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Veteran’s Day

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I am proud to say my husband, Mike, and I are Navy veterans.  I am not a wartime veteran… but I am a veteran, and I did serve for four years.  I served in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and I am what you would call a “Post-Vietnam Era Veteran”.   My husband, Mike, served nine years and early in his enlistment was at the tail end of the Vietnam War.

I was still living in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and was going to college full-time plus working when I decided to join the Navy.  I felt at that time I didn’t really have a “direction” and so I decided to join the Navy (for an adventure, right?  It was truly an adventure, indeed). 

 

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I went through boot camp at the Naval Training Center (NTC) in Orlando, Florida, which has since been closed in 1995.  I remember the dreaded bumpy bus ride from the Orlando Airport to the Training Center.  I was 19 years old…. and I had the most dreadful and awful feeling that came over me.  It was the WORST!  And I asked myself, “Clare, what in the world are you doing?  You have just made the biggest mistake in your life!”  I would remember that bus ride and how I felt at that moment, for the rest of my life.

Yes, I indeed made it through eight weeks of basic training.  There was lots of physical exertion and training, classroom work (all day), lots of inspections, discipline, being yelled at …. often, embarrassing moments… but what the biggest take away for me was– I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA the Good Lord made so many women with such diversity – all different backgrounds, education, age, race, single, divorced, married … and the list goes on!  The Navy put us in the “barracks” and expected us all to get along (crammed in like sardines – practically on top of one another)!   I did make lots of close friends in a short period of time, and for that I am grateful.

 

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During that time, and during the rest of my enlistment, I learned valuable lessons about teamwork, leadership, obeying orders, getting along with a wide variety of people (to say the least), and perseverance.

I was a Personnelman (PN) in the Navy which was a clerical and administrative position.   I was stationed in Orlando, Florida; then on to Millington, Tennessee; (outside of Memphis); and then Roosevelt Road, in Ceiba, Puerto Rico (which has since closed down).

 

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I loved being stationed in Orlando, and it is so central to doing so much in that area – Disney World, Sea World, and other fun places.  Being stationed in Millington, Tennessee was my least favorite place.  I remember “icy” winters with no snow, and it was just bitter cold.  Although I loved the people I was stationed with and my Command, I would have liked a warmer experience.  God must have heard me because I landed orders to Puerto Rico.  What a wonderful place, lots of beautiful beaches, fun trips around the island, Old San Juan and the El Yunque, rain forest!  

 

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Each duty station had new things for me to learn and adapt to – new people to work with and for, new ways of doing things, living in a different city and experiencing a different country.  It was truly a memorable experience, and I made such great friends and met unique people everywhere I was stationed. At the time of my honorable discharge, I was a Second Class Petty Officer. 

 

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One of the things I can look back on and chuckle about is that the Navy has its own “separate” language/dictionary for many of its terms.  Here are just a few samples of the Navy’s special “lingo”:

  • The head (bathroom);
  • Boondockers (boots)
  • AOL (absent without leave, AWOL)
  • Rate (job duty)
  • Bulkhead (wall)
  • Rack (bed)
  • Liberty (free time, off duty)
  • Chow (food)
  • Comshaw (bartering or trade method)
  • Deck (floor)… and many more!

There was one extra special thing about being stationed in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico (“Roosy Roads”), I met my husband Mike there! 

 

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Some people are quite surprised when I share this tidbit …. I was honorably discharged in Roosy Roads, Puerto Rico (Mike was stationed at NAS Jacksonville), and we got married in 1981 …. which means, yes, we have been married for 34 years!  

Mike was an AMH (Aviation Structural Mechanic – Hydraulics), and he said he is grateful he was able to travel the world (he visited such locations as Hawaii, the Philippines, Israel, Spain, Italy and all over Europe and other places.  Mike and I are proud to say that we are both Veterans.   We are very to be Americans, and are proud of our great Country!  

 

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In an ever-changing world, it is wonderful to know there are still young men and women who are willing to serve, so the rest of us can enjoy the freedoms and liberties we have today.  And, Mike and I wish many blessings to Veterans everywhere who have served our great Nation. 

 

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True to the Red, White and Blue….

~Clare

Author
Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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16 Comments

  • Candy says:

    My husband, son, son in law and father in law have served or are serving. Proud of all our men and women.

  • Nance says:

    That’s awesome to know that you were once a military. My father was an official in the first batch of Philippine Marines and then moved to Philippine Air Force. For this reason, he wanted me to become one but I was not willing to have a too short of a haircut. ahahaha!

    But yes, salute to men and women like you sacrificed time with family so people in your country can have pleasure in freedom!

  • andi says:

    as a famous singer said years ago – “all gave some…but some gave all…” – I honor every veteran…

  • Bette Childress says:

    Awesome story and thank you and Mike for serving our great country. You are great people.

    THANK YOU!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks, Bette – it was so fun pulling out these old pictures too! Blessings to all current military personnel and veterans!

  • Thank you and your husband for your service!

  • Christina says:

    Clare and Mike, thank you both so much for your service and for sharing your story!

    • Clare says:

      Yes it was an “adventure” Christina and a story!!! Was a life-changing event – for sure – God Bless our military and God Bless America!

  • Pam says:

    Happy Veteran’s Day! We were also in the Military. I was in the Air National Guard for 4 years and my husband was in the Air Force for 10 years! We also met while in the service. We met in Wichita Falls, TX in 1984. Some of my friends thought I would be like Private Benjamin (remember the movie, starring Goldie Hawn). Maybe I was like Goldie, but that’s ok, because it all worked out. I thought it was a good experience & we actually had fun! It’s kind of like going away to college, just going away to basic training & then military technical school. I was in great shape back then & used to run every day. Oh to be in that great of shape again!

    • Clare says:

      Wow – Pam – very similar stories as Mike and I!!! It was a good experience – lots of life lessons learned! Thanks so much for sharing your story and Happy Veteran’s Day to you and your husband!

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