The news of my orders for duty at Camp Pendleton wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. After sleeping on it, I realized it could have been much worse. Pendleton itself wasn’t the concern, it was the surrounding communities and where we would live. This issue would need some thought before writing to Jenny.
During lunch a Battalion Inspection Team showed up unannounced. Lieutenant Westerfield gave me a heads up that the mess hall would be inspected later in the day. As always, our Friday dinner was “The Southern Meal,” and it was something we had learned to prepare on auto-pilot. The pinto beans were already simmering.
Navy Lieutenant Curry (the Battalion Doctor) arrived after lunch when we were scrubbing down the galley. He had a clipboard and wanted me to follow him around while he inspected. As he started the inspection, there was a fire mission, and his nervous distraction was visible.
He focused on our refrigeration units and was concerned about the shrapnel holes in our milk dispenser. I explained that the alternative was to use pint cartons of milk, and keeping them cold on the serving line was difficult . . . he agreed. Curry finished his inspection and commented, “You run a clean mess hall, nice work.” It was a quick inspection, and the fire mission was well timed.
That night my letter to Jenny was positive. I told her about my assignment to Pendleton and was excited with our opportunity to live in the beach community of San Clemente. I hoped she would approve.