Graduating from Basic

Here is another of my dad’s Navy stories from a book that we are writing based on his 20-year Naval career. This book is a work in progress.

I don’t know what I expected from basic training, but I was having the time of my life. So much so, that I didn’t really miss any of the people I left behind. I’ve never been a stranger to hard work and discipline, which might explain why I found basic training to be akin to summer camp while the other guys complained about all the work that had to be done. No matter what job was assigned to me, I did it with no questions asked, and with enthusiasm. It was no wonder then, that I should catch the eye of the company commander. I was chosen to lead the second squad and got to carry the scholastic guidon at graduation.

Graduation day finally arrived. We all put on our dress whites and prepared to show our friends and families the men we’d turned into. The graduating companies assembled on the parade grounds. The company commander inspected us line by line as we stood proudly at attention. We could hear the band playing a Sousa March in the background. “Attention !” the CC called. We snapped to, and waited for the next command.

“Parade rest !” The commanding officer then took roll and made sure we were all present and accounted for. “Right Face ! Forward march !

Since I had the honor of carrying the guidon , I marched in front, beside the commanding officers. I was disappointed, to say the least, when I looked around at the bleachers and saw no one from home. No one came to see my graduation. I thought surely someone would show up; my mom, and perhaps one brother at least. But I marched, and I was proud. I was one of the chosen few who had what it took to become a leader. So, I marched for the families of the guys who hadn’t had what it took to become leaders. I carried that guidon with honor and told myself I didn’t care that no one from home cared to show up. I was a man now, a leader in the United States Navy.

Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.

Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.

Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.

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