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29
Apr

LCpl Lee Trevino US Marine Corps (Served 1956-1960)

View the Military Service of Golf Legend:

trevinoLCpl Lee Trevino

US Marine Corps

(Served 1956-1960)

View his Service Profile on TogetherWeServed.com at
http://marines.togetherweserved.com/profile/360911

Short Bio: Trevino was born into poverty and never knew his father. He was raised by his mother and his grandfather, a gravedigger. Lee began working at a very early age, toiling in the Texas cotton fields as young as age 5.

But when an uncle gave him a rusty golf club and a few beat-up balls, the young Trevino found his calling. He began caddying at age eight, sometimes attending school but more often working or practicing golf.

At age 17, Trevino joined the Marines and served four years. Following his discharge, he returned to golf, becoming a club pro in 1960.

27
Apr

Andersonville Prison

There were 150 prison camps on both sides in the Civil War, and they all suffered from disease, overcrowding, exposure, and food shortages. But Andersonville was notorious for being the worst. Some men agreed to freedom and fought for the South as galvanized soldiers, fearing the dangers of imprisonment to be greater than those of the battlefield.

Officially named Camp Sumter, the most notorious Civil War stockade was hastily constructed in early 1864 near the town of Andersonville in southwest Georgia.The number of Union soldiers held near Richmond had swelled with the breakdown of prisoner exchange agreements, posing a threat to the Confederate capital’s security and taxing Virginia’s already limited resources.

In late February, Federal prisoners began to be transferred to the still-unfinished Georgia facility. By July, Andersonville, built to accommodate up to 10,000 captured soldiers, was jammed with over 32,000, almost all enlisted men. The open-air stockade, enclosed by 20 foot-high log walls, grew to 26 acres, but remained horribly overcrowded and conditions became more and more intolerable. Running in the middle of the camp was a stagnant, befouled stream, absurdly named Sweet Water Branch, used as a sewer as well as for drinking and bathing. There were no barracks; prisoners were forbidden to construct shelters, and while some did erect tents and flimsy lean-tos, most were left fully exposed to the elements. Medical treatment was virtually nonexistent.

With the South barely able to feed its own men, the prisoners, who were supposed to get the same rations as Confederate soldiers, starved-receiving rancid grain and perhaps a few tablespoons a day of mealy beans or peas.

The poor food and sanitation, the lack of shelter and health care, the crowding, and the hot Georgia sun all took their toll in the form of dysentery, scurvy, malaria, and exposure.During the summer months, more than 100 prisoners died every day. Others fell victim to thieves and marauders among their fellow captives. The desperate situation led a Confederate medical commission to recommend relocating those prisoners who were not too ill to move, and in September 1864, as William T. Sherman’s advancing army approached, most of Andersonville’s able-bodied inmates were sent to other camps.

Remaining in operation until the end of the war, Andersonville held more captured Union soldiers than any other Confederate camp, a total of more than 45,000, nearly 30 percent of whom died in captivity. The North had learned of the camp’s appalling conditions well before the emaciated survivors were released in 1865, and outraged citizens urged retribution on Southern prisoners of war.That was hardly necessary: the Union had its own wretched prison camps, including Elmira, New York, where the death rate approached Andersonville’s, even though the North was far better equipped to cope with captured soldiers. Mismanagement and severe shortages were more to blame for the horrors of Andersonville than any deliberate attempt to mistreat prisoners.

Nevertheless, many Northerners insisted that the abuse was deliberate and demanded vengeance. Consequently, after being tried by a U.S. military court and convicted of war crimes, the prison’s commander, Captain Henry Wirz, was hanged in November 1865 for “impairing the health and destroying the lives of prisoners.” Meanwhile, Clara Barton and other government workers compiled a list of 12,912 prisoners who had died at the camp. Andersonville’s mass graves were replaced by a national cemetery, which is today still used as a burial ground for American veterans

25
Apr

CWO2 Shannon Reck U.S. Coast Guard (1990-Present)

reckRead the service reflections us US Coast Guardsman:

CWO2 Shannon Reck

U.S. Coast Guard

(1990-Present)

Service Shadow Box: http://coastguard.togetherweserved.com/bio/Reck

If you served in any branch of the U.S. Military, record your own military service story you can share with your family on TogetherWeServed.com.

PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE COAST GUARD?

When joining the Marine Corps, I made the mistake of going into the Reserves, versus full time. It was explained to me that by picking the Reserves, I was making the safe choice because if I loved the service, I could always roll into the active side. If it was
not for me, it was only one weekend a month. Well, no joke, I loved it. However, it was not as easy to get onto active duty as I thought. Basically after a year and a half of appealing up the chain to return to active duty, I was denied.

In early 1992, I was informed that the Coast Guard was taking prior service members and that it was possible to lateral over from the Marine Corps Reserves, right to the Coast Guard active duty side. I did not even know what the Coast Guard was at the time. I thought it was a sort of “Navy National Guard”. Regardless, I took the plunge, and did most of my enlistment paperwork via the mail and fax. I did not even see what the Coast Guard uniform looked like until I showed up in Boot Camp in May of 1992. Let’s just say that I was excited that we did not wear the Navy uniform.

WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?

I am still on active duty. I was a machine-gunner and anti-tank Infantryman in the Marines. I decided to go a different direction in the Coast Guard. I chose the medical route, after much consideration, because I wanted to be trained in something that held some value in the civilian world. Another reason I wanted to become a Corpsman is that I felt that they had the greatest chance of being in the action. I missed out on deployments during my time in the Marines and wanted to have some stories of my own from the Coast Guard.

Twenty-four years into my career, I can say that I saw my share of action and have many stories to tell those interested. Between two cutters, two tours in Iraq, and my recent involvement with the Ebola response, I can honestly say that I was able to make an impact. I am still active duty and hope to have more adventures. Only the future can tell what lays ahead in the coming years.

IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.

I was assigned to Patrol Forces South West Asia in the summer of 2003. During my two consecutive tours there, the most significant time I remember was when I was allowed to go on a patrol with the CGC ADAK. This patrol’s mission was to provide security to the oil terminals just off shore of Iraq and to scout the Iraqi river system. My main job at PATFORSWA was to provide medical care to Coast Guard, Naval, and Marine members in the AOR.

OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?

My favorite assignments include PATFORSWA and my time on the CGC CONFIDENCE and CGC BERTHOLF. I love the operational units. While assigned to them, I felt as if I were making a contribution to the nation. My least favorite assignment, well, I love them all. The only difference is that some were more monumental than others for me. The CONFIDENCE was a great tour because we visited just about every Caribbean country and port, including a few that were not inhabited. I got my first tattoo while on board this Cutter, in the Dominican Republic.

PATFORSWA was great for me because it was the first time I was able to deploy to a forward combat support unit. I felt as if I were a part of something of international relevance. Also during this tour, I was able to complete a combat river patrol in Iraq on the CGC ADAK.

My final Cutter was the CGC BERTHOLF. The highlight for me was the completion of a couple patrols with the Russian Coast Guard and Navy. The BERTHOLF was the first in the National Security Cutter class of ship. I was assigned to it two days before the first operational patrol. It was a real honor breaking new ground on this ship, knowing that my input and contributions would be used on the following Cutters of this class.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?

I would say that the tour that impacted me the most was my time over in the Middle East. While over there, I noticed an attempt to survey the base by people later identified to be enemy agents. This was scary for me because I was walking alone at 2300 to my watch station outside the gate and came across a van tucked in the shadows of two buildings. Since I was in Bahrain at the time, we were unarmed unless on watch on board our ships. Anyway, right about the time I noticed them, they saw me at the same time and pulled out to depart. On their way out, they passed me in the drive way and gave me the dirtiest angry look I have ever seen made toward another. Since they were driving a panel van, I had no idea if they were going to pull me in, blow themselves up, or etc. Anyway, I was able to memorize the plate number and immediately report the incident to the gate guard supervisor.

WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER?

My highest award actually is not worn on the uniform. I was selected as the Coast Guard’s 1999 Corpsman of the Year, Afloat, for the entire service. I was assigned to the CGC CONFIDENCE at the time. I received the award for the 100% compliance results for CART and TSTA

the year before, my part in a high profile rescue at sea, and the treatment of foreign citizens in a foreign port.

I am also very proud of my Coast Guard Commendation Medal that I received on the CGC BERTHOLF. The high point on that Cutter for me was my assistance of a newly commissioned Nigerian navy ship in setting up its sickbay and medical training program.

