A-Bomb sailor’s story

At the London Review of Books, Mike Kirby recalls his time in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s as an electronics technician working on nuclear warheads in the U.S. Navy and his evolution into a peacenik.

Before boot camp I had been a street kid for about a year. Boot camp meant I could take a shower and wash my clothes. Putting up your hand and taking the oath got you ten weeks in San Diego, without rights, subject to constant abuse. You’re marched here; you’re marched there. You yell yes sir and no sir and try your damndest to fit in and do everything that is demanded of you. Be clean, stand up straight, roll your socks up into balls so that the stencilled initials show in the little window. 

More at the London Review of Books.