Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seven Year Old Sailor

Foreshadowing - note
Popeye on the hat
Seven years ago today, I left 10917 Chaucer St., New Orleans, LA 70127 to get on a plane headed for Navy Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, IL. My mom cried as the recruiter came to my house to pick me up to stay the night in a hotel room where I would leave life as a civilian and make my entrance into military life at the Military Entrance Processing Station, New Orleans, LA. I took my tongue ring out (yes...I had one for 4 1/2 years), grabbed my Navy backpack, kissed my mom goodbye, and left with AO1 Davis.

The past seven years in the Navy have been filled with adventure. Since I left New Orleans, I've lived in four US States and a foreign country, attended four military schools, and advanced to the rank of E-5. In the same amount of time, I've managed to have all the loans from my first degree paid off by the Navy, and I'm 45 days away from a second bachelor's degree -- not to mention that I'm only 13 years away from a full retirement. The Navy has already given me a lifetime's worth of opportunities, and I haven't done nearly as much as other people have in seven years.

Boot camp picture
I've been able to meet some amazing people in and out of the Navy -- but still because of the Navy. Deploying with other military people brings you together like no other situation can. It's a situation that gives new meaning to the words trust and friendship. I'm trying to imagine a situation that would build those elements in a group of people better than on a deployment, and I can't think of one. Nursing school is the next closest thing that I can think of, and the Navy has given me that too. Although the people in nursing school aren't military people, they'll no doubt remain an important part of my life for a long time to come. I guess there is something about shared suffering that brings a group of people so close together. For instance, we all just failed a test today. We commiserated together about our grades comforted each other because this series of tests has been particularly difficult for some reason. We all talked about the test after we finished and we all put a lot of the same answers for the same reasons for specific questions. Like I said, there is something about shared misery and hardship that brings groups of people closer.

So...13 years left to go in the Navy. What are my plans? Well...we're still waiting for orders right now. I e-mailed the Nurse Corps detailer yesterday in an attempt to find out where we might be. I instantly received an out-of-office reply saying that he was out of the office on March 28th (the beginning day that we were told to contact him about orders). Well played Mr. Detailer...well played.

At some point, I would like to go on a MEU with the Marine Corps. That wouldn't likely be anytime within the next three years though. Not sure how many, if any, nurses they take on those. It's also a goal of mine to somehow get a master's degree in nursing and to attend the U.S. Naval War College. I want to make it to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Lieutenant Commander LeDuff has a nice ring to it...don't you think?

I'm excited about the rest of my career...especially this part that I'm about to start in a few months.


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