As a teenager, I worked in a luncheonette after school as a soda jerk and short-order cook and performed other duties. At the age of 19, I joined the U.S. Navy in 1953 and was taken from New York City by bus to Banbridge, Md., for basic training. We met other buses there, and at about 2 a.m. there were 400 of us in this room.
"Anyone here knows how to make coffee?" the chief asked.
Well, I knew very well how to make coffee and raised my hand. The chief told me to come up front and I heard the quotes: One day in the Navy and he volunteers. Well, for the rest of the 16 weeks all I did in boot camp was make coffee for the chiefs and company commanders. The only training I had to attend were swimming and fire control classes. Toward the end I was making out the liberty passes for my company.
Volunteering sometimes pays off, it did for me.
—Bob Dobres, radioman second class, USS Philip DDE-498
Post 1120, Lindenhurst, N.Y.