Be careful who you hang out with

B ack in 1979, I had just joined the navy at the ripe old age of 17, and was sent to operations specialist school at Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. It was a time in my life when I was pretty much willing to introduce anything into my system if I thought it would alter my conscience, and as a result I hung around a questionable bunch of guys. As an example I was pretty impressed when a couple of these guys broke into the Master At Arms(cops) offfice and stole the paraphenalia display off the wall. It was like a free shopping trip to the head shop of ones choice, but thats not my story.

...although being a virgin at the time, its arguable that I would know what to do with a babe had we found some to party with, which we didn't...

O ne really cold November evening four of us climb into an old El Camino to head up to Whitewater Wisconsin, home of a girls prep school, to party with the babes...so to speak...although being a virgin at the time, its arguable that I would know what to do with a babe had we found some to party with, which we didn't.

O n the way up we were rotating riding in the front because there was only room for 3 of the four of us up front. The shift in the back was tolerable for maybe 15 minutes at a time, and that was pushing it. By the time we got to Whitewater, it was late, and a weekday night, so the party scene was dismal at best, and after getting there we find that we dont have enough money between the four of us for gas back home, and this is going to be a huge problem when we show up as UA (unauthorized absence...the navys version of AWOL)the following morning.

The obvious solution...These guys decide they're going to rob a gas station.

...I watch these guys grab the one attendant, using a tire iron and a knife as weapons, drag him in the back, and beat him up...

I was horrified and tried to talk them out of it, to no avail. So they park about a block away while I'm hunkered down in the bed of the El Camino, and I watch these guys grab the one attendant, using a tire iron and a knife as weapons, drag him in the back, and beat him up.

W hile this is going on "Caz", a guy from Brooklyn named Casabianca, drives the El Camino up to the pumps and fills the tank, throws about twenty cartons of cigarettes into the front, and actually casually pumps gas for a lady and gives her change while they've got the attendant in back. By this time I'm so afraid of the situation, and afraid of these guys I don't know what to do, so I just go with the flow. I dont know how much money they got off the attendant, the cigarettes were probably more valuble.

...the military haircuts that were sporting certainly wasn't the style of the day, and we might as well have had USN tatooed to our foreheads...

I was in the back for the hour plus ride back, and have never been so freakin' cold in my life. They dropped me off at my barracks with a warning that if I spoke a word, I'd be dead...which I figured was the God honest truth.

S o I distanced myself from these guys, graduated OS school and was sent to my ship in Long Beach CA. around Jan. of 1980, figuring this was all behind us, which was absolutly stupid because the military haircuts that were sporting certainly wasn't the style of the day, and we might as well have had USN tatooed to our foreheads.

A bout a month after arriving in Long Beach I recieved a summons from NIS (Naval investigative Service). NIS generally deals with the big stuff, usually breaches of security, so I knew this wasn't going to be good.

...and I'll never forget the words..."We'd like to ask you some questions regarding an incident in Whitewater Wisconsin..."


W hen I entered the room, there was a panel of high ranking officers, the big lights being pointed at me, and I'll never forget the words..."We'd like to ask you some questions regarding an incident in Whitewater Wisconsin...". Alzhiemers could never erase that memory, its so deeply engraved into my brain. I KNEW I was going to be doing hard time at Leavenworth.

S o I just melted, spilled my guts and told them everything, I'm a seventeen year old kid who's looking at having his life destroyed. I have NEVER been so mortified in my life..I really can't put it into words.

F or some reason I never heard back from NIS, I can only assume the caught those guys and they verified my story. But I learned a valuble lesson that day and have always been extremly wary of the people I so much as give the time of day to.

Name kept secret
Location kept secret



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