Times sure change. When I was in, and you were naughty, they had a middle-level punishment for guys who hadn’t misbehaved enough to be put on restriction (meaning not allowed to leave the ship for twenty days): “uniform liberty,” where they reverted back to the era before Admiral Zumwalt let guys go out into town in civillian clothes.
But everyone I knew who were given uniform liberty stayed on the ship anyway, because they knew they’d effectively been sentenced to be beaten up by San Diego punks or Marines. And strolling down Plaza de la Revolucion in Tijuanna wearing a United States Navy uniform? That would have been “sucide by Federale.”
Conceivably sailors on uniform liberty could hang with a bunch of buddies for protection, but why would you ask someone to stand next to a lighting rod?
We were seen by the general public as losers who couldn’t get real jobs and who just wanted to get drunk and fuck their wives, daughters or dogs. We got used to it as we went through our daily lives pissed-off at the Navy and the civillians and life in general. I can’t entierly wrap my head around the possibility that today’s sevicemen aren’t every bit as pissed-off if not more so.
And I can’t help but wonder if they see our applause as something we do to make ourselves feel good as much as, if not more than, to make them feel good.