Enlisted in the U.S. Navy; spent the first of what would become many Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's holidays away from home. Went to boot camp at NTC San Diego.
(NTC San Diego has been turned over to the city for commercial purposes.)
After a short leave went to NATTC (Naval Air Technical Training Command) Norman Oklahoma for Aviation Electronics
"prep" school (math and basic electricity). (NATTC Norman has been turned over to the University of Oklahoma and other agencies for commercial use.)
Attended eight-month Aviation Electronics Technician "A" school at NATTC Memphis
in Millington Tennessee. Advanced to Airman (E-3) during this time. NATTC has since moved to Pensacola, FL.
After another short leave was ordered to shore duty at VT-3 NAAS Kingsville, Texas. VT-3 was a fighter training squadron flying F-11 aircraft. The Blue Angles also flew F-11s at that time. Advanced to Petty Office Third Class (E-4) during this tour.
Re-enlisted early under the "STAR" (Selective Training And Retention) program in order to attend advanced Aviation Electronics Technician "B" school.
Attended eight-month Aviation Electronics Technician "B" school at NATTC Memphis in Millington Tennessee. Advanced to Petty Officer Second Class (E-5) and was a "teenage petty officer" during this tour.
Received orders to VS-32 at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island. VS-32 flew the S-2F Tracker aircraft and periodically deployed aboard the USS Lake Champlain, CVS-39. The "Champ" was affectionately called "Building 39" because it spent as much time tied up at the pier as it did at sea. However, we did spend a record time at sea during the Cuba blockade. The "Champ" was also called "the straightest and the greatest" because it was the only straight deck CV class carrier remaining. I don't know why they called it "the greatest."
Rhode Island winters were memorable because they were so bitter cold. You know it's cold when the ship is surrounded by ice. You know it's cold when sailors can build a five-foot high wall of snow across the road in front of the barracks.
Significant event during this period: Married in 1962; first child born 1963.
NAS Quonset Point has since been turned over to the local government for industrial purposes.
After nearly three years of packing/unpacking cruise boxes every two weeks, received orders to VT-3 at NAAS Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. Back to the training command! VT-3 flew the T-28 Trojan prop-driven training aircraft. I was beginning to get the feeling that I would never get to see the "world" that I was promised to see. After a year of stuffing good radios into, and yanking bad radios out of the Trojans, and another year of blade tracking (tuning) ARC-27 radios on the bench, I decided to "hang it up."
Significant event during this period: Second child born 1964.
The very day I was discharged in October I was fueling my car at the base gas station and headed toward the gate for the last time, when a friend told me I made E-6. Well, I wasn't going to let a promotion stand in the way of a brilliant career with Texas Instruments in Dallas. So, we drove to Dallas, found a house, and started working at TI. Within a few weeks I could not stand civilian life in the big city. So I drove to the Navy reserve base at NAS Dallas, re-enlisted, was advanced to E-6 (Petty Office First Class), and on my way back to Florida in no time.
Ordered to RVAH-9 at NAS Sanford, Florida. RVAH-9 flew the RA-5C Vigilante aircraft. The RA-5C failed miserably as a bomber so they stuffed it full of electronics and made it a recon bird. My job during the first half of the tour was to process the recon data collected, and on the second half, to maintain the electronic equipment in the aircraft. During this three-year period, I deployed aboard the USS Saratoga and the USS Ranger. Both ships have been since retired and sold for scrap, and NAS Sanford was given to the city.
During this tour the Navy decided to close NAS Sanford and we moved to NAS Albany, Georgia in mid 1968. Being a former Air Force base meant that NAS Albany was a better than usual Navy base, but it was still Georgia. The deployment to WestPac aboard the Ranger was also in 1968.
Received orders to shore duty at, you guessed it, NAS Albany Georgia as a Passive ECM technician. By now I was really beginning to believe that my Naval career was limited to the South. After two years of shore duty in Albany I learned that the Navy was buying a new fighter jet aircraft, the F-14 Tomcat and was looking for high-quality technicians and mechanics to be in the initial cadre. I immediately raised my hand... Made Chief Petty Officer (E-7) during this tour of duty.
