I left college, joined the Navy,
went to Great Lakes to learn
how to become a machinist’s mate –
pumps, valves, condensers,
generators, heat exchangers, rust,
crud in high pressure piping.
Nuke school. Orlando. Classes 8 hours.
Homework 6 hours. In between,
Star Trek, Kung Fu, Navy chow.
My first boat sent me to a school
to learn metrology, measuring and
calibration. Standards. Pressure gages,
pressure switches, thermostats,
thermometers. Bow to stern.
My second boat sent me to a course
to become a submarine QA inspector.
Quality assurance on subsafe systems.
Deep submergence. Lots of paper.
Tons of paperwork. Save the ship.
At my enlistment’s end, my boat
put me in for a commissioning
program. College. summa cum laude.
Tallahassee. Newport. Mayport. Then
I learned how to swim with sharks.