Naval Career, Boot camp 1954-1955.

My Name:  Lucio (John) DiLoreto

My Address: 9430 NE 31 ST; Bellevue, WA 98004

My E-Mail Address:

In The Beginning.


I entered the navy on 27 October 1954.  After being sworn in at Los Angeles, California, I rode the bus to San Diego, California to begin boot camp.  Boot camp was inconvenient but not impossible.  I was in company 338 for the year 1954.  Unfortunately, I did not keep in contact with any of my boot camp shipmates.  The picture above is the picture taken of our boot camp company.  Company 1955-338, RecruitTraining Center, San Diego, California. 


The memories that I have about boot camp are all good.  I can still remember the first morning, standing about four deep in front of a sink, trying to shave what little fuzz I had on my face.  Wondering what I had been thinking about when I enlisted for four years of this. 


That same morning was my first time through a chow line.  We had lines for everything.  When it was my turn for breakfast, the cook asked me how I would like my eggs.  To my amazement, I was served eggs exactly as I had ordered them.  The food remained good and plentiful throughout my naval career. 


We started early in the morning and went until late at night.  We did a lot of marching and usually spent one-half of each day in a classroom.  We were mainly taught seamanship.  There was a mockup ship on the training center grounds and our company spent one day running around this wooden “ship,” the U. S. S. Recruit. 


We stood watches at night just like the real navy.  The shower water was usually cold.  One learned how to take a cold-water shower and it ceased to be an issue.  If someone resisted taking a shower, a kiyi party was held in his honor and his non-showering was no longer a problem.  Our chief, MMC Harmon, was mean but fair.


We learned how to fire the M-1 rifle and spent a day at Camp Elliott qualifying.  We usually carried rifles when marching but they were the ’06 Springfield and not the modern, M-1.


We had two uniforms to wear during our entire eleven weeks.  One to wear and one to wash.  Before going to bed, we would wash one uniform and hang it properly.  It would usually dry during the next day and become the following day’s uniform.  Our chief patrolled the hanging clothes.  If you hung a dirty piece of clothing or if the tie-ties were not regulation, your life could become miserable. 


On one occasion that I remember, when we returned to the barracks after class, the chief had spread the offending clothes on the ground.  He then made us march back and forth over these clothes.  If they were dirty when we started, think of how dirty they must have become with eighty men marching back and forth over them.  Our chief had a number of good ideas such as this.  If your bag were not laid out correctly on your bunk, he would open a window and throw everything out of the window.


At the time, I attended boot camp; male Philippine citizens were recruited to serve as stewards in the navy.  The stewards possessed a designator that indicated that they were stewards and that they could not be anything but a steward during their naval career.  One of the men in my company had a doctorate from a Philippine university.  There was no chance for him to obtain a job in the Philippines so he entered the navy to spend a career pouring coffee for officers.  This system has been abandoned in today’s navy.



While in boot camp, we took many tests to determine the best schools to place us in upon graduation.  We were interviewed after the tests were completed and based on the interview and the test scores we were assigned to the appropriate school.  I was ordered to FT A school upon graduation from boot camp.  Fire control technician, A school.  "A" school is the first school that a technician attends in his or her naval career.  I also applied for flight training.  As most people who know me realize that I am vertically challenged.  When I applied for flight training an aviation physical examination was required.  This was a two-day physical examination.  At the end of the first day, the corpsman stated that it was time to be weighed and measured.  I was concerned that I would be too short to meet the five foot six-inch requirement.  Therefore, I asked the corpsman if I could be measured in the morning.  He was a sailor just as I was and he readily agreed to let me be measured in the morning.  I arrived about fifteen minutes early and hung from the doorsill until he came in to measure me.  I was five feet seven inches tall.  The tallest I have ever been in my life.