Of all of my promotions, I am most proud of my making Senior Chief and Warrant Officer. My initial goals when I joined the Coast Guard in 1992 was to make Chief. Now that I have exceeded that initial goal, I have my sights on making Commander before I retire. We shall see how long it takes to meet that milestone.

OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR ANY OTHER MEMORABILIA, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH ARE THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?

The Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal Medal is important to me because I earned it while assigned under the Navy in PATFORSWA. It was awarded for my time on the CGC ADAK and for the medical care provided during my independent duty tour, treating close to eight hundred Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps members.

I am also very proud of my Cutterman Pin. The Coast Guard Cutterman Pin is award for five years of sea time. This is not an easy feat for Corpsmen due to the lack of ships large enough for them to serve on board. Many Corpsmen have one three year tour on a Cutter in their careers, but most will not do two.

WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?

FSC Jeffery Lawton was my first and most substantial role model. He selflessly took the time to train and mentor me during my first years in the Coast Guard. He had my back when I went through some personal crisis’ as well.

CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?

I was reverted in Boot Camp for not being able to adapt well with my transition from the Marines to the Coast Guard. My Senior Drill Instructor, a YN1, informed me at graduation that I would not make a very good leader or Petty Officer. She was kicked out a few years later for drug possession. I thought it ironic when I pinned on Senior Chief and then Chief Warrant Officer.

WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?

I completed my BA in March of 2015. My goal is to have a MA by the time I retire so that I can either teach history in a Community College or perhaps find a nice government position for a second career. My BA is in history and my MA will be in Military History.

At this time, I am a Medical Chief Warrant Officer 2. I was commissioned in June of 2014, after making Senior Chief the year before. I am currently in charge of medical contracts and working with the Coast Guard Medical Information systems branch at Headquarters. I am submitting a package to request advancement to Lieutenant as soon as possible.

WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?

I am a member of The Coast Guard Together We Served, Veterans of Foreign Wars, but do not attend meetings. I am a reformed smoker and cannot handle the smoky halls anymore. I am placing an application this week to become a member of the Coast Guard Combat Veterans Association.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER?

I can tell you that it has made me bolder and more self confident. Before joining, I was likely to take a lot of crap, whereas now, I don’t. It taught me judgement and discipline as well. I can definitely say that if it were not for the military, I would not be the person I am today.

BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE COAST GUARD?

Do your homework before signing with any branch. Do not let anyone sway you from your goals and further your education whenever possible,

IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.

I am still figuring that out now. It has helped me stay connected with friends who I have not heard of in a long time. Togetherweserved helps me know the locations of many of my friends I served with. I am thankful that it opens up a way for me to express my thoughts and opinions to those who knew me.

25
Apr

Volunteer of the Month


Volunteer of the Month

1LT Denny Eister
US Army
(Served 1965-1968)

Shadow Box: http://army.togetherweserved.com/bio/Denny.Eister

1LT Denny Eister has been a member of Army Together We Served sinceFeb 12, 2010.

In 2010, TWS formed the “Memorial Team”. The team is made up of members who have taken on the task of completing Fallen profiles for those that have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. To date, Denny has 1,381 profiles that he has researched and that does not count the thousands that he has helped complete for other people. If you want to know how to complete a Fallen profile and do it right, ask Denny.

Thank you Denny, for your dedication to honoring our Fallen. Your efforts make TWS a unique archive and a place of peace for the families of those we lost.

22
Apr

1st Lt Robert Preston US Army Air Forces (Served 1942-1945)

View the Military Service of Actor

robert preston21st Lt Robert Preston US

Army Air Forces

(Served 1942-1945)

View his Service Profile n TogetherWeServed.com

at http://airforce.togetherweserved.com/profile/173906
Short Bio: Mr. Preston, whose original name was Robert Preston Meservey, was born in Newton Highlands, Mass., on June 8, 1918. He attended school in Hollywood, where his father played baseball with the Hollywood Blues of the Pacific Coast League and his mother worked in a Los Angeles music store.

Mr. Preston served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, then returned to Hollywood and resumed making films.

