After a few months had passed, I was eligible for promotion to E3, Hospitalman. I took the test, passed and was promoted. At the same time, newer Hospitalmen arrived to work at the hospital and I began to enjoy a little seniority. That gave me better shifts to work or my choice of shifts.
After about 9 months had passed, I took another exam and was promoted to E4, a non-commissioned officer (HM3). That not only gave me more money, the promotion allowed me to move out of the barracks where 12 men slept in each dorm, to a private room…well, sort of private. I had to share the room with another E4. I was moving on up! But I was getting bored with my job. It was always the same, only the names of the patients changed. Four times a year, the Marines conducted a training assault on the beach at Wrightsville and we would see a slight increase in hospital admissions. Then there were assaults on the island of Vieques, (Puerto Rico) and that always produced some injuries. But nothing really exciting seemed to happen.
Then a friend of mine suggested that there might be an opening for an HM3 in the Neuropsychiatry wards. There were two NP wards, one a minimum security and the other a maximum security ward, locks everywhere! The only hitch in the plan would be the fact that I wasn’t an NP Technician. You had to attend a 12 week school in Washington, DC to obtain the technician status.
This same friend told me that NP Tech’s were in limited supply and I might be able to take the position and receive on-the-job training in lieu of a formal school. Well, it was the chance to do something different and I decided to apply.
After an exhaustive interview with the units two doctors, Lieutenants Kilduff and Boyajian, I was accepted and began a new career on the maximum security ward, where I thought that there would be a chance for some excitement…