Schedule an appointment to talk with Petty Officer Dennis
PO Asaad Dennis
U.S. Navy
BACKGROUND: I started my naval career in May of 2002, 4 months after graduating Eisenhower High School midway into my senior year. To be honest my real reasoning for joining the U.S. Navy was due to the fact I wanted to escape my dull-boring home town of Rialto, CA.

It didn’t help that I was constantly at odds with my parents and was in danger of getting kicked out of the house on the same week of my high school graduation.

I heard the armed forces was a great way of attending college while also serving. So I took the initiative, skipped my senior prom & graduation and enlisted into the U.S. Navy on May 1, 2002.

After being ASMO’d for 5 weeks (a.k.a. being held back for 5 weeks during boot camp). I reached my first duty station on board the USS Constellation (CV-64) at Naval Station North Island (San Diego). Within a month of arriving on board the USS Constellation, we were immediately deployed (a.k.a. WestPac) for the Connie’s final deployment on Nov 2, 2002.

With the drums of war beating louder & louder from the Bush Administration, once we reached the Persian Gulf in Jan 2003, most of the Constellation crew already knew Saddam’s days were numbered.

I still remember vividly the loud roar of F-14 & F-18 after burners as they took off from the flight deck.

During my time on the Connie, I worked as a Ship Serviceman (SH) in the forward & aft ships store. The work schedule was HECTIC. Not to mention I HATED doing breakouts from the storage space to the ships store.

But now that I look back at it, despite working 14+ hours a day and sweating my balls off in the unforgiving Persian Gulf heat & our division constantly getting shafted by our Senior Chief, I gotta admit…

The memories… The bonds… The hardships… The good times… The friendships… & the drama that unfolded durning the 9 turbulent months I was stationed on board the Connie were my best years in the Navy & I’ll NEVER forget them!

Fast forward a few months…

The Connie was decommissioned on Aug 10, 2003 & I received orders to my new duty station on board the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on Aug 3, 2003 at 32nd Street San Diego.

While the work schedule was WAY easier than on the Connie, the bonds & close relationships that I formed on the Connie wasn’t there. The work climate on board the USS Bonhomme Richard was WAY more political.

Despite the workplace politics & lack of camaraderie among my shipmates and still longing for the good old days of the Connie, I managed to adjust. During late 2005, the Navy began to roll out new strict PT guidelines.

This came as a total SHOCK to about 1/3 of all sailors on board due to the fact that 33% the crew were either over BCA weight standard or could hardly pass the Navy PRT-PT test.

Left & right sailors we getting the administrative boot. Even 18 year (E-6) petty officers with good service records and high Eval’s were not immune to losing their career.

One first class petty officer in particular who was eligible for (E-7) chief select, was denied based on his in ability to pass PT mile 1/2 run by a mere 8 seconds.

Even sailors who weren’t Gung-ho & about doing 20 years were SHOCKED that a 18 year navy vet could lose everything he worked, just for failing the run by a mere 8 seconds.

But despite the Navy’s new strict PT standards… It still falls upon the Sailor to take FULL ACCOUNTABILITY for his or her physical status.

It was late 2006 and my Navy enlistment was coming to an end in 6 months. Despite the ever looming housing crisis & great recession. I made the decision to not re-enlist for another 4 years.

While my parents urged me to stay in, deep down I knew there were sailors more passionate & more determined to making the Navy a full-time career, so I decided to persue my true passion… Business.

On April 30, 2007 on the eve of the great recession, I was honorably discharged from the Navy & started my sales career as a retail sales rep for Sprint Wireless.

Looking back, I’ll admit I probably should of extended my naval enlistment for an extra 6 months & went on one last deployment.

My first 13 months out of the Navy was BRUTAL to say the least.

I slept in my car 3 times. I had trouble finding an apartment to rent. I barely had money to eat & I had to sneak into base housing a few times, so I didn’t have to sleep in my car.

I guess you can say that I was a homeless vet. Well sort of…

I’m not going to lie, after getting a dose reality I sure did miss…

Getting 3 square meals a day…
Not having to pay for rent…
Getting paid on the 1st & 15th…
The free medical & dental benefits…
Having Saturdays & Sundays off…
Job security…
Not worrying about hunger…
Enough money for bills to be paid…

…& most important the camaraderie & the lifelong friendships formed.

In the end, I did manage to endure and within 1 year of being a civilian, I managed to get myself back on my feet & things began to look up.
Petty Officer Asaad Dennis
(888) 742-4175 ext. 610
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