20
Apr

Profiles in Courage: The Fighting Arkansans

Lloyd L. “Scooter” Burke – the most highly decorated soldier in Arkansas’ history – was born in Tichnor (Arkansas County) on September 29, 1924, one of five children of A. D. Burke, a foreman at a lumber mill in Clarendon (Monroe County) and his wife, Belly Burke. In 1942,Lloyd Burke graduated from Stuttgart High School and enrolled at Henderson State Teachers College, now Henderson State University.

In 1943 when Burke was 18-years-old, he dropped out of Henderson State College and joined the United States Army. He served two years during World War II as a sergeant with combat engineers in Italy.

After the war, he returned to school at Henderson, where he participated in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, which is now named “Burke’s Raiders” in his memory. He was also a member of the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity. In 1950, he graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate.

After graduation, Burke was commissioned a second lieutenant in June 1950. That same month, on June 25, 1950 at 4 a.m. on a rainy Sunday morning, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Army (DPRK – North Korea) artillery and mortars open fire on Republic of Korea (ROK – South Korea) Army positions south of the 38th Parallel, the line then serving as the border between the two countries. The opening barrage is followed shortly by tank/infantry attacks at all points along the Parallel. At 11 a.m. North Korea announced a formal declaration of war and what is now known as “The Korean War” officially began.

This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War. By July, American troops had entered the war on South Korea’s behalf. As far as American officials were concerned, it was a war against the forces of international communism itself.

In November 1950, five months after the war began, Burke was shipped to Korea where he was commander of Company G, 2nd Battalion 5th Cavalry Regiment. That same month, Chinese forces crossed the Yalu River. In response, Gen. Douglas MacArthur ordered the 1st Cavalry Division to participate in a massive counteroffensive that began on November 24, 1950 with Burke’s regiment playing a major role.

On November 26, 1950, Burke’s Company F was moving toward Sunchon, Korea, when contact was made with a strong enemy force that had infiltrated friendly lines and established a roadblock. His battalion commander ordered him to secure a commanding ridge defended by a well-entrenched enemy force. Burke quickly organized his men, moved to the head of the column and personally led an attack against the enemy position. But blazing fire from the enemy forced Burke’s company to fall back. Determined to accomplish the mission given him by his battalion commander, Burke refused to give up. He repeatedly rallied his men and led them against the death-spitting ridge, but each time they were forced to fall back because of the withering fire that was killing and wounding his men. Burke reassessed the enemy situation and began looking for the enemy machine-gun position that was the major stumbling block in the attack. Once he determined the gun’s location, he crawled forward, heedless of the heavy volume of enemy fire which chewed and churned the dirt around him until he was within grenade range. Despite the murderous fire now being directed at him, he accurately lobbed several grenades into the machine-gun nest, completely obliterating it. Having eliminated this obstacle, he dauntlessly arose and valiantly led his inspired men in a fifth furious assault on the ridge and successfully secured it.

For his gallantry, aggressive leadership, and unwavering courage and determination Burke received the Distinguished Service Cross, America’s second highest award for heroism.

For the next 10 months, the 5th Regiments and Burke’s company participated in many battles, some small, others large. During these battles Burke again showed extraordinary heroism in which he was awarded a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars for valor and four Purple Hearts.

Burke’s tour of duty was almost over in October 1951. At the time, Burke was found at the rear of his regiment. He had a plane ticket in his pocket and was eager to see his wife and infant son. Two miles away, Burke’s company was attempting to cross the Yokkok-chon River. The company was hindered by a large and well-entrenched Chinese force on Hill 200. The battle enraged for days as the 2nd Battalion’s attacks were constantly being repelled. At first, Burke kept up with the reports. Eventually, he no longer tolerated what was going on and decided to enter the front lines. As he himself stated, “I couldn’t see leaving my guys up there without trying to do something.”

When Burke was at the base of Hill 200, he was shocked to witness his company’s strength mitigated to thirty-five traumatized survivors. Burke described the condition of his company clearly: “These men were completely beat. They lay huddled in foxholes, unable to move. They all had the thousand-yard stare of men who’d seen too much fighting, too much death.” Burke dragged up a 57 mm recoilless rifle and shot three rounds at the closest enemy bunker. The bunker itself was a wooden-fronted structure covering a cave, which was dug into the overall hillside. The Chinese attacked American troops by hurling grenades from their trenches. Burke aimed his M1 rifle at the trench line and shot at every Chinese soldier that rose to throw a grenade. Unfortunately, the grenades were still being thrown. After having used an eight-round clip, Burke decided to take more drastic measures. As he recalled, “I considered myself a pretty fair shot, but this was getting ridiculous. I had to do something.”

