This is Just MY STORY, in Preview of What's Next....
I am new to BLOG Posting and I hope that I don't offend anyone, Not my intention, Here's my story and I'm sticking to it. (I feel I need to say that, I am Saying all this information about myself first, for reference later on in the story. It should help to prove that I might know a little about what I am talking about and hoping to achieve).
I am a veteran of the US Navy (1981- 1984) during the Beirut Crisis. I was stationed aboard the USS Sampson DDG-10, Guided Missile Destroyer, Based out of Mayport, Fla. I was Injured Twice, While on active duty. Once during Boot Camp in Orlando, Florida. My company (C-219), was ordered to Stand at Attention for Inspection and was also being Punished for not marching correctly. We were at attention for over 2 Hrs. in 90+ Degree Heat. I passed out from the heat, fell forward, they said: "Like a Telephone Pole", and landed directly on my chin. Crushing all of my teeth, both upper and lower, in the back. I cracked both sides of my jawbone. They said my teeth acted like 'Shock Absorbers" for my Jawbone. Once I awoke, I was Immediately Ordered to "Double-Time" (Run) to the dispensary. OMG..Here I was, Spitting out teeth and Lots of Blood and I was ordered to "RUN"!! Halfway to the dispensary, I passed out again. Upon waking up again, a Captain was standing above me, I was still on the ground. He ordered me to "STAND TO..ATTENTION"!! OMG....What?? I popped to attention as fast as I could, But I guess not fast enough. He Jerked off my dog-tags as punishment. "Why on Earth was I being Punished"?? I kept asking this to myself. Is this the Boot Camp Way? Part of my conditioning?? Is this a preview of what's to come?? Is this how they treat the Injured?? So many questions for a new recruit, (I was 17 at the time). I Never-ever, to this day, got my dog-tags back. I went through my entire military service with no dog-tags. I'd love to have them back, (I would think my punishment would be over by now...LOL). This happened on 6-1 day, (6th week of Boot Camp/ First Day (Monday)). I missed out on the entire rest of my Boot Camp Training (Shooting Range, Gas chamber, Ect.). What-ever was supposed to happen from the start of my 6th week Training, until graduation at 8 weeks. "I DID GRADUATE" though (Twice). I was permitted, even though I Had not completed my requirements for graduation, to graduate with my company and go on uncontrolled Liberty, (we were permitted to go where-ever we wanted within a 50 mile radius, or Disney world as long as we reported back on time on Monday Mornings Muster). I went to Disney World and Had a Great time, (Never Been there Before).
Then, I returned, On Time, and watched as my fellow company men, Departed on leave or went to their next assignment. I got "SET-BACK" a week due to my injury. I went from company C-219 to Company C-229 to complete my training, (which also never happened). I spent all of my time at the Dispensary. All they did, every time I went, was to remove broken teeth and take X-Rays, over and over and over again. So many X-rays, So Little work done. When I finally left Boot Camp, all that was ever done was what I just said. Then, I went on Liberty (came home) for 2 weeks.
I returned to complete the next Phase of my training, (A.I.T. -School). I completed this and was assigned to report to my ship, (which is a totally unbelievable story in itself). The Basics of that is: "THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHERE MY SHIP WAS AT"!!!! OMG...OMG..The US Navy Did Not know where the USS Sampson DDG-10 was at!!! They sent me, Via Orders to Mayport, Fla (Home-Port) First. No ship. Then they sent me to Louisiana and surprise, NO SHIP. Then they sent me home again for a week, I guess so they could Locate this Ship. I can't believe this. Then, I received orders to report to Portsmouth, Va. Hey, There's my ship, finally. It had been in Dry Dock for over a year,(and they didn't know where it was)???
