My name is Anonymous and I was an E6 in the US Navy from 1970 to 1996. My dad, uncle, and 2 older brothers all served in the navy and I decided to follow in their footsteps. I was a high schooler before joining. Military life was a big change. It was not about me, it is about the group as a whole. If one person messed up, everyone was punished. I still remember how one guy jumped the fence to escape Bootcamp and another cut his wrists in order to escape. I myself faced a bit of racism. There were only 3 blacks, 2 or 3 Latinos, and the rest were Caucasian. There was a rule in place stating that no more than 2 blacks could be together at the same time; if we were, it meant we were “up to something.” I spent most of my time at Moffett Naval Air Station before the Navy left it(I retired shortly before they left.) The people in Mountain View kept complaining about the constant flights going over the city, so the Navy decided to move out. The Navy, unfortunately, was putting a lot of money into the city, so after the Navy left, a lot of people wound up losing their jobs. I worked in what we called the Glasshouse, where all the Avionics and top-secret stuff came in. This is where we conducted our repairs. Everything being sent for repair came through me. I still remember that one day, we were flying an airplane. All of a sudden, the autopilot turned off. We dropped like a rock, I’m talking 1000 feet in a matter of seconds. I reached up for the escape hatch, but there was too much G-force and I could not raise my arms. Somehow, we were able to get the system back on. I realized that we all had parachutes, but there was no way to use them without being able to escape the plane.
I made some friends that still keep in touch with me. One of the female petty officers that
was from Oregon still comes down and visits. However, a vast majority of them could not afford to keep living in the Bay Area and moved out. Everyone can be a leader in the military. The military made me an overall better person by working these lessons into me over time. One thing that is important to note is that the skills you develop in the military are not always
applicable to the civilian world. You should definitely force the recruiter to guarantee you an
outside education in order to continue working. I thoroughly enjoyed the Navy. I’m glad I stayed in for all that time. I’m proud to have served, and you know what? If I had retired any sooner, I couldn’t have afforded my home. I could come back to a home with my family waiting for me.