After laying down his rifle, Burke took a grenade and ran approximately thirty yards to the Chinese trench line. He avoided enemy fire by hurling himself at the base of a dirt berm that was two feet high. When the Chinese momentarily stopped firing, Burke jumped into one of the trenches with a pistol in one hand and a grenade in the other. He shot five or six Chinese soldiers in the forehead. Burke also fired at two Chinese soldiers from further down the trench. Afterwards, he threw his grenade in their direction, jumped out of the trench, and placed himself against the dirt berm. The Chinese were aware of Burke’s location and began throwing grenades at his position. Most of the grenades thrown rolled down the hill and harmlessly exploded. Some of the grenades, however, did explode nearby Burke’s position. Burke himself managed to catch three grenades and tossed them back at the Chinese. At the same time, troops from Burke’s company threw grenades, some of which did not reach their Chinese targets and exploded in close proximity to Burke’s position. Burke abandoned the dirt berm by crawling off to the side where he found cover in a gully. The gully itself ended further up Hill 200 at a Korean burial mound.

After having edged his way up the hill, Burke peeked over the top of the burial mound. He witnessed the main Chinese trench, which was approximately 100 yards away from his position. The trench was covered in enfilade, was curved around the hill and contained a myriad of Chinese troops. Surprisingly, the Chinese were in a state of ease as some of the soldiers talked, sat, and laughed while other units were throwing grenades and firing mortars. Burke went down the gully to Company G’s position and told Sergeant Arthur Foster, the senior NCO, “Get’em ready to attack when I give you the signal!”

Burke then dragged the last functioning machine gun along with three cans of ammunition back up the hill. On top of the burial mound, he set up his tripod, mounted his machine gun, set the screw to free traverse, and prepared his 250-round ammunition box. He began firing at the nearest part of the Chinese trench where the mortars were located. After Burke shot at all of the Chinese mortar squads, he then fired upon a machine gun emplacement. Afterwards, Burke fired up and down the trench with the Chinese too shocked to react. Eventually, the Chinese fled down the trench in a panic. Burke continued to fire until his Browning was jammed. While he attempted to clear his weapon, an enemy started throwing grenades at his position. Burke not only ignored the enemy unit, but he also ignored the grenade fragments that tore open the back of his hand. Eventually, Burke was able to clear his weapon and kill the Chinese grenadier.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Foster was leading a small group to Burke’s location and was summoned by Burke to provide extra firepower. Burke and company were convinced that they were under siege from a full-sized force instead of a few adamant skirmishers. As the Chinese retreated, Burke wrapped his field jacket around the machine gun’s hot barrel sleeve and tore the 31-pound weapon off its tripod. He then wrapped the ammunition belt around his body, walked towards the trench, and fired upon retreating units. Naturally, Sergeant Foster and his men followed Burke. When Burke depleted his ammunition, he used his .45 automatic and grenades in order to clear out bunkers.

At Hill 200, Burke managed to kill over one-hundred men, decimate two mortar emplacements, and three machine-gun nests. For his actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony on April 11, 1952.

Burke also served during the Vietnam War until a helicopter he was flying in was shot down. This, in turn, forced him to return to the United States and undergo hospitalization for a long period of time. Overall, he spent thirty-five years in the US Armed Forces, served as the Army’s Liaison Officer to the United States Congress, and retired with the rank of full Colonel in 1978.

Burke first marriage to Virginia Fletcher Burke ended in divorce. They had three children. His second wife Maxine preceded him in death.

Burke suffered a massive heart attack and died at his home on June 1st 1999. He is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery Plot: Section 7A, Grave 155, and Map Grid U-23.5

18
Apr

MSgt David M Cummings U.S. Air Force (Ret) (1962-1983)

cummingsRead the service reflections of

MSgt David M Cummings

U.S. Air Force (Ret)

(1962-1983)

Shadow Box: http://airforce.togetherweserved.com/rsbv/MSgt.D.Cummings

If you served in any branch of the U.S. Military, record your own military service story you can share with your family on TogetherWeServed.com.
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE?

