I Served

February 15th marks the fortieth anniversary of the day I reported to US Navy boot camp and began the greatest adventure of my life. Forty years: where does time go?

SR William C. Pennington May 1977_Edited

Boot Camp, 1977

In twenty-seven years of service, I experienced moments of sheer terror, unfathomable joy, and gut wrenching grief. There were many more happy moments than sad, thousands more great memories than bad, and friendships made in shared hardship that bind soul to soul forever and ever.

I am honored to have experienced the camaraderie of Sailors whose lives belonged to blank faces sitting in a five-sided office building thousands of miles away; the love of family who gave me their complete support; the leadership of men who knew how to lead by example.


Brunswick, Maine 1991


I give thanks that my safe space was a steel vessel maintained by Sailors just like me, and aircraft maintained by Sailors just like me.

I give thanks that the Navy’s halls of learning echoed with the voices of Sailors learning skills that carried America onward and upward rather than against herself.

I give thanks that the nation I served took all comers – black, white, yellow, brown, and red – and sent them to sea trained and ready to work together as a Team rather than fight against one another.


My Wife, Jayne Michiko Ono, 1992

The Navy makes it difficult to fail. Every Sailor is provided the tools to pick up and lead when the chips are falling all around. When Sailors look at each other, they see Sailors. When Sailors see another Sailor in need, they pick him up and carry him until he can carry himself again. When a Sailor finds himself and his shipmates without a leader, he assumes command and leads.

While America fights a civil war between the Left and the Right, a war between


1992 US Atlantic Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year

dependence and independence, Sailors man the rails and serve as America’s ambassadors to the world. Sailors are the face of this great nation.
Every ship and every squadron is a microcosm of society. It’s hard to believe that America’s best can be represented by so few, the United States Navy Sailor.
My heart bursts with joy and pride that America honored me with the opportunity to serve in the United States Navy. I had a grand career. If she called, I would gladly serve her again.


I pity the man who hasn’t served; he can’t but take Freedom for granted.


LCDR William C. Pennington,  USN Retired, 2006

21 thoughts on “I Served

    1. Will Pennington

      You’re very welcome. Thank you for your kind recognition. Since your friend is transferring to Pensacola, I assume he is going into naval aviation. That was my field too. I miss it every day. There is nothing more exciting than launching aircraft from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. I wish him well.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Nickel Boy Graphics

      Oops! That “Anonymous” was me. I wasn’t logged in at the time! Although I didn’t serve, I did work at one of the commissaries here as a vendor stocker for 8 years. it was always a pleasure to help the customers there, particularly the spouses and children of the folks where were serving. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Will Pennington

    I wondered who that was! I was stationed in Norfolk from 92-94. Lived in Chesapeake. Also sailed in and out on many ships, and attended Navy schools there over the years. I miss Waterfront Park and being close to Williamsburg and Yorktown. Lots of history there.


    1. Will Pennington

      You’re welcome, Lori! I love almost every minute of it! My dad was Navy in WWII, then joined the Air Force for family. He missed the Navy though.
      My hat’s off to your Grandfathers; WWII was a tough way to grow up.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s