The Bond

As I was reaching the end of my career, “what’s next” was on my mind. I started networking friends, relatives and anyone I could think of for my next career.
As a nuclear-trained submarine qualified Machinists Mate I assumed the process would be easy. It was easier but not easy. It still took a lot of time to line up that dream job. I found an opportunity and soon after came the day that my wife and I said it’s time. Let’s do it.
Retiring from a large shore command entailed the big retirement ceremony and the next thing I knew I was piped over the side and in the Fleet Reserve. The ceremony had been a little emotionally draining but when over I was glad to have had the time to say goodbye to my many shipmates. I had always been told that the retirement ceremony was for them to say goodbye and not for me. I found that to be very true.
As I started my new job in a new state I also anxiously waited for that first retirement check. The first direct deposit hit the bank and it finally hit me, I am retired. I was lucky to have found a job where I had the opportunity to work with many former and retired sailors like myself. It seems most civilian nuclear power plants back then were staffed by ex-navy vets.
As I progressed into retirement I realized I missed many things from my active duty days but most of all I missed the Goat Locker. For those who do not know, the Goat Locker is the name of the Chief’s Mess onboard a shore installation, ship or submarine. The Chiefs at any command are a close knit group bonded by ties associated with their rank. Anyway, about this time the Internet just got rolling and I was a computer nut so I started a website for Navy Chiefs. It still is in operation today after 20 years. The website helped me reconnect with my fellow Chiefs but that is another long story and I am writing about retirement.
As time passed I changed jobs and retirement set in firmly even though I resisted. Still wearing a uniform but now it was a civilian suit. (Yuck) The website had helped but I still missed my Navy. By now I even missed the inspections, audits, exams, tests, long deployments etc. The memories helped but I was retired.
It really hit me when the newest submarine I had been stationed on was decommissioned. Wow that was a blow. Even the one ship I had been stationed on was moth balled. But then I got the letter. The one piece of paper that really makes me retired. My transfer from the Fleet Reserve to the retired list.
Ok. I am retired and never again to sail the seas. No more haze grey and underway. No more punching holes in the ocean on a submarine. No more liberty in Subic Bay, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Perth, Pusan, Chinhae, Sasebo, Sitka, Adak (haha), Acapulco, Vancouver BC, Nanaimo, Fleet Week in San Fran, Holy Loch, La Maddalena, and I could go on.
Ok. I am retired but I still love my Navy. It is my Navy. It may be the new Navy with a motto of “A Global Force for Good” instead my old Navy motto of “Join the Navy and See the World” or “It’s not a job. It’s an Adventure.” So they may have a new Navy with a new motto, new rules and requirements but I will hold onto my old Navy memories forever because I am retired. The bottom line is it is not the old Navy or the new Navy, it is our Navy. Hand Salute, I stand relieved.
MMCM(SS) Greg Peterman USN Retired
Webmaster of the Goat Locker