Back in 1964, the economy wasn’t doing too good. As a high school graduate, with a “college prep” background, I couldn’t even get a job in a supermarket. My parents didn’t have enough money to allow me even to attend a state college. Eventually, I gave up job seeking and decided to join the navy.
At one point, while in high school, my school counselor had arranged to get me an appointment to the Coast Guard Academy. Working with the naval staff in the Philippines, she had gotten a congressional sponsorship. The only thing I needed was a good grade on the SAT. Well, I achieved a 797 out of 800. Three bloody points short of perfect! Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. You see, there was a scheduling problem. Only two SAT tests were scheduled in the Philippines. The one at the Subic Bay Naval Station was about one month after the one at Clark Air Force Base. The deadline for taking the test had already passed when I sat down for the exam in Subic.
So, no Coast Guard Academy for me.
I stuffed myself with bananas to bring my weight up to the acceptable minimum and joined the Navy. I actually had to catch a bus from San Diego to Los Angeles to take the physical. Amazingly, the San Diego recruiting station didn’t have large enough facilities.
So, on 23 September 1964, the Bosun swore me in…