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A Half Century Ago

February of '52 found me in Bainbridge, Maryland at the Navy's Training Center for three months. Here's all I have to offer in photos - three...but better than nothin'...any ways, the only fellow I remembered by name was Mike...over all these years.

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Seaman Recruits - Me; and Mike Festa

On a scrap of paper I found some info, and the names came back to me, but not the faces, except for Gullo, who is pictured here.
Dale Gross was the ACPO - "A" for "acting"; J. Sikora - Second Platoon Leader; P. J. Brown was the Athletics "Petty Officer"; Nick Economides was the "Company Clerk"; and Gullo was the "Guide On" bearer.


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Seaman Recruit - Me - First Platoon Leader
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Seaman Recruits - Gullo; Me; and Fizz


Even though I was drafted, and having to leave Socony Vacuum, with whom I was sailing as Ordinary, and at times acting Able Seaman, I did actually like Boot Camp.
Still classified as a teen-ager, and living in a funk, I found the marching, and music, and simple training fun...actually....The only problem was getting my temperment back to "normal"...after all, I had just left sailing with men forty, or more years older than I, and I was getting "old" like them. To all of sudden be dropped in the midst of "kids" was a shocker...bee-bop wasn't the choice of old seamen, and this I had to endure.
The simple seamanship, the Blue Jacket's Manual came easy...after all I had gone to a Maritime High School prior to shipping with Socony. One trait I picked up from the old seaman was how to boss people around pretending to know it all. This got me the First Platoon Leader "position"...something I really liked. I even got miniature "first class" stripes to wear...somewhat like WAVES wore...so the rumor went. Ha ha. I was smart enough not to go for the "acting" CPO thing...left that "responsibility" to another for the time being.
Three months went by fast with this great bunch of guys, it having to end too soon, and it was off to a staging area around Little Creek...a place called Camp Wolf. There we waited for our assignments to ships, and stations while living in Quonset huts...chipping, scaling, and painting on an old floating dry dock. It was only a matter of weeks before I was assigned to the USS Arneb AKA-56.

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