In the spring of 2000 our eighteen-month work-up concluded with an Operational Readiness Exam (ORE), conducted off San Clemente Island, in which a small group of us simulated a covert tagging and tracking op on an enemy vessel. There were some tricky issues with water currents on the way back in, and things got sketchy. By the time we got back to rendezvous with our vessel I had run out of air and had a headache. But we passed the exercise. GOLF platoon was certified and operationally ready to rotate overseas to serve in an alert status, which the platoon would do after a little down time.

Before it did, though something unexpected happened that changed the course of my career in the Navy.

One day shortly after our ORE, Glen and I were called in to see our OIC, McNary. When we entered his office we found Tom B., our platoon Leading Petty Officer, and Chief Dan there with him. Clearly something was up, something big, but we had no idea what.

Were we in some sort of trouble?