I’m amazed to think how unaware I was, beyond the desire to stay out of the
Army.  If my eyes had been better I would have gone into the Air Force and might
have ended up at the Hanoi Hilton.  The Air Force would have taken me but not as
a pilot.  I opted for Naval Nuclear Power School (in those days a math degree
was good enough) and went through a selection process which included an
interview with Admiral Rickover.
The Navy sent me through the Army’s induction center in Kansas City.  We
were given an unlocked locker for our clothes and a small paper bag for our
valuables.  The first step was to get weighed, and the first guy in line looked
around for a place to put down his paper bag.  The sergeant said, “Just keep the
bag in your hand, son.  If your money weighed that much you wouldn’t be
I started Officer Candidate School in November, 1969.  There were people in
the classes ahead of me who got good lottery numbers and decided to drop out of
OCS, a month or two ahead of getting their commissions.  At that time the Navy
was simply releasing them.  My number was 98.  I’m not sure what I would have
done with a better number, but as it was I got a lot of uniquely valuable
training and experience, serving four years as a nuclear submarine