I’m in the Navy now…

Well, in looking at my blog, it has been fifteen days since the last time I posted anything on here, and seventeen since the last time I posted something that I wrote. Then again, I’ve been a little busy.

On Saturday, May 12th, Caitie drove me to the Greensboro Airport, and I flew from there up to Providence, RI. After that was a brief shuttle van ride to Naval Station Newport, RI. I got there and checked in for Officer Development School, and then took a cab into the town of Newport with several other ODS students for our last meal off-base.

The next day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all on base, and we were told to be “on the line” and waiting for instructions at 1730 hours. Sure enough, right at 1730, our class officer, Lt. Fromknecht, came through the door of the Hotel Company passageway… and we were off to the races.

That night and the next day was mostly administrative work, and it was boring as sin. Tuesday, however… the fun began. 0430 hours…

The dulcet tones of MMC Hebert, which we of Hotel Company have come to love so well, sounded in our ears for the very first time that morning. And let me tell you something about Machinist Mate Chief Petty Officer Hebert. The dude does not mess around. He expects you to learn. He doesn’t discipline you just for being here, but if you don’t pay attention, if you screw up, well… in his words… “You’re gonna pay for that.”

With that in mind, the vast majority of Hotel Company has REALLY come to like and admire Chief Hebert over the last couple of weeks. He has gone out of his way to teach us everything he knows about the Navy. He is setting us up to be GOOD officers in the US Navy, without what he calls “fleet nasty”. And once he came to believe in us as a company and respect us, he really started letting his guard down – when appropriate. He’s told us about his service in the Navy, the fact that he was graduating college last weekend, the fact that he’s expecting his first kid a whopping ten days after we graduate, etc. Given our exposure to the chiefs from India and Juliet Companies, we in Hotel thank our lucky stars daily that we got Chief Hebert.

Of course, it’s our understanding that both of the other companies feel the same way about their chiefs vs. ours.

Anyway, over the course of that first week, we had a LOT of physical work, including our first physical fitness assessment and our first uniform inspection. I passed the PFA with the necessary score to graduate, let alone start, so I’m good there; I was well under weight for my height (and I know you all remember where I started, weight-wise); and my khaki uniform inspection went remarkably well.

Then there’s also the small matter of me being appointed Division Officer for Hotel Company.

I didn’t volunteer for it. I volunteered to be Assistant Division Officer. However, Chief Hebert wanted to see how somebody who wasn’t prior service would do in the position, and he asked me to take it on. I agreed, and I’ve been the Hotel Company Div-O for two weeks now. In fact, out of the three companies in ODS Class 12070, Hotel is the ONLY one that still has its original Div-O. One of the companies is on its THIRD. So, I guess I’m doing a pretty good job.

Anyway, that first week was intense on physical activity and drill. After “Welcome Aboard” procedures on Saturday morning – which involved being rudely awakened at 0430 by a general quarters alarm, being dragged through all three sand pits at the Officer Training Command, and being made to do LOTS of what we call “pain and discipline” (e.g. pushups, leg lifts, etc.), we were granted permission to wear our khaki uniforms at all times, rather than the PT uniforms we had been stuck in up until that point.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low-key, and that led into the second week. The first half of the second week was pretty darn fun; the second half pretty darn boring. On Tuesday, Hotel Company got to participate in the USS Buttercup simulator, which is damage control training, and on Wednesday, we got to participate in fire-fighter training. It was all very carefully controlled, of course, and it was all remarkably fun.

And then… we were stuck in classroom work all day Thursday and Friday. Boring as hell, although I personally really enjoyed the afternoon session yesterday, which was all about the sea-going and aircraft inventory of the US Navy (some of you may remember how much I nerded out about that stuff back in high school). Nonetheless, a lot of people had a lot of trouble staying awake through it all, so it was with a great sigh of relief that ODS Class 12070 welcomed the news from Lt. Fromknecht that we would have on-base liberty from Friday night until Tuesday morning.

Our only requirements as Hotel Company are to do brief P.T. every day, eat breakfast as a company, and do some drill practice. We did all that first thing this morning, and once we had it knocked out, most of the company – me included – went back to bed.

After a couple hours of nap time, I got up, and I’ve been out and about on base ever since. This week is kind of a peak – our mid-point PFA, the test over our classes the last couple of weeks, and our RLP (Room-Locker-Personnel) Inspection this week, which will involve an inspection of our rooms (although, despite the “Locker” part of it, our war lockers only get inspected if we leave them unlocked, which we are NOT supposed to do), an inspection of our summer white service uniforms, and a test of our required “knowledge” (US Navy mission, sailor’s creed, code of conduct, orders of a sentry, etc.).

Once the RLP Inspection comes and goes, it really should be all downhill from there. Realistically, it’ll be all over soon… and before I know it, I’ll be back at Greensboro Airport, with Caitie picking me back up.

Until then… here’s to enjoying my time here!


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