In September of 2001, just after 9/11/01, I joined the Navy. The country, the world, was in shock. It’s the most horrible attack on US soil ever. The country was on high alert, the military even higher. I shipped off to boot camp in September 2001.

I finally arrived at Navy boot camp and the first one to chew us out was the bus driver. I should have expected that one. We needed to move off the bus as soon as possible! Getting off the bus you get checked in, proceed to complete a lot of paperwork, and then you go to Medical. Eventually, you are assigned to a division. Then the real work begins.

Our division had a chief who was in charge of the division. We also had a first-class officer who was second in command. When the chief would shout his commands, he would sometimes call us nuggets. “Fall in line nuggets!”, “50 push-ups nuggets”, “Nuggets!”, “line up, uniform inspection!” After a few weeks, someone in the division asked the chief, “why do you always call us nuggets?”

He said okay I’ll tell you. “I mean the nugget to be like a nugget of gold. Something that can be crafted and refined into something like a necklace or a bracelet or a ring, something beautiful.” But right now you’re all just nuggets!”

~ Nicholas Michael Evans