By the time I hit my senior year in high-school (1962) I realized that I was not really ready for college. My folks had died, my sister and I were split up, and I went to live with a recently devoiced aunt and my grandmother who had just passed.
So, being rather naive and thinking everyone would have to eventually go into the service I decided that the Navy was the best next step for me. All of those "Victory at Sea" (I had all of the Richard Rogers LPs), "Silent Service", and Samuel Eliot Morison videos and books were a great influence. But I wanted to get an education too. I had been a bit of a nerd growing up and played with radios, etc. So, even though I could have been a "kiddy curser" I signed up for ET School, Sub Service, and Nuclear Power requiring a six year commitment but that was ok. Best thing I ever did.
Part way through ET 'A' school at TI I heard that being a nuke ET didn't include a lot of electronics so I put in a chit to transfer to NAV ET. Phase chief shot it down. A month later the POD had a notice that there were too many nuke candidates and people were authorized to request a change. Phase chief couldn't screw me this time and I was able to switch.
Went on to sub school, went TAD to the Tigrone for two months mess cooking awaiting NAV school at Damneck. When I got to Damneck had to wait some more but got an interesting job typing manuscripts for the MT instructors. Made good friends with a mustang ensign and baby sat his kids during my Damneck stay. While Finishing up NAV AIDS school the mustang ensign got me a interview with the Ben Franklin PCO. The PCO had been his weps on another boat. PCO tried to get me assigned to his crew but assignments were frozen so I was at the mercy of the detailers. Assigned to Sam Houston SSBN609 Blue crew in June of '64.
Qualified and made five patrols on the Sam. When she went into Portsmouth for overhaul in August '66 got orders to ET 'B' School at Great Lakes. Finished B school in September '67 and after many calls to the sub desk in DC got Instructor Duty orders for ET 'B' School. Finished my time at the Lakes in October 1970. Could have stayed in, had just made chief but had two daughters and a son? on the way. Time to go.
BEST thing I ever did was join the sub service. My whole Navy experience helped me get my s**t together. It provided me with the foundation to go on in civilian life and get my undergraduate and graduate degrees and a fairly successful career. I owe the Navy much more than it owed me.
BTW, met up with that A school phase chief who shot down my first request when I was at the Lakes. We had some good laughs over it. He admitted he was just a general hard a** and didn't like sub sailors.