On Oct. 27, 1971, my 18th birthday, I started my journey to the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Ill. I was starting my 12-week basic training. I was put in charge of a group of new recruits traveling From Newark, N.J. We arrived late evening and were directed to an old berthing area. At 5 a.m. we were directed to the chow hall for what was supposed to be breakfast. Cold pork and beans and warm coffee was served. I thought, what did I get myself into.
After a few weeks I got used to the routine until one day in December. The temperature that day with the wind chill was 64 degrees below zero! I have never been so cold in my life as we waited in formation to enter the chow hall for breakfast. It brought back memories of my first morning. When we finally got in for chow all I could eat was pork and beans and coffee. This time it was better as both were very hot and very warming.