Sid's N T I N S Locker
The Road Not Traveled
by Cool Bob Berry of the USS Trumpetfish SS-425

29 years ago I walked away from the Navy and to this day I have to wonder if it was the best decision, but the road never traveled is the unknown road. Sure by now I would have received a pension from the Navy and I'm sure life would have been different. I think my decision was based on two facts of why I got out.

One is that I was an Engineman and I didn't want to give up that rate. There is something special about being an Engineman and if I have to explain it to you, you wouldn't understand it anyway. We were a little ranker than the rest of the crew but we had some adhesive that held us together a little tighter than the rest of the crew. I guess a hot compartment and a lot of loud noise does that to a person but being an EN was an experience that creates bonds that I have never experienced before or will I again. It is the unexplainable thing that words leave you a lot short of understanding or explaining.

My second reason for getting out was based on the idea that coming from a diesel boat to a nuke would be a transition that I didn't want to make and that I was unsure of. I felt that on the diesel boats that a judgment was made in a tight situation. If you are still alive you did the right thing, if not it didn't matter. I never did like procedures I always believed in doing what is right at the time and let's talk about it on the surface or forget it since we all are dead. That is what I liked about the Diesel boats; the spontaneity of the situation. 29 years has possibly changed that attitude and being involved on this BBS has changed my mind that maybe this is not the way it was, but that is what I believed at the time and made the decisions at that time.

So here I sit 29 years later and wonder if it was a good decision to get out of the Navy and again I have to think that the road not traveled is the road unknown. What I do know is that I have a lot of great admiration for those of you who have spent a lot more time in the Navy that I did. I have a greater admiration for those who served on the Nuclear boats during my time and forward because they have endured things that I never had to or know much about.

What has changed my mind from 29 year ago? In a word I would say the BBS but then again the BBS is words on a screen to me and I have to assume the same to you. I think it is knowing that we all are a fraternity of guys that have shared common experiences and have an understanding of one another that exceeds understanding from the rest of the world. It has to do with being blunt honest with each other and saying what needs to be said rather than what you want to hear. It is guys that would stand up for you when they knew you were wrong. I was serving with guys who came from such a diverse background different than you and yet you cut through all that crap and never thought about it since they were your shipmate, hell brothers.

So I sit here and wonder if I should have ever gotten out of the Navy, folks I don't know, really. What I do know is that when I discovered the BBS it got a lot of wheels in motion and through this media I have met the same guys that I left 29 years ago. You all are the same guys that I knew 29 years ago and that make me feel good to again be connected with one hell of a group of guys that I feel a bond to.

Personally I don't know each of you but then I do in a special way. Those I have met I can say that 29 years have never existed. It is as if the conversation never ended.

Cool Bob

Sid's N T I N S Locker