Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Sailor Boy

Jim began his military service in January 1968 at the Naval Training Center in San Diego.  He hadn’t been back since he completed his training, so today we took a trip down that military memory lane. 

The NTC opened in 1923 and provided sailors basic and advanced training.  The base reached a peak population of 40,000 sailors during he Korean War; during Vietnam as many as 18,000 recruits were there at a time.  In 1997 the NTC was closed and given to the city of San Diego.  Today it’s a mixed-use community of homes, shops, restaurants, cultural centers, and military museums/displays.

After visiting the NTC we went to “Dog Beach” in the town of Ocean Beach.  Dog Beach is exactly what it sounds like. Then we had lunch in “OB” as it’s called and wandered the shops.

Jim, Cooper and an employee of the NTC Foundation in front of the former NTC command center/now NTC Foundation HQ and NTC museum. The gracious employee told us about how the NTC was being used today, and pointed out an Admiral James Stockdale Museum inside this building.  Admiral Stockdale was last known for a couple of odd statements during the 1992 vice presidential debate (he was Ross Perot's running mate and said  "Who am I? Why am I here?" as his opening statement; later he asked for a question to be repeated because he had his hearing aid turned down).   But Stockdale was one of the most highly decorated officers in  the history of the Navy and the highest-ranking naval officer ever held as a POW in Vietnam.  He was a  POW for 7 years.
Jim in front of another beautiful NTC buildings. The NTC is on the Register of Historic Places.  Building are in the Mission Revival Style which features courtyards, arches and clay tile roofs. Jim does not remember the buildings being quite this nice.
The back view of the NTC Command Center. Jim was at the NTC for nine months until he got orders to go to Guam.  He said he had to go to the library and look up where (and what) Guam was.  He was hoping for Hawaii, but at least it wasn’t Vietnam.
Jim and Cooper looking at the "52 Boats Memorial" at the NTC, which honors 52 submarines lost in World War II and the 3505 sailors aboard who died.
Cooper makes friends at Dog Beach in the Ocean Beach District of San Diego.
Cooper ignoring Jim's commands to come. 
Bev eating fish tacos at the Sunshine Cafe in Ocean Beach.


  1. Just wondering....did you run into Jethro Gibbs?

  2. Jim said he had a bad experience with the NCIS and prefers to avoid them. (He is kind of cute, tho. I'm talking about Jim.)