YOU’RE IN THE NAVY NOW
Charles Thomas Bailey was what you would call a good old Country Boy He prefered to be called Tom which I did. He came from a town down in South Central Illinois call Pawnee, just south of Springfield. Tom was a Carpenter by trade and this was all new to him also. On our flight to Boston they feed us a meal which consisted of Chicken Breast and Leg. I mentioned that this was an awful small Chicken they served us and Tom replied, ” well what do you expect for a Chicken grown on a Airplane”! After landing in Boston we had to report to the Navy desk there in the Airport and they gave us tickets for the bus ride up to Quonset point ( Davisville) Naval Base in Rhode Island. Arriving there about 10:00PM. that night we checked in at the gate and were told to bunk down in the Transit Barracks and someone would come and get us in the Morning.
Morning? it’s dark outside when this person came walking thru the Barracks banging on the beds telling us to get up, dressed and be at the Base Reporting Office in 30 Min. Well we reported in and after about 4 hours of getting our Hair Cut, receiving Navy Clothing and talked to like we were stupid. We were walked over to the Mess Hall for some lunch. We were starved! We were assigned a Billet to stay in and sleep and given a locker to put are new clothes in and told to wait, that someone would come and get us. All in all, there were about 12 of us from all over the country, and enjoyed talking to the others and where they were from and what they did. I knew from talking to my Brother that the Military was very fussy about how you kept your locker and bed looking so I tried my best to make my things look organized and neat.
Around 4:PM. a Lieutenant introduce himself to us and explained what was going to happen over the course of the next 6 weeks. We were taught to handle Firearms, March, and to wash and fold our clothes just the right way and place them in a special way in our locker. We filled out more forms, questionnaires and applications that had to do with how much of our base pay would be sent home and how much you would keep. While we were in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, we had a chance to visit a few places nearby in the New England area on Weekend Passes. Before we finished our basic training , we were taken down to Newport R.I. for Fire Training on board ship, although we were told that probably none of us would ever be on board a ship.
I was given two weeks leave after Training and I returned home to my Mom before I was to Travel to Little Creek Virginia for more training. It was during this time that the Airlines went on strike and nothing was flying, so I had to take my Corvette and drive to Virginia by my self. After I arrived there and checked in I was told I’d have to leave my car in the Post Parking Facility and could use it till I was finished with my training. The Training consisted of how to survive and Military Code in Combat. This lasted about 4 weeks. During our training 4 of us Sailors were sent down to Gulf port Miss. to observe some equipment and how it worked as we would be assembling like items later on. We were also tought how to use the “Critical Path Method” of Construction during Less then Favorable conditions. After our return to Little Creek, we were given orders to report to Coronado Calif. in six days. But there’s a Airline Strike on! “Well you better leave now” I was told. California here I come!
I picked up my car and was headed out the gate where about 20 guys I was in training with were all standing outside the gate with there Hitchhiking thumbs a waving. “Where you going ” they asked I said” Coronado California” I said. Only one Sailor was going to the same place so I said :get in” and another adventure began. It took us 4 days to get from Little Creek Virginia to Coronado California with a sack of McDonald’s Hamburgers in the back window (to keep them warm). I have a few stories to tell about driving across America, but I’ll save those for a later Blog.