“I joined the Navy when I was 17 years old. Since I was underage, my mom and my dad had to sign for me. I went in as what they call a “Kiddie Cruiser”. I was supposed to get out the day before I was 21.
I got extended briefly for Vietnam, but I never had to go because our ship was in the Naval Shipyard. My Navy career was an adventure for a young man seventeen years old. I had just gotten out of high school. My parents wanted to send me to college, and I said, no I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to get drafted; I think I’ll just join the Navy.