Today is the 50th anniversary of the day I joined the US Navy.
I raised my right hand and swore to defend the US Constitution August 31, 1965. That naive 19-year old had never been out of deep East Texas, never flown on an airplane, and certainly never thought about seeing the world. It would be another 120 days due to the Delayed Entry Program, before I departed East Texas for Navy Basic Training in San Diego, arriving there the night of December 28, 1965.
Today is also the 28th anniversary of my retirement from the US Navy. I retired in 1987, 22 years after originally joining in 1965.
In between, the Navy allowed me to travel the world and see cultures and things I never would have had an opportunity to see otherwise. I passed through or was stationed in: California, Florida, New York, Hawaii, Alaska, and Indiana, as well as: Japan, Guam, Okinawa (before it was given back to Japan in 1972), Nova Scotia, Scotland, England, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Turkey.
My two sons were both born overseas in Scotland and Okinawa, and attended school in Italy, getting an education that would not have otherwise been possible, were it not for the US Navy.
I made friends all over the world in all five branches of the US military services, as well as other countries. Many of these remain friends of mine today.
What a wonderful ride it was. Today is an important day in my life.