HM3 Albert A. Hernandez, USN/FMF, Vietnam, 1966, rendering medical care to a Vietnamese infant.


Thankful for trainers

While some may have fond memories of their Basic Training, I have a different view.
I joined the Navy in September 1965. It was a cold night when we arrived in San Diego. We were greeted by what appeared to be a seasoned Petty Officer. His actual words I cannot express. We boarded a bus to the Naval Training Center. We soon realized we were in a different world. We were not in charge. We quickly realized mommy and daddy were not there. We were in shock.
The first couple of weeks were extremely difficult. But as time went on, we got used to the routine. Then one day in a barracks inspection, my trousers were not folded correctly. The Company Commander looked at me with piercing eyes. The next thing I remember was getting off the floor from under a bunk, dazed and confused. In another instance, the night watch was caught sleeping. To this day, I remember the beating that poor guy got.
In those days, Navy boot camp was 12 weeks of grueling training. It was no walk in the park. It seemed brutal at times. But I’m glad it was. It made me a man. It prepared me for what was ahead – Vietnam! I became a Navy Hospital Corpsman, assigned to the Fleet Marine Force (FMF). The rest is another story.
I am what I am today because of my military training. May God bless those who train us. They are the backbone to a strong military.

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