My Luckiest Day

By: Kim Medders

Ever have a moment in your life that had an impact that would last you for the rest of your life? Mine was pay day night in Dental “C” school in 1974 on 32nd Street in San Diego. I had decided to stay in that night because I wasn’t feeling well. I was snug asleep in my rack when I heard a knock at the door to the room. Thinking that my roommate, Randy, had forgotten his key, I got up and opened the door.

What immediately came to my attention was this gigantic revolver pointed square at my face. I could see the bullets in the cylinder and knew that this was no joke. Four guys dressed in Navy work uniforms pushed their way into the room. They threw me to the floor, tied me up with my sheets and put the gun to the back of my head. The men rifled through the room, pulled my money out of my wallet, took my high school ring, my watch and took Finley’s little T.V. They kept threatening to blow my head off if I moved and kept asking me for more stuff. Finally they shoved a dirty sock into my mouth and left.

I waited until I thought they were gone, and got to my feet. I somehow opened the door and hopped out into the day room. I rested my body against the door of the room next to me and knocked on it with my head. Somebody came to the door. Just as they opened up for me, Curt Morgese broke through the emergency door into their bathroom tied up just as I was. They untied us and we rushed down to the Duty Desk and tried to report it. He didn’t seem too concerned until he found out it was an armed robbery.

The adventure continued when we all had to go talk to NIS (now NCIS) and go through mug books. There was a Court Marshall for one of the guys they actually caught in which JAG lawyers came and interviewed us too. Testifying at a Court Marshall was not that much fun, believe me. This guy got off because of a discrepancy between the San Diego Police report and the Shore Patrol.

There was a silver lining to this cloud. During the two weeks I went without money, I realized something incredible. You don’t need money when you’re in the Navy. All you need is a couple of bucks for a haircut, and some shoe polish, but everything else is gravy! I was blowing my pay on beer and broads every two weeks and had nothing to show for it. The next payday, I went down to Dispersing and had an allotment taken out for half of my paycheck to go into Savings Bonds.

Three and a half years later, as I was getting off active duty, I counted them all up. With the G.I. Bill, I had enough money saved to go to college and not have to worry about working or anything! These days, my friends who have gone to college have racked up incredible debt from college loans. I was able to get a B.A. and not have to worry about owing anybody. Over the years, I’ve shared this little story with as many young sailors as I can. Most of them tend to ignore me, but a few have taken it seriously and have done well enough to thank me for my advice.

I owe a lot to those bastards that held a gun in my face that night. I prospered far more than they did for the few measly bucks they stole that night. It was one of those moments in my life that I can point to and say I was turned around.

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