I joined the Coast Guard on July 14, 1959 and went to Cape May, N.J. The first morning the staff commander asked if anyone had completed ROTC in college. I raised my hand and he said, "You are our new recruit company commander."
We marched to the mess hall three times a day and went to class five days per week. We had training duties at the gym for swimming, the rifle range for shooting and the boats for rowing exercises. On Fridays we had pass and review to honor the graduating class. I was the battalion commander two times and regimental commander three times, including our graduation week.
I was assigned to Sullivan's Island, S.C., from Oct. 30, 1959 to Sept. 16, 1960, at which time I was appointed to the Coast Guard Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Yorktown, Va. I completed OCS on Jan. 26, 1961 and was assigned to the captain of
the port in Savannah, Ga., and I served until Jan. 27, 1964.
The boot camp was an unforgettable experience. It let me know that there were more leadership experiences in me than I knew.