In the fifth week or there about, we met with the career counselors to map out our future in the Navy. We would discuss our interests and what we would like to do and weigh that against the results of our aptitude tests and other test that we took batteries of up to this point in training.
C.C. (career counselor): “rel, you’ve done well in all your exams and you can go to any school the Navy offers.”
rel: “No kidding? What would you suggest?”
rel: “I was thinking I’d like to work on airplanes, you know, like an airplane mechanic.”
C.C.: That sounds like a good choice rel. I’ll sign you up for “A” school in Aircraft maintenance school.”
rel: “Thank you sir. Oh, it won’t make any difference will it if I were color blind?”
C.C.: It sure would rel. If you were color blind you’d only be eligible for a couple of Navy rates. Your not, so why do you ask?”
The counselor picks up my health and physical exam folder and thumbs through it ‘til he finds the page he wants and shows it to me. I look where his finger is pointing and read normal color vision. He then asks me why I think I’m color blind.
Rel: “You know when you’re taking your physical and all that health screening stuff, and the put you in that room and turn off all the lights, and they explain that you are to look at the apparatus on the far wall, up about 6 or 7 feet. They tell you that behind the two openings, one atop the other are tree colored lights; I’m to tell what color light I see from top to bottom. It could be green, red, or red, green, or green white or white green and so on like that.”
C.C.: “Yes I know the test.”
rel: “Well, I got twenty-four out of twenty-six wrong.”
C.C.: “That’s odd.”
The counselor opens the lower desk drawer and takes out a book with plates on each page of multicolored dots. He shows me a circle and says, “what number, if any, do you see in the circle?”
C.C.: “OK, when I turn the pages you tell me what number you see in the circle.”
rel: “none, none, nothing, nope, nothing there, nope, no nothing.”
C.C.: “I’ll be darned, you are color blind. Boy oh boy, that puts a different look to things.”
rel: “Do I have to get out of the Navy?”
C.C.: “No, but your choices of “A” school have just been whittled down to a choice between, Boatswain’s mate, dental tech, or hospital corpsman.”
I think to myself, my pal Gerry is going to hospital corps school. If I can’t do what I want, I might as well go with him; at least we can be together.
Rel: “Sign me up for hospital corps school Chief. I’ll go with my friend.”
The die was cast: rel enters the medical field. Who’d thought colorblindness would be a blessing in disguise?