Yep, you guessed it...NAS Albany was closed and turned over to the local government.
Ordered to the Grumman Aircraft plant on Long Island, New York for seven weeks of intensive F-14 electronics training. Lived in an old house with a bunch of hippies in Amity, New York. Actually, I had a small studio apartment and they had the rest of the house.
Ordered to VF-124 (the "Top Gun" squadron) at NAS Miramar in San Diego, California. Now we're getting somewhere! Southern California is definitely NOT south Georgia or north Florida. Completed my shore duty tour in VF-124 with F-8 Crusaders. Eventually we did get the new F-14 Tomcat aircraft, just before the end of my shore duty tour.
NAS Miramar was eventually closed as a Naval Air Station and turned over to the Marines.
Significant event during this period: Third child born in 1972.
Time to go back to sea duty. Ordered to CVW-11 at NAS Miramar. This was a cushy job as Airwing Avionics Chief on the CAG (Carrier Air Group) staff with Captain "Tooter" Teague as CAG Commander. It was my good fortune to "check in" just prior to the CAG returning from a seven-month cruise, and so could look forward to another year at Miramar before deploying aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. Deployed in May 1975 for seven months to WestPac aboard the Kitty Hawk. As it turned out, this would be my last cruise in the Navy.
Received my next-to-last set of orders, this time to another cushy job, NAESU at NAS Miramar. NAESU is Naval Aviation Engineering Service Unit, a group of mostly civilian (government employee) engineers assigned to provide technical assistance and training when and where needed in the fighter squadrons at Miramar.
There were no more promotions since 1971.
Significant event during this period: Wife divorced me in Mar 1978; I remarried in Dec 1978.
After 20 years and a couple months, my last (or so I thought) set of orders retired me from the Navy. I was finally free to do what I wanted to do...what ever that was, and also collect my miserly pension after 20 years of military service, including a total of more than four years away from my family.
|February 1979 - August 1982|
After a year working for a defense contractor as an engineering technician, and another two years working for Cessna Aircraft Corporation as a avionics service manager (and a few months that I can't account for), I could see that double-digit inflation during the Reagan administration was threatening aircraft sales, and consequently my job. So, you guessed it, I went down to the Naval Recruiter in Portland and requested recall to active duty. Ninety days later I was on my way back to NAS Miramar, and nearly all the field reps I worked with at Cessna were laid off.
Talk about luck...
It was during this period of time that Reagan sold out the military for his "star wars" space program. Well...Reagan's "star wars" space program has been ancient history for years while the military, specifically military retirees, are still suffering the consequences of his betrayal.
|August 1982 - August 1984
Back on active duty, and shore duty no less, as a Naval Reservist at NAMTRA NAS Miramar. NAMTRA is the Naval Aviation Maintenance Training Unit that teaches the aviation maintenance personnel how to do their job. I decided to take a discharge in August 1984 and join the weekend reservers.
|September 1984 - January 1995|
Returned to work for the same defense contractor that I worked for in 1979, this time as an engineer. Worked a total of 11 years for this company.
|1985 - 1991|
Joined the Naval Reserves as a weekend warrior in a Naval Aviation Reserve squadron, VF-1485, at NAS Miramar. Spent six memorable years working with weekend reservists, some who were career reservists and wanted to be there, and others who were obligated to finish their six-year obligation and simply loathed it. Took a discharge in '91 after six years as a part-time sailor.
|January 1995 - April 1996|
"Retired" from the aerospace industry for a total of 15 months. Ran a small vending machine business for about 15 months and nearly died of boredom.
|April 1996 - August 2009|
Returned to work for a large international aerospace corporation. Worked for a total of 13 years as an aerospace quality engineer on some interesting projects, including earthquake detection systems and space-based nuclear explosion detection systems, and the X-37 unmanned space vehicle.
Finally retired from the working life . . . for good . . .
and spend all of my time doing what I enjoy.
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