First Day in The USCG
10th 1963 started like most of my days had up till then, but this one
was to be vastly different, long and uncertain. I had enlisted in the Coast
Guard at Long Beach and spent what seemed an eternity filling out forms and then
having a physical examination. This was the day: I was to be at the recruiters
in the morning to be sworn in and shipped off to boot camp at Alameda,
father took me to Long Beach and stayed while I was sworn in with a small group
of recruits. After the ceremony we would travel under orders to Alameda in a
group. The recruiter drove us to the Los Angeles International Airport, Western
Airlines terminal, for the flight to Oakland where someone from boot camp would
meet us. It sounded so simple.
recruiter stayed until we got on the DC6. We taxied out to the runway, ran the
engines up, and started the takeoff run, but almost immediately the pilot shut
down and we made a rather abrupt stop. The pilot announced we would be going
back to the terminal for some minor repairs. I noted he had shut down the right
side inboard engine—a good sign.
sat on the airplane for about 30 minuets while the maintenance people worked on
the engine. Eventually we were told that the flight had been cancelled and we
would have to get off the airplane. We wondered how the Coast Guard expected us
to be in Oakland on time while we were still at LAX.
some discussion with Western Airlines, and helped by the father of one of the
recruits, we got on a flight to San Francisco with an agreement that Western
would pay our cab fare from San Francisco Airport to Alameda. The cab delivered
us to the JOODs office a little after 1800 where we found that we had been
listed as AWOL. Never mind the flight had not showed up. We got a lot of in your
face yelling from the JOOD. Then we were sent off to someplace called forming
the way there someone came up behind me and said, “You are going to hate it
here.” It was a friend from high school, Bobby Horner. To this day I have
never been able to figure out how he slipped into and out of our formation.
company was formed and we met RD2 Cooke, who took charge of us for the
evening—he could yell louder than the guy in the JOOD office—and told us
that we would be in Company Kilo 41, and the company commander would be Mr.
Meredith, the toughest and meanest Company Commander that Alameda had ever seen.
rest of the evening is a blur. I do remember hot and cold running showers, one
of RD2 Cooke’s hobbies. All the showers are turned on with every other one
being hot or cold, and every time Cooke blew his whistle, you moved from a hot
one to a cold one or vice versa.
guess we got clean but it was not any fun. We ended the evening with a skivvies
inspection. Cooke found someone with his on backwards. This poor soul was made
to stand while we all walked by to have a look.
ended my first day in the Coast Guard.
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