When I was young I was making aircraft from wood I found on our farm in Vermont. As far back as I can remember I have always been interested in aircraft so it stands to reason that the Air Force would be my choice. The Navy was also a choice but I don’t swim well. So the Air Force won out.

My Dad was the reason that I decided to make the Air Force a career choice. The year was about 1964 and I was very interested in my Dad’s occupation with J&L located in Springfield VT. He showed me his pay stub and I was amazed as to the monthly dollar amount. He followed up by saying that he had been on strike and out of work about 3 months every 1 to 2 years and explained that if staying in the Air Force was up to him, and if he had that choice, he would stayed in for 20 years.

June 1966 I went from the 18th TFW, Kadena Okinawa to the 388 TFW, Korat, Thailand where I decided to re-enlist. This decision was based on the conversation I had with my Dad back in the early years of my first enlistment.

WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?

When I re-enlisted in 1966, I made the determination at that point to stay for the full 20 years. I was given the chance to receive my variable re-enlistment bonus tax free by flying in a C-130A aircraft over South Vietnam to Misawa AB, Japan delivering communications equipment.

I have never been sorry for the decision I made based on my Dad’s input. My career spanned 20+ years with the shortest assignment of a year while at Osan AB, Korea and the longest of 3.5 years while assigned to FTD 908, Lakenheath AB, England. I averaged a move about every two years.

IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN COMBAT, PEACEKEEPING OR HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.

Yes, if this question also includes combat support while I was stationed with the 388 TFW, Korat Thailand from June 1966 to June 1967.

For humanitarian operations I was involved in the clean up of the Gulf Coast after it was decimated by Hurricane Camille.

OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?

Some of my finest memories are of the six years as a Nav-Aides System Instructor which started in 1969 and lasted until 1975. That teaching path continued after retiring while I was employed by Telemedia in support of technical training of the TNI-Au, Indonesian Air Force from October 1983 to October 1986. On return from Indonesia in August of the following year I was employed by Raytheon Marine Company as Senior Instructor for Shipboard Surface Search Radar and Automatic Radar Plotting Aides (ARPA).

Of all 15 assignments, probably my best memories are while stationed at FTD 908, RAF Lakenheath, England (longest assignment) as the Navigation Aids Instructor. This detachment comprised a very close knit group of professionals that while on duty performed the training requirement for the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing and when tasked, the training requirement of United States Air force Europe (USAFE).

My least favorite and also my first and shortest assignment was of Lackland AFB, TX. I grew up on a farm in Vermont and this was my first time to be away from home and my family. Needless to say this was a culture shock plus an eye opener as to what the military was all about: discipline, following orders without question, discipline, discipline and even more discipline.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?

In August 1969, Hurricane Camille, the third and strongest tropical cyclone and second hurricane during the 1969 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall at Waveland, Mississippi, causing massive damage and destruction across much of the Gulf Coast of the United States. There was additional flooding and deaths inland while crossing the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. It was the second of three catastrophic Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the United States during the 20th century.

The Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Army Corps of Engineers, Navy, and Marine Corps all helped with evacuations, search and rescue, clearing debris, and distribution of food. I was stationed at Kessler AFB, Mississippi at the time and we were sent in to help clear fallen trees in the Biloxi, Mississippi area. I was in charge of one of the many chainsaw details charged with this mission. This was a very demanding as well as rewarding detail and I still remember as if it was yesterday.

In total, Camille killed 259 people and caused $1.42 billion (equivalent to $9.13 billion in 2014 dollars) in damages.

In August 2005, thirty six years after Camille, Hurricane Katrina’s winds and storm surge reached the Mississippi coastline killing 234 people.

WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER? IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS FOR VALOR OR OTHER SIGNIFICANT AWARDS, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.

Air Force Commendation Medal (1st Award). Order G333, 14 July 1967 – By direction of the Secretary of the Air Force, the AF Commendation Medal was awarded for meritorious service during 15 June 1966 to 11 June 1967 while assigned to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base Thailand.

Air Force Commendation Medal (2nd Award) Order G56, 23 Oct 1969 – By direction of the Secretary of the Air Force, the AF Commendation Medal was awarded for outstanding achievement during 17 Aug 1969 to 1 Sept 1969 while assigned to Keesler A FB MS for exemplary ability, diligence and devotion duty during the clean-up after Hurricane Camille.

