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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Writing Your Own History

Here are some questions to help you organize your oral/written history:

Include your name, rank or pay grade, including rating or specialty you held when in the Navy.

  • Why did you join the Navy?
  • When did you join the Navy and when did you leave the service?
  • Did you go through boot camp at Great Lakes or at one of the other boot camps? Which one?
    Where was the first place you went to when you arrived at Great Lakes. (Incoming Detention, Uniform Issue, etc.)
  • How long was boot camp when you went through it?
  • Where on the base were you stationed (which camp, where was it) ?
  • What was your first impression of the Navy or of Great Lakes?
  • Who was your Company Commander/Recruit Division Commander (RDC)? What do you remember most about him/her?
  • What is your best memory of Great Lakes/boot camp? Your worst?
    What was a typical day of training like?
  • What was your favorite part of training? What was your least favorite?
  • Did the training prepare you for life in the fleet?
  • What was your first command/ship?
  • Have you been back to Great Lakes since? When? What changes did you notice the most?
  • How did your service in the Navy change your life? Better or worse?
  • What would you tell today's recruits/sailors?

If you are a member of a minority, we are especially interested in your story.

During WWII, boot camp training was segregated; with a few notable exceptions (Golden 13 and USS Mason and PC 1264 crew stories) there is not much first-hand information about what it was like to be a member of Camp Robert Smalls (the African-American boot camp).

If you are a woman who joined during wartime, or if you were one of the first to serve aboard ships or aboard combatants, when the combat exclusion rule was lifted, we would like to hear your stories.

Published: Tue Jul 29 12:18:39 EDT 2014