Joining the Navy

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It was a rainy, humid morning on Wednesday, October 8, 2008, a day I could never forget. I turned over calmly and realized it was 4:30am, time to get out of bed. It was the big day. All these thoughts were racing through my head. “What am I doing? Am I sure this is right for me? Will I succeed in this?” I was timid, excited, and fluttered all at the same time. It was the day I’d no longer be a civilian. Eight weeks from that day I’d be calling myself a United States Navy Sailor.

As I woke up and started to get ready, I could feel goose bumps jitter up my spine. What occupied my mind was the thought of leaving my family. I was the last child still living at home. My brother’s were already gone. Would my parents be able to cope? I know my dogs would miss me terribly.

It was time to depart to the recruiting office. From there, NC1 Valencia had to drive me to the Military Entrance Processing Station. That day felt like a surreal blur. NC1 Valencia would give me advice with a big grin on his face, and I would hear him, but not listen. My nerves were overpowering my body and I couldn’t manage them. I then spent the whole day in a building completing all these exams to make sure I was hearty and robust to leave. That day was the longest day of my life. Looking around, I felt at ease. All the other recruits were giving out the same body language I was giving. We were all feeling the same feelings and thinking the same thoughts. I wasn’t alone.

It was time for the Oath of Enlistment Ceremony. A few men in sailor uniforms brought all the recruits into a room with a variety of flags. My family was the only family that attended to take pictures of the big event. I then elevated my right hand, while standing in the position of attention, and reiterated after Chief, “I, Amanda Lazcos, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and…” Using my peripheral vision, I noticed my mother crying. Keeping my...
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