Navy veteran Tracy Herman: ‘It was the best four years of my life’

10:41 am | July 16, 2013

Tracy Herman never knew his real name until he joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17.1A - tracy herman clone

Known as “Arnold” all his life, Herman said once he filled out papers to enlist in the Navy, he was told he had to bring his birth certificate. That was when he learned his name was Tracy Arnold Herman and his dad’s name was Tracy James Herman.

“Up until then I did not know my name was Tracy Arnold. I had to re-do my papers and use the name Tracy. Since then I have been known as Tracy. Very few people now know me as Arnold,” he said.

Herman, who grew up in Bullocks Hollow, said he was approaching his 17th birthday and not doing well in school when he decided to enlist in the Navy. “I wanted to see the world, but the most I got to see was the North Atlantic Ocean,” Herman shared with a smile.

He did his boot camp at Bainbridge, Md., and was then sent to Brunswick, Maine, to await assignment.

Herman said one day he was called into the administrative office and it was there he received some of the best advice he’s ever been given.

“This pretty WAVE officer told me my order had arrived and I would be serving aboard the USS Camp D.E.R. 251 with Newport, R.I., as my home port. She then said, ‘The Navy needs men to scrub floors and empty trash, and they don’t care who does it. It will get done, but it doesn’t have to be you. You can get your high school diploma and your petty officer stripe, and then you can tell someone else to do those jobs.’”

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