16 December 1997, the place Mobile Alabama. I couldn’t sleep I was like a kid on Christmas eve waitin on Santa Clause. And why was I so stinking stoked you may ask, shipping out to chigaco fer boot camp. Now let me remind you, I am Hawaiian and I spent most of my growing up years in FWB, Florida. Boy was I in fer a rude awakening. Chicago in December is no place fer a sun lover. So sleep deprived I stepped off the plane in Chicago to below freezing temps and met who would become known to me as 2nd To God Smith (STG1 Smith, that’s sonar tech fer you non squids) So how was boot camp you ask? I ain’t gonna explain the whole ordeal fer sake of time but I’ll share a few experiences that have stuck with the rest of my life.
Division 095 had some issues, mostly with communication and team work so our RDC’s decided that the whole cycling the poop out of us thing wasn’t working so well anymore. Our marching was marginal at best and we some racial differences among a few of the recruits that was beginning to spill out into the entire division. I recall Chief Huff and Petty Officer Smith took us on a run around the base and ending with a silent introduction to a statue named the Lonesome Sailor. We just sat there and stared at it fer what seemed like forever in silence. Finally the silence was broken by a speech by Smith, it was a speech on Honor, Courage and Commitment and the oath that we had taken. It was obvious that many among us hadn’t taken that oath very seriously and had little if any knowledge of the ideas of Honor, Courage or Commitment. Let me tell you that moment was like an indelible marker on my life. Our division shaped up quickly after that and we ended up earning the Dragon Flag, which was a great honor and we as a team were extremely proud of.
Graduating boot camp, march and review was probably one of the proudest moments of my life. I felt like I had accomplished something phenomenal and I was ready to enter “The Fleet” Learning to overcome differences, implementing the General Orders into my daily life, understanding the UCMJ, and becoming a Sailor was and is still something that I hold near and dear to my heart. And on a side note, I was allowed to pray and keep a Bible with me. That’s changed I’m sure, we wouldn’t wanna offend anyone .
AND TO ALL THE NEW RECRUITS ENTERING A NEW AND GLORIOUS JOURNEY, I COMMEND YOU AND PRAY THAT YOU ACCOMPLISH ALL YOU SET OUT TO DO