Yeah, we completed our trip to Denny’s.
Graduated from boot camp, enlisted naval personnel and went to what is known as “A” School. This is a technical school that sailors attend to learn about their jobs or “rates” in the Navy. For me, I went in as an Information Systems Technician, which deals with military networking, communication, and general IT and computer support. It’s a broad discipline containing various aspects of networking and computer skills.
IT “A” school is located down at sunny Pensacola, FL. right at the east end of the southern bible belt and just miles from the border of Alabama, making it a very unique location for training and travel. There’s two sides to the base:
NAS Pensacola = Naval Air Station Pensacola. This base is absolutely beautiful. It’s quite a large base, and it is where all of the aircrew and pilots go to train. The base is well maintained, full of amenities, full of beautiful architecture and nature, and the noble might of the US Navy shines brightly here. It’s definitely the place to be.
Corry Station = Also known as the Center for Information Dominance, this base looks more like a prison than a place of learning. The compounds (also known as SCIFs- Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities) are gated and barb-wired. The base is dated and construction seems to always be taking place. It’s sh*t.
I was in the Intel field, so naturally, I was stationed at Corry Station. As ugly as the base was, I loved being stationed down at it. I loved going to school (It was about 6 months or a bit longer, I had other responsibilities when I was down there such as watch and cleaning the base) I loved the environment and I loved my classmates. I was learning a lot and I was really applying myself to something I had no knowledge about from before.
We would have class from 1330 to 2130 every day. There would be a break for dinner in the middle of it. As we got deeper into the course, my classmates and I started to hang out more and more frequently. We would later go to Denny’s every Friday after class; a kind of ritual after a while. The Denny’s off base was a bit far for walking distance. I would say it was about 3 miles from the gate to Denny’s. My friends and I would change back into civvies (civilian clothing) and we would meet up at the main gate and call an Uber to get us all there. One of the nights we went, we got into this gray sedan with a female driver. She was really cool and we all piled in, ready to eat low cost pancakes, skillets, and chicken fried steak in the middle of the night.
We were approaching the very familiar parking lot of the Denny’s. The yellow and red neon lights from the Denny’s sign ricocheted off the blacktop; it looked brand new. The lady was turning into the parking lot at a pretty fast speed, but we didn’t think much of it.
Damn. I thought to myself. This lady turning very quickly. We were now in the parking lot, still driving as if we were on the street. I looked at my friends with worry. They looked back at me in the same way, mouth pursed looking very concerned.
“Um. Ma’am.” I asked. “Ma’am? We’re here at the Denny’s, can you slow down a bit?”
Now the car was heading towards the front door at about 40 miles an hour. I didn’t want to be too rude, but I also feared for my life.
“The car isn’t stopping!” She said frantically. At this point, we were halfway across this tiny parking lot. At this point, I knew we were about to crash through the front door of the restaurant. There was no stopping it now.
“Holy sh*t!” I yelled out. The driver kept going at full speed. Unbeknownst to her, she was putting her foot down on the accelerator very hard, thinking it was the break.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We actually smashed through the front of the damn Denny’s. The driver was hyperventilating, with the 4 of us sailors sitting silently in this bum-ass sedan. After checking if everyone was okay, we walked out and humorously enough, my friend said;
“Okay guys, we’re here.”
We asked if the driver if she was okay. She was fine. We were dead sure that she was under the influence. Whether it be drugs or alcohol, we would never know. We called the police and the tow and they helped her out. We made a quick statement regarding the accident, but we never said anything bad about her, just that she got flustered during driving. The police didn’t say anything. We walked inside of the Denny’s, sat down, and ate dinner. We watched the tow truck take out the car. It was a good show from the window. The waitress discussed with us that this wasn’t the first time this happened, which took us aback. I thought that was hilarious, and the more I thought about how ghetto Pensacola was, I began to think about how plausible it really was in the end. We had a decent meal and the waitress got me extra ice cream, which was awesome.
We took another Uber back to base.
– Matt Cuartero