From 1977 to 1985 I was in the U.S. Navy. I was a member of the submarine service, and was trained as an electrician in the nuclear power field.

The first thing you go through in the service is Basic Training, or "boot camp". I went to boot camp at the Naval Training Center in San Diego, California for nine weeks from the end of September 1977 until about Christmas time. Below is a picture of Drill Company 940 of which I was a member. Why else would this picture be here?

From top to bottom

BACK ROW:Burnett, Erickson, Nutter, James, Vollmers, Ericson, Holm, Spieker, Bullock, Fisher
2nd ROW:Voss, Cranford, Leahy, Kiskaden, Rogers, Anderson, Oliver, Martin, A.L. Smith, Seltzer, Stoddard
3rd ROW:Jarvis, Zaentz, Sparks, Brauer, Benefield, Boyle, Lindeke, Glaze, Rooks, Beaty
4th ROW:Guile, McDougle, Greschke, Hernandez, Day, Thomas, Blackford, Weilmunster, Latimer
5th ROW:Williamson, Pinkston, Cote, Olivas, Kortan, Ingell, Salazar, Palmer, Roberts, Pascual
6th ROW:Haddock, Marney, Carver, Beyer, Aguirre, Lilley, Michal, Kerian, Tucker
7th ROW:Simpkins, Henderson, Concepcion, R.E. Smith, Huntsman, Sloan, Price, Herbert, Pung, Conover
FRONT ROW:Rosa, Graves, Belt, CPO Belt, Brown, Johnson, Dickson

After boot camp you attended an "A" school where you learned the basics of your chosen trade in the Navy. My field, or rating, was Interior Communications Electrician. Each rating had a different symbol associated with it that you wore on the sleeves of your uniforms. The symbol for "IC-men" was the globe and telephone handset below.

Following "A" school came Nuclear Power School at the Naval Training Center in Orlando, Florida. That lasted about nine months and was all classroom work. If you survived "nuke school" then you went on to "prototype" where you studied and became a nuclear power plant operator of a real power plant. I went to the Nuclear Power Training Unit in West Milton, New York and qualified at the Modifications And Additions To Reactor Facilities (MARF) plant -- for those who know about these things. This plant was the reactor compartment and auxiliary machinery spaces of a submarine, which generated steam that was piped to an adjacent building that housed the engine room components of a World War II destroyer. It was a little strange. This phase of training took about nine months.