I joined the Navy at 17. I was a senior in high school.
I was on a Delayed Entry Program or “DEP” because the Military loves acronyms. It meant I could tell my teachers not to worry about my grades because I already had a career.
I joined because my father served and I wanted to make him proud, for some bizarre reason. A lot of people asked if it was because of the movie “Top Gun” that had just hit the box office.
I also just wanted to get away from Moore Oklahoma. I hated growing up there.
Looking back now it probably wasn’t so bad. But at the time it seemed so stagnate, stuck in a “Footloose” movie sort of way.
There were the typical cowboys in lifted trucks with small dicks and bad attitudes. Hot Girls that would ask what church you went to, whose only interests were building the attendance of theirs.
I always felt I needed to be part of a bigger city, with business professionals scurrying off to their 9-5 office jobs. I ended up in even a smaller town, called Pensacola Florida.
It was the bedroom and bible thumping community of the state. There was so much more action back home, Saturday night on 12th street was like Mardi Gras compared to the whole city here.
I realized that this had been the stupidest idea I ever had. I had traded 1 backwards group of people growing up, to pursuing a full career of them. That might be a little harsh but it is what I thought at 18.
I turned 18 in boot camp and spent the day quiet and to myself. I made sure no one found out, sparing the humility of getting publicly spanked in front of a room full of shaved head recruits.
I had some great experiences in Pensacola. I met my first real girlfriend and enjoyed living on my own. However I made sure to leave as soon as my time was up.
There were others who hung around and got married. But I knew that I wasn’t supposed to end up in another small town.
I finally ended up in my big 9-5 city. Actually it is more of a 24/7 city. It wasn’t too big when I got here and still reminded me of the old places I had lived. But it has matured, and after finally settling down, I am glad to call Las Vegas my home.
The Navy didn’t get me where I am today. I have no real skills I can show from those years. But it made me see that I can endure anything. I could go and do whatever I wanted.
I didn’t have to settle on what my parents thought was best for me. I could create my own destiny.
Start my own family with our own ideas of what that means.
I would do it all again.