Welcome to the forum. As Betty has mentioned there are a lot of retired or former military here. Many were Navy as was I. I only did four years but it's imbeded in my psyche. Be sure to ask all of your questions. You will get answers.
We're well acquainted with the California desert. I'm model 53 US Army, Mike is model 49 USMC, retired National Park Service. Spent 4 years in Death Valley and Ridgecrest was a fueling point driving back and forth between DV and family in southern California. Mike grew up spending summers at China Lake where his grandfather worked. Glad to have you here.