As a Sea Cadet, I participated in many TWT’s (two-week training summer training sessions as they were then called), including a two-week operational training cruise on the nuclear carrier, USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on which, as part of the Quartermaster’s department, I not only got a first hand view of flight ops in the “VACAPES” off of Norfolk, observed Soviet incursions by AGI’s and Tu-95 “Bear” aircraft, and to plot courses, but steered her helm for a solid half hour under the supervision of my assigned active duty “running mate”. Others of our group worked on the flight deck itself during flight ops–closely supervised and directed by their running mates, of course.
On the USS Glover (FFG-1098) I got to hang out in sonar and listen to whales, work as a deckhand, observe all kinds of sea life (including an Ocean Sunfish, a Whale Shark, and plenty of dolphins and flying fish) on our way from Norfolk up to Rockland, Maine for their annual Seafood Festival and back. Other TWT’s I was able to participate in included Recruit Training at then-NTC Orlando Florida (with a day in Disney World), Basic aviation school designed for Sea Cadets at NAS Willow Grove, PA, do field firing and maneuvers with the SeaBees (RNMCB-21) during their two week reserve annual training in Quantico, VA, with a trip to Washington, D.C., trips to the New London and Groton, CT, to the Sub Base with time in their emergency wet-trainer, and many others too numerous to continue here. All this led to a great interest in the Navy-Marine Corps team and an eventual career as a Marine Corps officer via the U.S. Naval Academy.