I did 26.5 years as a Navy Seabee, and retired in June of 2003 and have spent the time since working at the U.S. Naval Academy. Loved being in the Navy and love working at the Academy.
Was a "Dirt Sailor" as being a Seabee meant you did not spend much if anytime onboard a ship. Spent a good deal of time visiting other places such as Guam, Diego Garcia, Okinawa, Puerto Rico, Spain, Saudi Arabia (First Gulf War), Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Korea (only the South side)and a few others. For the most part I had the time of my life, and was always amazed by the ingenuity of my fellow Seabees. Those guys can build just about anything out of nothing. Many of my “shipmates” are serving in Iraq today, and so far I do not know any of the Seabees that have paid the ultimate.
Now I am just as thrilled about working at the Academy. If you ever worry about young folks just come here for about 10 minutes, and you will see the smartest, most dedicated, and focused people I have ever met in my life. I wish I was half as focused as these kids are when I was their age. My wife and I sponsor six Mids (open our house to them on weekends and other times that they can get away from the “yard” and love every moment they can visit us.) Two of our Mids have brothers that are deployed to Iraq, I’m telling you there are some families out there that are really pulling the load for us, and I very proud to know them.
Only TP story I can tell is of our Seabee Camp in Saudi Arabia when I was the XO of NMCB-5. Every day a Pakistani contractor would come by and pump out the wooden "Burn Out" heads. Under the seats were just 55 gallon drums that were cut in half. One of the problems was when whole rolls of TP would drop into the drums and the contractor would try to suck up a whole wet roll. Got stuck in the hose every time. The contractor would put the vacuum into reverse and you would hear the engine strain and pressure build. You would hear a verroooooom and then a pop. Then all would watch as this brown meteor with 3-4 foot streamer arc across the sky for a good 100 yards or so. Fun to watch as long as it didn't hit your tent or land too close. “INCOMING”