

What really happened you will recall that I was in the barracks for a weekend with only two dollars. I had to wait until Monday morning for the personnel department to open up to verified my orders so they could send me to Boston, or wherever.

I wandered around the base alone. I went to the library and read about every magazine they had. I read all the bulletin boards around the chow hall and the library. In the same building as the library was the movie theater. I forgot how much a ticket was, I probably had the money – I think tickets were under a dollar, but I didn’t want to squander my money away.

The five huge hangars on the base off in the distance was a sight to behold. I think the biggest one, the one the Hindenburg was intended to report to is/was the largest hangar in the world. The two beside it were also huge. Then across a huge field of cement were two more hangars.

Monday morning at 8:00am I reported to personnel. They thought my situation was unique. Each person I talked to would send me to someone else. They said it might take a while to get this straightened out, so the temporarily assigned me to them. My job was to mop the deck (Sailor language) once a day and clean the heads (more Sailor language).

After two days they realized it might be much longer, so they transferred me to the Security Office. The Security Office was the big old building that looked like it was once a home by the front gate that I first checked in at.

When I reported the SP I talked to gave me a handshake and a big welcome. He was a nice guy. He suggested I move into their barracks on the top floor. He drove me in his gray Navy pickup truck to the barracks I had been staying at and brought me to the Security building. The upstairs was the office of the commanding officer of Security, he was a big tall guy, he was Captain Fisher. He was also friendly. I was shown the barracks section, which was a long wing, with a very odd complex of rooms… it wasn’t like walking down a hall and doors lined up with a room behind every door. You would go in one room and maybe a TV room was there, and off to the side were doors that went to separate rooms, and the next door from outside maybe a pool table, which had more doors leading to more rooms. So, as it turned out I had my own room. It was small, but I love the privacy.

My job was to keep the place clean, which I did. Eventually I was on friendly relationships with all the SP’s, which were probably two dozen or more. Some of them had rooms there and some of the married ones lived off base. On the ground level was the duty desk on one end – that is where I first walked up to when I got off the bus. And on the other end of the building was a jail – opps, I mean brig. I never saw it occupied.

I stayed there about three weeks before my orders were clarified.

Before they were clarified around Labor Day I rode the bus to the ocean. Directly east you go through Toms River, a small fishing town, and then over a huge bridge onto an island, and on the east side of the ocean was Sea Side Heights, which was a resort area. They had the typical Atlantic City type boardwalk, lots of carnival kind of games, “Step right up and be a winnah!” And a big pier with rides such as Ferris wheels, roller coasters.

I walked around, nobody to talk to, and returned to the barracks in the security building.

Also this was the first time a sore of some kind erupted on my spine, leaking out stinking pus. I didn't know it then, but much later a doctor told me I had a piranada cyst and it had to be removed.

I was called to the personnel office. They had me a new set of orders. I was to report to Helicopter Utility Squadron Four (HU-4) at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey. Their hangar and office space was just the second big hangar away, right next door to the giant one.

After I checked in the duty driver carried me to the HU-4 Barracks. A big two story building that slept 300 men. I say big, but lately, with the new building boom of bigger houses, some of the houses now days are almost as big as this building that had 300 men sleeping in it most nights.

That was home for now.

To be continued – one day.



Blogger Steve said...

you got me on the parachute thing. thought I had missed something.

1:39 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I did too!
I wnen you said "parachute thing" I said "what parachute thing?" And went back and scanned over it - I forgot my pun on Saturday morning action packed serials.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I particularly like your point about how big houses are these days.

9:14 AM  

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