Near the end of my active duty service in 1961, I was still working on the psychiatric ward and becoming bored with it. This was also the time for the re-enlistment officer to come calling. I met with him and we discussed all of the possibilities. I was quite happy in the Navy, but not really challenged, so I floated the idea of going to Aviation Medicine School in Pensacola, Florida. This would require a 6 year re-enlistment and they would even give me a $2,000 bonus. I liked it! Then I asked the simple questions; would I be guaranteed the school? And would I be able to leave Camp Lejeune? At this time, Camp Lejeune was a mandatory 4 year duty station for most and I wanted out. I had joined the Navy to see the world…and had been stationed in the Greater Angola Swamp instead. (Honest. That is where the hospital was located.)
The officer tried to tell me that “in all likelihood” I would get the school. But he added, “I can’t guarantee it.” I tried a couple more times to get a guarantee out of him before giving up and telling him I was no longer interested.
In October of that year I was released from active duty and flew home to Manhattan Beach. Now I had to find a job!