Navy Ceremonial Honor Guard

Choice Duty

"I was the only Jew."

"Three or four days before I was ready to graduate from basic training, an officer and our company commander, who was a chief petty officer, came walking through the barracks, and they said, 'Everybody six foot and over stand in front of your bunks.' I stood in front of my bunk and this officer came down and he asked me, 'How tall are you son?' At that time I was 6’3’’ or 6’4.’’ He says, 'How would you like to go to Washington, D.C., and be part of the Navy ceremonial honor guard?' And I asked him what that was. He told me that I would go to Washington and march in parades, go out to Arlington during funerals for military personnel. I told him that I had orders to go to hospital corps school. He says, 'I promise you, this is considered choice duty. You can only stay 13 months in Washington, and when your 13 months are up you can go back and become a hospital corpsman.' I said, 'Okay, that sounds like a good deal...' I went down to D.C. and was with the Navy ceremonial honor guard. There were 84 men; I was the only Jew."