This old legend might be the first military myth new recruits come across, and it might have been around for as long as saltpeter itself. Despite the combined efforts of science, health education, and common sense, somehow, the myth of the military adding saltpeter to the food or beverages in basic training still persists. History with Using Nitrated Sodium Salts Why would the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Marine Corps do such a thing? The legend says they would add saltpeter to...
The Christy Collection
Military Stories and Articles
In the 1970s, while trying to complete my undergraduate degree at Penn State Univ., I ended up on the Dean’s “other” list. With my academic career teetering on failure, I became interested in other options for my future.
The original GI Bill was in place but would soon be changed to the newer version where matching funds were promised. I delayed-enlisted before the deadline at the Pittsburgh, PA recruiting office, which offered billets for either Cape May, NJ, or Alameda, CA. Interested in further travel, I opted for CA.
Women have been involved in aviation from the beginnings of both lighter-than air travel and as airplanes, helicopters and space travel were developed. Women pilots were also formerly called "aviatrices". During World War II, women from every continent helped with war efforts and though mostly restricted from military flight many of the female pilots flew in auxiliary services. Americans Refused to Believe the War Was Inevitable Like most Americans in the late 1930s, President Franklin...
USS Tampa's short story began on August 9, 1912, when the U.S. Revenue Service Cutter (UCRC) Miami, built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp, was commissioned at Arundel Cove, MD. The ship was named for the Miami Indian tribe rather than for the then little settlement in South Florida. At the time, several revenue cutters were named after Indian tribes. The Miami was 190 ft long, with a 14.6-ft draft and a displacement of 1,181 tons. Her normal crew complement was 70 Officers...
Jeff Bridges is an Academy Award-winning actor, a musician, a photographer, and a philanthropist. He served in the US Coast Guard Reserves between 1967 and 1975, but he was a showbiz presence before he ever put on a uniform. The son of renowned Hollywood actor Lloyd Bridges, both his brother Beau and Jeff made appearances with their father on the TV series Sea Hunt between 1958 and 1960. Perhaps it was his father’s Coast Guard Auxiliary experience, combined with the Coast Guard role Lloyd...
Three things influenced my decision to join the Coast Guard.
First, I had just graduated from high school and did not have the drive to attend college.
When I became aware that I was not interested in finishing college in my sophomore year, I sought out the local Coast Guard recruiter, but they were not looking for entry-level recruits at that time. As my draft number was low and I was soon to be status 1A, Dad had served in the Navy in WWII, so I talked to the Navy recruiter and enlisted in December 1971.
I had graduated high school and had no desire to continue my education. I started working in the “Chemical Plants” for a 3rd party contractor. After about three months, I was laid off. I told myself this was not the life for me to live.
I looked at the Armed Services, more particularly the Air Force. My dad mentioned the USCG, and I said who? He said USCG. I see them guys drive boats up and down the Houston Ship Channel all the time and issue tickets for missing bolts on flanges over the water. So we decided to see a recruiter. When he showed me the recruiting video of a 44 MLB crashing through the surf, I said that is what I want to do. He said sign here, and the rest is history.
My father and his two brothers were all WWII veterans, and my great grandfather was a Civil War vet for the Union Army. With the draft approaching in 1965, my dad suggested I start thinking about what I was going to do since I was out of college for a semester and had lost my student deferment.
I was interested in electronics but found it difficult to work 8 hours, go to school 8 hours, and study at least 4 hours a day, and I burnt out. I researched all the services and found the Coast Guard electronic technicians trained on everything, and they only specialized between aircraft and all others.
So I joined to get electronics school where I could work on everything from small boats to large cutters, buoy tenders, ice breakers, Loran (long-range aids to navigation), lighthouses, shore stations, communication stations, and remote aids/high sites.
When I lost my student deferment at age 23 in 1959, I was ranked 1-A in the draft. I saw the handwriting on the wall and started thinking more about getting drafted into the Army. I didn’t want to be “Dog Face” and live in a Pup Tent.
I asked for advice from my parents, my Uncle Herman, and my brother, who had been in the Navy during WWII and in the Coast Guard. My brother advised me to join the Coast Guard. I eventually visited my local Coast Guard recruiter in San Diego.
I took many tests, listened to him advise me on Coast Guard life and the schools I could attend if qualified after Boot Camp. While he graded my tests, I sat there and thought things over. My test results put me in the 98th percentile of test-takers. I told him I wanted to be an Electronic Technician. He said he couldn’t guarantee I would get that school after I graduated from Boot Camp, but he thought I had a good chance.
The U.S. Military Rank Insignia has a long and proud history. Many of the ranks adopted by the United States military at the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 are still in use today. The early military took a lot of inspiration from the British and French forces. Over time, the military rank insignia has come to represent American valor. These emblems, worn on the uniform to denote rank, help people identify military personnel’s rank and pay-grade at a glance. Evolution of U.S. Military...