Christmas leave seemed like a dream, and for two weeks I pretended that I had my old life back. I dreaded returning to base and facing the results of my impending legal hold, but even worse I had to leave my love, Andy behind in Little Rock. The day after Holiday leave was over me and my friends were called into the legal office. We nervously made our way to see our Petty Officer in Charge. Upon arrival he called us into his office with a stern look on his face. He sat us down and asked us if we had anything we would like to say and it was our last chance to confess. Horriffied, we started back at him and stated we had nothing further to state.
He pulled out a huge manilla envelope with the results from our breathalyzers and drug tests and the moment I thought I was going to expolode with anticipation, a smile broke across the petty officer’s face. He said, “Congratulations, you all passed. You’re off Legal Hold!” He signed our papers that were legally binding us to the base and we were free to get our orders upon sucessfull graduation of A school. Graduation came and went uneventfully and we were placed back on barracks watches until time for us to ship out. About a week or so after graduation we got our orders and begin the sign out process; I was headed to Virginia Beach, VA.
I had already been to the base because a former flame had been stationed there the summer after I graduated from high school and I spent my funds to go see him for a week with my mother in tow, as my parents were not going to let me drive to meet a sailor alone at the age of 18. I was looking forward to my new home, but I knew I would miss Pensacola and the friends I had made while I was there. I decided to drive my car to Virginia with a buddy and we were finally off! We drove all night to get to Virginia and arrived about two the following morning.
We were granted entry by the gate gaurds and then given directions to each of our commands. We made our way across base and I dropped Stephanie off at AIMD and made my way to VFA-87; home of the Golden Warriors. I was escorted to the ready room by the hangerbay watch and introduced to the second class standing watch. After a few minutes of instructions I made my way back across base to pick up Stephanie and to the berthing office to check into our new home. We lucked out and were granted a room together but that only lasted for about a week; she moved to her commands barracks across base and I stayed in our room.
The next few days we were basically expected to get checked into our new commands. I arrived at the ready room at 0630 after Stephanie and I had lugged all of our belongings to our third floor room and finally settled in for sleep about 0400. I was so tired and groggy but trying to stay alert for all of the new and incoming information I was recieving. I was assigned a third class petty officer in my shop to get me aquainted and signed into the command and we began our task. One of the first introductions was to the Maintenance Master Chief, MC Henderson. He asked to see my service record and immediately started combing through it.
My friends had instructed me to rip out my sheet in my record suggesting I was placed on legal hold as to not be labeled a troublemaker, but I assumed it was already recorded somewhere else on some other record and I would end up getting in trouble for altering a government document. As soon as the page flashed before his face his entire demeanor changed. “Why were you on legal hold,” he asked? I replied that I had been a witness to an event down at the beach, he muttered, “hum,” signed my paper and sent me on my way. What a relief I thought, he didn’t seem to be too worried about my being on legal hold. I finished checking into the command with no other inquiries to my legal hold and I believed that all was well in my world. If I had known the target that was placed on my back that day, I may have followed my friends advice and ripped that sheet out of my service record, but that was a lesson I would not learn for a very long time.