3. The Process Begins
As we marched, seabags on shoulders, from R&O to the barracks building that was to be our home, the Company Commander began pounding into us the instructions that would consume much of our time almost to the last day — teaching us to march smartly in formation.
Supposedly, marching wasn’t as big a deal in the Navy as in the Army and Marines. After all, there are no parade fields on ships. But the Navy, like the other services, believed that recruits walking, turning, changing direction, stopping, as a synchronized unit, was essential in changing our mindset from that of a collection of individuals to that of a tightly-knit team, everyone thinking the same thoughts and making the same movements as everyone else. Even when just two or three of us walked together somewhere, we had to march in lock-step. The military is built on concepts of uniformity and teamwork. Those were the primary traits that it was intended we were going to develop in boot camp. We had to learn we were free agents no longer.