Dear class of 89,
Hello everyone! These five years sure went by fast. Of course everything seems to go by quickly when you look back at it. A lot has definitely happened in that time which has slowly evolved me into the person I am today. Of course you all have probably changed a little as well because life is too short to stand still. Well anyway, here are some of the major events that have shaped my life since graduating from high school.
After graduation I only had 3 weeks before my enlistment in the Navy. I spent them visiting relatives and vacationing in California. On June 25 I went to the MEPS station in Sacramento to be processed. The next day I left on a plane to Orlando, Florida.
For the next 10 weeks I was at basic training. It sucked but it got me in shape. I was put on the flag team, which got me out of a lot of normal boot camp things. I even got to perform at halftime during the Orange Bowl in Jacksonville, FL. (Dolphins vs ???)
I got 2 weeks of leave after that and I came home to visit. Then I was off to twelve weeks of MM "A" school. "A" school was pretty easy and before I knew it, I graduated right after my 18th birthday.
Nuclear Power School was next and lasted 6 months. It was more difficult but I didn't have it as bad as some others. I had a good time in Orlando being a tourist and seeing all the Disney parks, Daytona Beach, etc.
After NPS I met my Mom and sister in Washington D.C. to be tourists for a few days. Then we headed for the Poconos in PA for a family reunion. After that I went home to CA for a week before reporting to Nuclear Prototype Training Unit in Balston Spa, NY.
NPTU lasted 6 months and was mostly a hands on school where one learns how to operate an actual nuclear power plant. This was the fist winter I lived thru with freezing temperatures and tons of snow. It was so cold (How cold was it?) in the outer bedrooms the water in my toilet froze over. While I was in New York I got to see Niagara Falls. I left in February as a qualified Nuclear Machinist Mate.
As a reward for graduating, they allow us a bonus and 30 days of glorious rest and relaxation which we simply call leave. So I was off to California again where we had a late Christmas celebration. Later I also was able to visit my relatives in Oregon and New Mexico.
In March, I reported to the USS Enterprise otherwise known as the "Big E' which was currently undergoing a major overhaul. Most of my work here consisted of qualifying, supporting the shipyard, and standing watch. In August, I was treated to a day of skydiving that was pretty awesome. I think all of you should consider trying it sometime.
In February, I traded the car in that I got in New York and I purchase a '92 Kawasaki EX500. I was still learning how to ride yet I still had a lot of fun on the bike.
In June, I came home for a couple of weeks where I tried bungee jumping. I had to go by myself because no one had the nerve to go with me. It was incredible, just another thing you should consider if you haven't already. I drove back to VA in the '69 Cougar I bought with my bonus after NPTU. My Dad had finished the restoration while I was in VA. It was a great drive that enabled me to see more of the US. I stopped at many places including the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam.
In September, Greg, one of my good friends who taught me how to ride a bike, died in a motorcycle accident. He was home in PA on leave and I heard there was alcohol involved which did not surprise me. It shook me up and took me quite some time to realize that I would no longer be able to see him again.
On December 17, I finally decided that my bike was a bit too small, so I bought a 93 Honda CBR600F2. It was my 21st birthday/ Christmas present.
In February, I got to try Spelunking (i.e. caving). I only went on four caving trips in six months and haven't been on any since. They were a lot of fun but I had to spend my time elsewhere.
In March, I bought a trailer hitch that made hauling trailers quite a bit easier. I loaded up my bike as well as my friend Gerry's bike onto a U-Haul and drove to West Palm Beach Florida. There I attended a Team Suzuki Endurance Advanced Riding School at a local racetrack. It rained half the time we were there which, strangely enough, made it the most exciting thing I have ever done an gave me an adrenaline rush for three days.
In May I went to yet another TSEARS but this time at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. The track was set back in the hills and was recently repaved. It was an experience.
In June, I took leave for another family reunion in Lake Tahoe, NV. The gambling was fun but I must admit the free drinks were better. I got to spend a little time at home before going back to Va.
In August I went to my third TSEARS in Memphis, TN. We decided to ride our bikes there this time and spent two days on the 950-mile trip. I crashed for my first time while flying around a corner of the track. I was still able to weld and tape everything together for the trip back home the next day. On the way back we stopped at Deal's Gap, NC which has a rode with over 300 curves in just 11 short miles.
Also in August I started college at Hampton Univ., working towards a BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology. I now glow. I get a lot of credit for my Navy schools. I should have my degree before I leave the Navy in June 95.
In October, I decided to try my first real race. So I went to Summit Pt., West Virginia. I was doing fairly well until I crashed about half way through the race. I found out afterwards that the nickname of the corner was Slippery Point.
In December, I flew to California for my first Xmas at home in four years. It was nice to be around family and friends for the holidays once again.
In March, my bike was stolen from in front of my apartment. The insurance company took a month to give me my claim and by then I had already missed the race I was registered for. I then decided to save my money and buy one of the new 95 models coming out sometime towards the end of the ear.
Much of the ship's overhaul is complete and in May they began crew move-aboard. I wanted to save a bit more money therefore I decided to reside there. I finally paid off my debts and I should have enough for a new bike in August.
We are scheduled for Sea Trials before the end of the year but that will be the only time I will ever spend at sea on the Enterprise. Six years in the Navy and yet only one month at sea.
Well, that's about it. I'll be coming home for Christmas this year and you are all welcome to stop by and say hi.
PS: Next High school reunion give me a little more advance notice so I can plan ahead. SEE YA!