Veterans Day 2014 / How and Why I Joined the U.S. Army

John H. Golden, Sr.
John H. Golden, Sr.

My father was a Marine and my mother a Department of the Navy civilian.

I was graduating high school during the Vietnam War years. I wanted to go to college. My father said NO to helping me pay for college.

OK, so … the military offered college tuition if you joined. Being the son of a Marine I went down to talk to the USMC recruiter. He wasn’t in. That night I told my girlfriend and she went ballistic. NO, no, no … she said that I wasn’t going in the Marines … to set me straight she called a family friend that knew all about the military and asked him to call me.

Her friend was an Army recruiter. It never occured to her to ask how he knew so much about the military.

My father: John Henry Golden Sr, 1934-2001, Korean War Vet, USMC

I went on to serve in the U.S. Army from July 5, 1974-April 1, 1996.

 

Veterans Days 2014 / The Navy, Me, and Donuts – 1968

When I was 12 I lived next door to a Navy family. The father served on a destroyer at Mayport, Jacksonville, Florida.

Each year they would have family day. The whole family was welcome to come aboard ship and they sailed several hours out to sea and then back. It was long enough that you got a full meal and lots of snacks out of it. They snuck me aboard as a ‘son’.

We were allowed to wander most of the ship without adult escort, to include wandering in and out of the messhall. I grew up eating very basic food without hardly any frills. The messhall had trays of donuts of all kinds and you could drink all the chocolate milk that you wanted — things which were unknown at my house. That was almost enough to convince me that the Navy offered opportunities.

Donuts