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  • It was a magical place to wrap up my Naval career. I didn't go there to get out - my plan was just to get reassigned from my ship to another ship. I'd been advised, off the record by the ship's legal officer, that it was the only way I could get around the ship's captain. Captain Symington had made it clear that he would not approve any reassignment requests. I was told that if I went AWOL for over 30 days, then turned myself in at Treasure Island, I'd have my best chance at a reassignment. They couldn't force me to go back to my ship. That's what I did.

    It would be close to a month before I got to attend a Captain's Mast to learn what my fate would be. During that time, I schmoozed my way into a cushy job on the base as the chaplain's assistant, and I got a job in the evening's over in town, at fisherman's wharf. It was an ideal existence - except for the fact that 2 months of running on the road had left me pretty whacky, mentally and emotionally. I was all over the map. The Captain was a grounded pilot, a real maverick who had a reputation for being lenient.

    He looked over my file, and said, "You had excellent ratings for the past 2 years. Even with a "0" rating for your 60 days AWOL, you're overall rating is plenty high enough that we could offer you an Honorable Discharge, if you want to get out."

    Get out! That thought had never even occurred to me! I had gone AWOL and made that cross-country journey so I would get an independent hearing and just an opportunity to get off that damn ship and away from that captain. I asked the captain if I could think about his offer. He said I could, but I'd have to let him know by the next day.

    I decided to do it - I still had 2 years left on my 6 year enlistment, and here was an opportunity to get out and start all over again. I took it.
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