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3/365 – Honoring George L. Clayton 3rd

January 5, 2012

My name is George L. Clayton 3rd. I joined the United States Navy in 1988 at the age of 18. I went to San Diego for boot camp and A School from 1988 until 1999. I was also stationed on the USS Shenandoah AD-44 out of Norfolk Virginia from 1989 till 1991.

George L. Clayton 3rd

I decided as a confused 17 year old boy that it was time to become a man and take a different approach to my future. I didn’t have many choices given the fact that I already thought I was ahead of the curve because I had a steady job as a teen with no worries in the world. And, like most teens my age, I knew everything. One Monday morning, after partying the entire weekend, I woke up and told myself that this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to be self-sufficient and successful. At this point in my life, I had already quit school at 16, nor had I attended college. I had no Idea what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do as a career so I decided to join the U.S. Navy. I chose the Navy because I didn’t want to be in one place for a long period of time. I wanted to see the world and Top Gun was awesome. So on October 6th 1988 I went to MEPS, swore in, and off to San Diego I went.

When I first got off the plane there was a Sailor in his dress blues waiting for 10 of us at the airport. When we arrived they herded us through like cattle to issue us our new digs for the next 12 weeks. They lined us up outside, after which we got to meet our company Commander. What a really nice guy; he had a lot of nice things to say about my mother and father. He also kept referring to my buttocks and how it belonged to him (uncomfortable). It was then that I knew it was going to be a blast. The first night was crazy to say the least. I didn’t get to sleep until around 2am, racking up a meager 3 hours of sleep until they woke us up with the trash cans at 5am. Still in my 80’s mullet, I paraded around base to the chow hall for breakfast with my fellow newbies. We marched tallest to shortest in line for meal time, which counted down from when the first guy sat. I’m 5’ 8”, not the tallest guy of the bunch, so I didn’t get to eat the first week. To adjust, I quickly learned how to inhale my food without choking.

Being in the Military made me realize that “Veteran” was not just a word for an old person from Vietnam.  It made me realize the sacrifice and hard work veterans so proudly endure in order to to keep the U.S. secure.

If it wasn’t for the Navy I don’t know where I would be in life right now. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. I’m glad that the military gave me tools in life to be self-sufficient, respectful and thankful.  My experience in the military has driven my success in my current career and as a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT.

If I had to make the same decision as a 17-year-old young man again I would go back in again. I would change a few things, however. For instance, instead of being a machinist I would have done something in the electrical or accounting field. I would also take some college courses while in service to speed up my career after the military.

I made a lot of friends in the military, some more like brothers, that I have lost touch with. I cannot explain why we have all moved on except that we are all busy raising families now. If any of you are reading this post, believe me when I say I cherish every moment we had. These are memories that I will never forget and I miss you all. To all the Active Military and Vets, THANK YOU!!!!!!!

George Clayton United States Navy Veteran

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2012 6:51 pm

    Thanks for your service, George.

  2. Janet permalink
    January 6, 2012 7:45 pm

    Please accept my gratitude for your service to our country. I shared this link with my grandson who is currently in A-school in Monterey. Hope it serves as a reminder, if he ever gets down and needs one, as to why he joined the Navy. Your story is full of wisdom and humor….now about that old person from Viet Nam! I must be old because I was expecting to read WWII as your reference.

  3. Lauren permalink
    January 6, 2012 6:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story and your service for our country.

    I love your sense of humor on meeting your commander. 🙂

  4. Jennifer permalink
    January 6, 2012 9:08 am

    Simply put, thank you.

  5. kianys permalink
    January 6, 2012 7:54 am

    Thank you so much for your service, Mr. Clayton.

    Words always fail me, when talking to active members of the fighting forces or veterans, because I do not know how to express my gratitude to them.

    Please just know, that your service is appreciated, grately appreciated.

    I know we can never give back enough to you and others who decide to stand up for others risking their life in the process.

    • January 6, 2012 8:33 am

      A simple thank you means more than you might think, there are some veterans, it seems particularly those from earlier wars who have never been thanked for their service to their country. So, it really does mean a lot to them just to hear to those words.

      • January 6, 2012 2:08 pm

        Tina, You’re right, a simple thank you does mean so much, but it also humbling. As I shared yesterday I am a spouse, and I do much advocacy work for military families. When ever someone thanks me for what ever help I’ve provided, I tear up as it does make such a huge difference, but on the flip side I tell them it’s just what I do… We want people to know what we experience and just appreciate it no matter what the job or how long we’re “in”. The verbal or written thank you is just an added bonus. Our members and spouses do what we do because we’re commited to our country and her security and well being.

        Mr. Clayton, thank you for your service in the military and your continued service as a volunteer Firefighter/EMT. I’m a Navy brat myself and my Uncle Jim was stationed out of San Diego for 20 years (don’t ask how he pulled that off LOL) and my family was stationed in both SD and Little Creek Amphib. Fun places 🙂 Anyway, thank you for sharing your story with us, and for commiting yourself to our country!

  6. January 6, 2012 6:27 am

    George,

    Here’s an old person from Vietnam [ 🙂 ] tipping his (white) hat to you and thanking you for picking up the torch of service from my generation. The military needs to be constantly renewed by people like you willing to give up a few years of your freedom for your country’s freedom.

    John

  7. Jackie Paulson permalink
    January 6, 2012 1:30 am

    I want to thank you for the honor of today’s vet writing and George L. Clayton 3rd and I love the quote “It made me realize the sacrifice and hard work veterans so proudly endure in order to to keep the U.S. secure.”
    I do Security now and it’s harder than we all know. Bless you,.

  8. xpodesignva permalink
    January 5, 2012 9:55 pm

    Thanks tshang for this blog it is a great way to honor our veterans.
    .And to Mr. Clayton, I agree I also went into the Navy at 17 just out of high school with no real direction in my life, I owe it to the Navy for getting me away from nowhere and helping me to grow.

    • January 5, 2012 10:02 pm

      Thank you. I am honored that these fine men and women have granted me the opportunity to share their amazing stories here. ~Tina

  9. January 5, 2012 9:13 pm

    George thank you for reminding us that “Veteran” is not a title reserved only for those who served during war time, or those who saw battle. Each and every individual who has served their country has earned the title. It is fair to say that the sacrifices of some were greater than others, but all made sacrifices, all had the potential to be in harms way. I hope that every one of you that has served knows that you have honored your country and each of us with your service. It is only right that society and the government honor their debt to you now.

    George as far as I am concerned you continue to be a hero in your service to your community as an EMT and Volunteer Fireman, as I told you before these occupations are under-appreciated and underpaid. Thank you for your participation in this project and to your continued service. ~Tina

  10. January 5, 2012 9:08 pm

    Thank you for your service to our Country, Mr. Clayton!! The Navy was fortunate to have you serve, and we are grateful that you are a proud Veteran of the greatest Nation of the World.

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  1. 365 Veterans day 4 | Boudica BPI Weblog

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