I reported for duty and Began my assigned ships work. I was assigned as a Boatswains Mate and I, from then on, considered myself as the Ships Janitor. I quickly learned that this is where most start out, and then they move up in the ranks and switch jobs by completing any training required. I tried this route. I started applying for Schooling and Training to work in the Ships Store (SH- Ships Serviceman). I never- ever received anything I had Requested. I Put in More and More Requests and still nothing. I spoke with my supervisors, Repeatedly, and nothing ever happened. I made requests off ship, to the base commanders and personnel. Still I received Nothing. All the while, I was Trying to have my Teeth Fixed and completed. The Dispensary, on Base in Mayport, Fla. and I got to know each other well. I spent so much time there, Mostly watching TV. Again with the x-ray's too. To end this portion of the story on my teeth, Nothing was ever done to fix my teeth, for my entire enlistment. This is what I was told every time I tried to have work done: "We can't do anything more because you are station on board a ship that could deploy at any time". WHAT......?? I doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to come up with a simple solution: TAKE ME OFF THE SHIP, TEMPORARILY, UNTIL THE HARD WORK IS DONE. Assign me to Land duty, so I could be available for any Teeth Work. This never happened.
While Working on Board ship one day, We were still in Dry Dock. It was the end of the day and we were allowed to report to our Berthing compartments for Shower's, Bed, ect. (Personal Time). On the front (Bow) of the ship, there is a Hatch (Very heavy Metal/ Steel Watertight Door in the floor (Deck)). In this Hatch is a Round (Circular) "Scuttle". The Scuttle is utilized when the hatch is closed and Secured. I'm sure you've seen this in Navy Movies?? Sailors going into the Bowls of the ship through a circular hole in the floor (Deck). Well, the hatch was up and there were Hoses (Utilized by workers below decks), going through the Scuttle hole). I don't blame anyone for what happened, This was something we all did on a daily basis. It was Normal routine. You see, The ladder down to the compartment, below the hatch/ Scuttle is "Straight Down (Almost). we would all (Individually) Utilize the Hoses for balance as going down the Ladder. I Had done it often too, BUT ON THIS DAY... The Hatch was improperly secured, Just held open at a 45 degree angle to the deck, by the hoses only. This was NOT Proper Procedure. No one knew this at the time, Including me. We took it for granted that if it was open, it was properly secured. NOT. The person just Before me, held on to the hoses as usual, as he descended the ladder. I followed and Yes...WHAM!!! The hatch closed, Water-tight, on my Right hand. I never felt a thing. I remember yelling: "SOMEONE GET THIS **** HATCH OFFA MY HAND"!! When people started realizing what had happened, Immediately they sent for the ships doctor and started removing the door from my hand. This is when the reality of what happened hit me. as they Opened the door, the pain rushed in and I passed out. I seem to have a habit of passing out since joining the Navy..LOL!! Never had this issue before. Long story short on this, I broke all the bones in my right hand. My hand Looked like a Big balloon. They Never Put me in any kind of a cast or anything. 3 days later I was ordered to work over the side of the ship Painting. WHAT?? I can't do this. There is so much pain and I was never put on any Pain medication, why... "Because I was stationed on board a ship that was...yadda...yadda...yadda". My hand was never fixed until after I was discharged and returned home to SW OHIO. My Teeth Were Never Fixed Until I returned Home After Discharged. My Teeth are Still Not fixed. Right In the Middle of Having work done at the Dayton, Oh V. A., for some reason I Lost my Dental Benefits. I LOST EVERYTHING. I went to my next appointment and the secretary, who had known me by name all this time, acted like she'd never ever met me. This is still going on to this day.
I submit all of this in preview of my next postings. This is just MY STORY, and I use it as Proof that I Know what I am talking about. Please stay tuned for my next post. I Hope I Understand this right. this is the place to share my stories and connect with others who might be interested and possibly share the same Issues. This is where I need to learn about "ISSUES OF OUR MILITARY THAT ARE NOT BEING ADDRESSED, BUT ARE STILL OF VITAL IMPORTANCE".
Posted by Earl L. Hayes. Posted In : My Military History.