Reflections On My Navy Career

64-Christ-Westminister-Md-KMWIIWhen my father, Kingston Winget, turned 13 all he wanted to do was be a soldier. He enlisted in late 1944 but just missed World War II. Many young men really did want to get to the war before it was over. As it was he stayed in and became an officer and served in the Korean War and later three times in Vietnam.

64-Sep-Westminster-Md-KMWIIAs soon as I was born he wanted me to be a soldier and would dress me in uniforms, sometimes even Navy uniforms. Not only would I be dressed up for playing “war”, so was my younger brother, Adrian Winget, even on day trips to places of interest. This was like a second schooling for me. I never had to come to attention or call him sir, but I had grown up seeing other children that had to, and later my friend’s children. 66-Apr-Ft-Shenandoah-Va-KMWIIAs an Army Brat, eight months after I was born in Ohio, we moved for a tour in Italy and southern Germany from 1956 to Dec 1959. I came back knowing more Italian than English, so much so that my cousin could not understand me, this also affected me in 2nd grade.

We then came back and lived in Fort Knox, KY, as well as many other states. In 1972 my dad returned from his 3rd tour of Vietnam and retired later at Fort Monroe, VA. We had lived in 13 different homes, 11 different states and countries. Between 1960 and 1972 I attended 9 different schools before 8th grade.

64-Baltimore-Md-KMWIIIn the 9th grade I joined Navy Junior ROTC at Tabb High in Yorktown, VA, which is surrounded by a military community of all branches. This was a tough time wearing my Navy uniform on the bus to school, I was often heckled. Then upon entering college I went into Army ROTC where we were told to wear our uniform only to the ROTC class, but by 1976 most people did not comment, at least not out loud.

65-Gettysburg-KMWIIWhat my father did was prepare me to serve our county, as a responsibility. Frankly, when I walked out after the high school graduation ceremony I had no idea of any other job I wanted to do. Dressing up in all the gear put me way ahead of my peers, my uniforms fit better because I knew what things like belt height and scarf wear made a professional look.

I have been happily married for 31 years to Nancy who is also an Army Brat. I retired as an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I wouldn’t change a thing in the way I was raised – I will always be – an Army Brat.

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  1. Hi Kingston, thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts with us. My father was too young to enlist during WW II and three of his brothers served during and just after the War. My dad served in a tank crew in Korea, and later as a tank commander in Mannheim, Germany, and he spent a number of years as a drill sergeant.

    Growing up I made model ships and airplanes and wondered what it was like for other kids growing up on Air Force and Navy bases.

    Thank you also for sharing the great photos!

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