Sea story: Second-Class Summer (1967)

1967-pri-flyIn the summer of 1967, I was given my one shot at leadership ashore while at the US Naval Academy. As a Midshipman Second Class, I was a squad leader in a cohort of other 2/c midshipmen (rising college juniors, for those needing a conversion) going through summer training. At the Naval Academy, the summers before our Third Class and First Class years were devoted to afloat training, the 3/c filling enlisted billets on ships and the 1/c trying junior officer roles. Continue reading

Sea story: Ice Off the Mark (1967)

frostbite sailing“Turn to, crew!” I barked, as I passed the Plebes’ room (Plebes are first-year midshipmen/cadets at US service academies). I kept jogging toward the stairs, confident that the two underclassmen would be scrambling after me, and catch me before I reached the door to Bancroft Hall. I knew well the exhilaration they must feel to be done with classes for the day, and heading away from upper-class harassment for a couple of hours. Continue reading

Sea story: My First Musical Audition (1965)

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Plebe year: endless disappointments

I was a weird kid. I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up – always. Be a Naval Officer. And to do that I knew that I wanted to go to the Naval Academy in Annapolis. One of my persistent daydreams as a boy and a teenager was to march in the Drum & Bugle Corps. When I started Plebe Summer in June of 1965, that was the first activity that I checked into – and my first of many disappointments. The midshipmen in the D&B Corps all were accomplished musicians, usually first chair in their high school band or orchestra with at least four years of top-level playing. I was not even eligible to apply. Continue reading