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I grew up in San Diego. For most of my life we have 5 naval bases, plus one Marine Corps base. I think we only have 3 now, but that hasn't fazed this city. And because of all the bases, military support is very high here. We have a lot of military personnel from all over the country, plus others (like the Philippines). You see them everywhere (even my parents were in the navy for a short while, and my sister plans to attend the Naval Academy next fall), the yellow stickers, ads for special prices for military, the freshmeat coming from the airport. And I just wanted to show some of the things I remember while growing up.

Submitted:Apr 1, 2010    Reads: 81    Comments: 6    Likes: 2   

Growing up, my life was a constant state of coming and going
As people were shipped in,
Shipped out
Shipped off

Year round, my eyes were filled by tides of color
As people changed from dress blues
To summer whites
To winter beiges

Telling signs of military were visible everywhere
Parking lots littered with Base stickers
With plain, white, government license plates
And colorful CAC cards hanging from lanyards

"The base" was a phrase we learned early on
And it was not odd to hear stories about what would happen there,
Or somewhere "off base",
Or a city they had been "stationed" at

"Grocery stores" were for civilians
Much more common was to hear about shopping on base
Food at the Commissary
Everything else at the Exchange

Sometimes you'd hear the word "civvie"
Meaning a civilian working for the Navy
Researcher, ship painter, secretary
Everyone was on the military or D.O.D. payroll

And everyone has been somewhere
Be it Texas, Virginia, or Florida
Or Hawaii, or Guam, or Singapore
Someone has been stationed there

Our port- and quite a port it is-
Is a constant arrival and departure or aircraft carriers
Submarines hidden underwater
And beached ships in for repairs

Street traffic rises and falls with every ship
Cars stalled to a stop on with an arrival
Coronado Bridge backed up for miles
And streets bare after departure

All these things were common growing up
They made San Diego
And there is no doubt about it, no denial heard
That this sunny seaside city is A Navy Town.


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