My Navy Experience
Fleet Training Center on Treasure Island


Black is Black
 

Boot Camp Training Center PACFLT Task force 71/117 Homeward Bound

 

I arrived at the Fleet Training Center on Treasure Island on the 29th of January 1967. Tom and I had about a week to get situated, set up a locker

 

and explore the facilities  (http://www.militarymuseum.org/YBI.html) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerba_Buena_Island).

Tom and I were to attend electronics school while Sid attended radar school.

The three of us kept up our explorations of the area on the weekends. We explored the peninsula south and west of the city

and the vistas from the south of the city.

 

 We also drove across the Golden Gate Bridge

 

and enjoyed the vistas from Sausalito on the north side of the bay.

 

We explored farther north along the coast to Point Reyes National Seashore

 

My mothers sister, Violet, and her husband, Erwin, lived in an apartment in San Francisco not far from Chinatown   I spent a lot of time with them when I wasn't exploring or going to school. I even helped Aunt Vi learn to drive. Tom and I went for dinner on a few occasions.

 

Sometime during all this, I received a "Dear John" letter from Muff, along with the ring I had given her. We had not seen each other since Christmas and it would be another four months before I would see her again. I believe she was anxious to get hitched and have children. At any rate, she had met someone whom I had played football with in high school, Van Horn High School in Independence, MO. (They married and had two fine children, a boy and a girl. Muff is the only person that I was ever engaged to and the only person, besides my mother, to have known all three of my wives. She now lives with her second husband

just north of "Pauline's Place" in Gravois Mills, Missouri.) I had the engagement ring made into a clover pin for my mother and a tie tack for my dad.

Shortly after I received the "Dear John" letter, my parents visited San Francisco. We had a good visit and they enjoyed visiting Vi and Erwin.
Also, about this time, I ran into a high school football buddy from Raytown High School, Jeff Breinig. He soon joined Tom, Sid and I on some explorations and adventures. We all decided that we should try snow skiing. We drove up to Mt. Lassen National Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lassen_Peak).
I don't recall if anyone actually skied. I rented all of the necessary equipment, walked out the door of the lodge, looked up at the beginners hill and threw all the equipment down and said "no way am I going to ski down that hill". I haven't tried to ski since.
After that experience, we stayed closer to the base. Jeff was flying back to Kansas City about every other weekend to see his girl friend and Sid, Tom and I continued to be tourists. Telegraph Hill became one of our favorite spots.

My cousin, Debra Kreiger (Brunette) from Austin, TX, brought a friend to visit

and Aunt Vi took us to Stinson Beach one afternoon.

To get there from San Francisco, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge and over a mountain that seemed magical.  I knew that I would be back to that mountain with the guys!

One day, Jeff, Sid, Tom and I were exploring the roads around Telegraph Hill and found Lombard Street. That is one crooked street! It led us to another discovery, The Presidio.
On weekends after payday, we would go to The Presidio and toss down a few beers at the enlisted men's club. One evening I was bumming cigarettes (Tareytons only) from the guy across the table and betting beers on how fast he could swallow a full glass. I doubt if anyone could beat him. He didn't have a swallowing reflex. The glasses just poured straight down. His name was Ron Trow and it turned out that we were opposing tackles in high school. He was a left tackle for Chrystman High School and I was a right tackle for Van Horn High School, opposing teams in Independence, Missouri. We became close and won a lot of free beers. (That was the only time in my life that I ever smoked. Only Tareytons that I bummed at The Presidio.)
There were times at The Presidio when I would get sick and even pass out in the grave yard behind the club. After I had "rested", the boys would wake me to drive them home. The short cut to get back to the Oakland Bay Bridge was to drive up Lombard Street, the wrong way. It was usually quite late and I never met a car coming down. I tended to speed just a little getting back to the base and sometimes as many as five police cars would be chasing me. I would stay in the outside lane on the bridge to make them think that I was going all the way across, then cut across four lanes and turn off on Yerba Buena Island at the last instant. The Marine guards at the entrance gate to the base would stop the police and I would have just enough time to hide the car.
One of the things that we did on the weekends between paydays was to hang out on a street corner in San Francisco. The corner of Haight and Ashbury.
We first went like tourists to gawk at the Hippies, then discovered the music. We certainly did not have long hair, but we sided more with the Hippies than the tourists. The cars would be lined up bumper to bumper to see the hippies. I thought that I could have the tourists looking at me just like they did the Hippies. It was like switching from the outside of the cage to being the one in the cage, zoo-like. Anyway, I had this madras beanie cap from the New York Worlds Fair and had stuck it full of buttons that I had collected (the ones with crazy sayings like "Reality is Relative") and picked up some odd sunglasses made from chandelier tear drop glass. One lens was purple, the other orange. There was no way to actually see through them, but they looked pretty "far out" with the beanie cap and my Missouri Tigers champion t-shirt (#69) from the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The tourists were gawking at me now instead of the Hippies. One of them almost wrecked his car while watching me. I was pleased.
May is a particularly foggy month in Northern California. I once almost walked off the end of Treasure Island while doing my rounds on guard duty. When the fog set in, it would be misty and forty degrees on the peninsula. So, the other thing we did between paydays was to take a three pound jar of peanut butter and a pound of crackers along with at least two cases of beer to the top of Mt. Tamalpais for the weekend. Tom, Sid and I

 and Jeff and I

would enjoy the panoramas

and the seventy degree clear skies of the mountain.


Living on beer and vitamins with some occasional peanut butter and crackers may have been a contributing factor, but the last two weeks of electronics school were not good. I just could not grasp the concept or function of these new devices that we were studying called transistors. They just did not jive with the tube theories we had been studying up until then.
The last weekend before I was "reassigned", we all spent on top of Mt. Tam. We actually explored our surroundings on the top of the mountain while we said goodbye to each other and stumbled into a little concert being held in the amphitheater. It was called The Magic Mountain Music Festival.
I left the following week for ten days leave before reporting for duty to PAC Fleet San Diego.
 

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