Here is my navy Story. When I joined the US navy in 1977, I was commissioned as a lieutenant commander. My concept of the navy was minimal with very little understanding of the military, rank structure, uniforms etc. I was supposed to go to officer training program somewhere in New England. When I reported for duty at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, the admiral CO was very happy to see me as my position has been vacant for many months. He ordered me to go to the uniform shop and go to work immediately without the benefit of the officer-training course.
In the uniform shop, I got the wrong insignia. I got the supply corps (pork chop) shoulder boards instead of the acorn for the medical corps. I chose an officer hat with the "scrambled eggs" as I thought it was nicer than just the plain visor. As you know, (05) commanders and above wear the braids. I also got some ribbons not knowing that you have to earn those. I put my nameplate on my left chest (common in civilian) instead of the right. The next day while walking from the parking lot to my office, everybody was staring at me. Some were not sure if I really belong to the USN, or the Michael’s Navy.
The CPO saw me and said: "Doc you are in a wrong uniform." The CPO gave me a half an hour orientation and description of the Navy and most importantly, how to salute and identify high ranking officers. My story is comical but true.
What a nice story.
Filipinos who joined the US Navy prior to Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's watch, Chief
of Naval Operation, I believe in the late 60's or early 70's, were only allowed one
rate…steward, regardless of qualification. There were a lot of wasted talents and
resources then. Case in point is my brother in law, with a degree in engineering,
serving as the Admiral's mess boy. It sounds demeaning but under the
circumstances at that time that was the best opportunity for him for Inang
Bayan had very little to offer. It was in the early 70's when restrictions were
lifted. My brother in law switched to an electronic technician. He was a lifer,
made chief and served 23 years. Not bad, as he is now receiving that monthly
"From the boondocks of VA"