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Shining The Torch For The Navy

, , , , , , | Working | August 28, 2019

I come from the Rust Belt. Joining the military to get good job training and post-service education benefits is pretty common in our area, and in 1982 my youngest sister enlisted in the Navy.

If you have ever been through boot camp, you are aware that the non-commissioned officers who act as drill instructors are a formidable bunch and can reduce a recruit to jelly with one ferocious glare. My sister, like the rest of her unit, was terrified of them.

One night, she was chosen to stand watch and dutifully set out to patrol the barracks, armed only with a heavy, Navy-issue flashlight. In the military, you always carry stuff in your left hand so your right is free for saluting. My sister was not yet “snapped in” to this, and from force of habit, during her watch had switched the flashlight to her right hand.

When the Petty Officer of the Watch showed up unexpectedly, [Sister], in a panic, snapped to attention and saluted. With her right, flashlight-bearing, hand.

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