I went into the Navy in 1966 and never learned to swim. People ask me today, “How could you be in the Navy and not know how to swim?” The answer is really quite simple: all I had to do was jump off the deep end and float to the other side. And of course, one of those jumps was with smacking the dungaree pants that were tied with knots on the deck and filling them with air. Then the jump in the deep end was actually fun. We didn’t have to go through the gas chamber either. We had a gas mask on our desk and looked at it. (But then women weren’t on ships yet.)
My first duty station out of boot camp was NAS Jacksonville, Fla. I got saluted a bit because guys weren’t used to seeing women around and mistook me for an officer.
I had several good girlfriends that had to get out because of pregnancy, but they put up a fight because they wanted to stay in. I got married to a Marine and got pregnant and got out, but years later I came back in and retired after 20 years and after serving a year after 9/11.
We honor you, Grace David.