For the first time in quite a long time, I write here tonight not as a member of the crew of USS Memphis. The physical, final checkout, and tying up of all loose ends save one was completed today. At the above stated hour, I emerged from the hull of the boat from the final time, taking a few moments out to thank and wish well those members of the crew who I passed. I did take one last look back, but quickly swiveled my head back around to focus on what lies ahead. The one loose end I mentioned was the inability to sign my DD214 forms this afternoon. They did not reflect the fact that I'd been frocked to E-6, and some required information was not at hand, so I'll have to go back to PSD next week to close that out.
I had imagined the events of this day several times over the last few months...and they were just as anticlimactic as I expected them to be. Getting out of the Navy is a downsized version of going into the Navy - sheafs of paperwork. Of course, it's most important paperwork; it is, after all, what effects "now you're a Sailor...and now you're not."
I can't help but admit that it does feel most different. For the last six years, some sort of routine has been ingrained into me. From the heavy regimentation of boot camp, to the classes and study hours of "A" School and Power School, to the rotating shift work of prototype, to the eighteen-hour rotation of underway life, to the workdays and duty days of in-port. They are all now things of my past. I do, every so often, ask myself "so, what do I do now?" And it never takes long to come up with the answer: whatever I want!