A Moment, a Pause, and a Decision

September 9, 2021 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment


I wrote nine novels. The first earned a personal rejection from the head editor of Scribner’s, and I was in the midst of a tailspin. Most of the other 8 were around and about that, but not the cause–of what is now called my PTSD–quite simply because of the warning I received when I got “out” of the Navy. There were 8 others there. The man talking was wearing dress Marine officer’s fatigues without insignia. I knew he was NSA. I encountered BATF (Secret Service) in my second week in Radioman “A” School (straight from the month’s leave after boot camp to there; I never was a Seaman Apprentice–more on that in a moment) about someone’s missing letter? check? package?–I was the mail clerk. I’ve never figured that one out and never investigated it; it was too weird. Anyway, on my DD-214 it shows he was the regional director of the NSA. And across from us on the island, I forgot to mention, were the other 3600 (I am not sure it wasn’t 36,000 but it just didn’t look big enough) enlisted men going from active to inactive. My record was sent to every police agency in the world, including Interpol. If I was to go within 50 miles of a communist border I would be killed by one of the hit teams. [No, you don’t want details or why he would have mentioned that openly to a group of people none of whom even had the clearance to have known about the hit teams…but then he was only looking at me. I had been doing–in my spare time, so to speak–intelligence analysis via third party abstracts. Well, for one thing.

It could be that someone would prefer I don’t continue at some point. There’s no particular reason they actually should except embarrassment. I probably won’t. Stop, I mean, unless by inducement of reward or punishment.

Soon after coming ‘home’–a volume unto itself–I began going crazy. It started with being hired the moment I talked to someone and the next day being told that I couldn’t be hired, and what in the world did I DO in the Navy? I had already figured out I couldn’t answer that question at that time. [I think they’ll try the reward, which would be enormously successful.]

People graduate from boot camp E2 except very rarely. When my (ex)-company commander saw me sewing on the three stripes I told him “No” and then showed him the papers. He already hated me, because his company was the first in the Navy to have no flags–awards of any kind. I’d inadvertently torpedoed that one flag the other company commanders were going to let him have. His problem with me began the day that the scores from the Stanford-Binet IQ test were released and I’d missed only one question (I don’t think he ever knew that prior to the boot camp test I’d answered all questions correctly (the control question was the one on the second test, of course)) and he hated smart people.

I’ll finish with this. I’m the only person to ever graduate from Navy boot camp unable to even tie a square knot. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 7 and that involves extreme sensitivity to bright light. Knot class was facing the setting sun. I would be asleep within 5 minutes from the time the class started (yes, and sleep upright). I wondered for years how the instructor could have missed that.

Then I stopped and thought–40 some odd years later. He didn’t. I had special treatment all the way through, although walking on raw feet from the second day on for 13 weeks did assist with the special treatment.

The last time I checked, the NSA service showed on my home VA page. It first appeared last year. I was separated in 1975. Prior to that time the VA stated I was insane to think I’d worked for the NSA.

Entry filed under: Dying In Free Fall, a Vietnam vet's story. Tags: , , .

A Hint

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