Experiences in the Navy | Teen Ink

Experiences in the Navy

September 11, 2008
By Anonymous

It was 4:30 in the morning on the CVA 31, the USS Bon Homme Richard. It was January 19, 1968, and Rodney, my grandfather, was a 3rd class petty officer and an electrical technician. He worked with ground support wires and AC/DC generation systems for the planes, and he was just called up to the deck to fix the machine that started the planes. He could be called to work at anytime during the day, no matter what the weather was like. He had decided to join the Navy when he was seventeen because he thought it was the “proper thing to do” for his country. After three years of working on the USS Bonhomme Richard, he came home to Fort Recovery, Ohio, the place he had always lived. When he returned home, he joined the Fort Recovery Volunteer Fire Department for fourteen years. He learned to be thankful for what he has and to make that best of it. My grandfather is a hero because he was brave for risking his life, smart for learning from others’ mistakes or accomplishments, patriotic for fulfilling his duty to serve his country, and unselfish for risking his life and leaving his family.

Rodney, my grandfather, was born on November 20, 1948 in Fort Recovery, Ohio. As a kid, he always was very independent. He sometimes did not see his family for a whole week. He was always interested in mechanics and the military. He would even read stories and articles about the military when he was a kid. He signed up for the Navy when he was seventeen years old, and he was sent out a few days after he turned eighteen.

Rod would have joined the Navy whether the war with Vietnam was going on or not. He always felt that it was the proper thing to do and thought it was his duty to serve his country. When he returned home after three years at war, it was different, but a relief for him to be home. On the ship, they had the clothes washed and their food made, but when he got home, he had to get used to taking care of himself again. He decided to join the Fort Recovery Volunteer Fire Department when he returned. During his training for the Navy, he was taught to fight fires, so he already knew how to extinguish them. He had learned how to go to the fire, operate equipment, spray the water, let smoke out, take care of yourself, and most importantly, how to rescue someone. Even though he was trained how to rescue someone, he fortunately never had to rescue someone in danger. Fourteen years later, he stopped fighting fires. To this day, he still works with electronics, teaching and learning from new people.

One of the most important heroic traits of my grandpa is his wisdom. He said that the way he has helped people the most is showing people what he has found through experience. “People can’t learn everything by themselves, that’s why we should learn from others’ mistakes and accomplishments.” As he has gotten older, he has learned a lot, such as people are very different. One example is a guy from Georgia that was on the ship with him. Once when he and the guys from the ship took a break in Japan, they were not allowed into an oriental-only bar. The man from Georgia was very mad that he was being discriminated, even though he was discriminate against blacks in the South. He also has learned from other people, such as to be happy for what you have. This is similar to when Odysseus learned from leaders’ mistakes in the Trojan War. My grandpa learned a lot in the Navy, and this makes him even more of a hero.

Another important trait of my grandfather is his bravery. Bravery is an important trait because it is what keeps the person from backing down from a task that is intimidating or daunting. My grandpa showed bravery when he joined the army and left his family when he was just eighteen. This would have been frightening in many ways. He knew there was a chance that he might die, and he knew that he would be on his own. My grandpa said that he was not very worried about dying for two reasons. First, his ship was far enough away from shore that they were safe. Second, he was eighteen and “When you’re eighteen, you feel invincible.” His bravery was like Odysseus’s because Odysseus also had to overcome his fears when he went to war, and when he had to escape monsters. My grandpa’s bravery is the trait that made him stand up to his fear.

Patriotism is an important heroic trait. My grandpa showed this when served in the military for his country. The WWII veterans taught his generation that it was the best thing to serve your country. He always felt that it was his duty to serve in the military, and that it was “the proper thing to do.” He would have joined the military, regardless of whether or not the war with Vietnam was going on. This shows his patriotism: he was willing to go into the unknown for his country, even if it meant not returning. Odysseus shows patriotism when he fights for his nation against the Trojans. My grandpa’s patriotism was the reason he joined the Navy and learned a lot of what he knows today.

Unselfishness is one of the most important traits that a lot of heroes lack. It is one of the hardest traits to have. Instincts tell you not do something because you might die. Even though my grandfather knew he might die in Vietnam, he was unselfish and joined to help his country, not to become a hero. A lot of men and woman today might join the military just to achieve the glory that comes with it. My grandfather did not care about the glory; he just wanted to help. Odysseus is unselfish when he leaves his family to go off to war, but he is selfish when he risks his men’s lives for his curiosity. Unselfishness is one of my grandfather’s most important traits because he values it like an accomplishment.

My grandpa did not recommend joining the military, but he said, “It’s an option.” You don’t have to join the military to learn and experience new things. The best advice that my grandfather ever received was from his dad. That advice was to never be narrow-minded. If you are narrow-minded, then you will be oblivious to most of the things in the world that you can learn from. This is what my grandpa was all about: learning. Many things such as bravery, wisdom, patriotism, and unselfishness are the traits that make my grandpa a hero.

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