Air Force Commendation Medal (3rd Award) Order GA-0112, 15 Sep 1978 – By direction of the Secretary of the Air Force, the AF Commendation Medal was awarded for outstanding achievement during 23 Mar 1977 to 21 Sept 1978 while assigned to 6100 LSS, Kadena AB Japan.

Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding service as NCOIC, Navigation Section and Communication-Navigation Branch NCOIC, 62d Avionics Maintenance Squadron, McChord AFB, Washington from 2 August 1982 to 30 June 1983.

Read more »

15
Apr

LTJG Kirk Douglas US Navy (Served 1941-1944)

View the service history of actor:

kirk douglasLTJG Kirk Douglas

US Navy

(Served 1941-1944)

View more famous people who served on TogetherWeServed.com 

Shadow Box http://navy.togetherweserved.com/profile/468480

Short Bio: Douglas enlisted in the United States Navy in 1941, shortly after the United States entered World War II, where he served as a gunnery and communications officer in anti-submarine warfare on board PC-1139. He was medically discharged for war injuries in 1944.

13
Apr

The Billionaire Green Beret: John Walton

Former SOG soldier, John Walton, could have traveled the globe on luxury jets. Instead, the Wal-Mart fortune heir loved to take to the skies in an experimental plane built from a kit. On June 27, 2005, while a Cessna business jet he used sat on a runway at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming Airport, he took off in the plane, powered by a gas engine similar to those in snowmobiles. A third of a mile from the runway, the craft went into a steep dive and crashed in Grand Teton National Park, killing the 58-year-old educator and outdoorsman.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation indicated that the crash was caused by the incorrect installation of a piece of airplane equipment. At the time of his death, Forbes magazine had ranked John Walton as the 11th-richest person in the world, tied with his brother Jim. The brothers then each had an estimated net worth of $18.2 billion.

Walton was the son of Sam Walton, who founded the Wal-Mart discount store chain that became one of the world’s biggest companies. Unlike his father, Walton didn’t pursue a business career. He attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, dropping out after two years. He then joined the Army and served in Vietnam.  But his duties were far from ‘regular.’  He was a Special Forces soldier in a unit code-named the Studies and Observations Group, or SOG (cover for “special operations group”), a secret, elite military unit that often operated in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam in what had been called America’s “Secret War.” Walton joined the unit in 1968, right after the Tet offensive.

He became a member of a SOG “Hatchet Force” which consisted of small cross border teams generally made up with two or three Americans and up to five Indigenous troops; sometimes South Vietnamese, sometimes Montagnards and sometimes Chinese Brue, but always very capable, loyal and fierce warriors who knew how to operate in the jungles with stealth and outstanding bravery. On almost every mission there was a firefight. A particularly horrifying battle occurred in the A Shau Valley in Laos while he was assigned to ST (strike team) Louisiana. The team mission was to find a fellow Green Beret who had been separated from his team when it was forced to evacuate after running into a large enemy force. John was the commando team’s No. 2 as well as its medic.

In the low light of early morning, ST Louisiana was dropped from Sikorsky H-34 helicopters onto a ridge near the DMZ and was attacked by North Vietnamese army soldiers. In a memoir titled Across the Fence: The Secret War in Vietnam, fellow Green Beret John Stryker Meyer gives an account of that day: “Four of the NVA’s rounds struck the tail gunner, wounding him severely. As Walton swung his CAR-15 [a submachine gun version of the M-16] toward the enemy soldier … [his] rounds hit the NVA soldier and drove him back in the jungle.”

The account goes on to say that Walton’s commanding officer, Wilbur “Pete” Boggs, called in a napalm strike that landed yards away from John. Soon the six-man team was surrounded. One was dead and three were wounded. John tended to casualties, including Boggs, who was knocked semiconscious by shrapnel, and Tom Cunningham, who was badly hurt with a knee that was blown out and started hemorrhaging very, very severely. Walton applied a tourniquet to his leg to stop the severe hemorrhaging. With Boggs down, Walton was now in charge. He picked up the radio and called in two choppers for extraction. As the first Sikorsky H-34 (King Bee) dropped in and lifted off with some of the men, the NVA intensified its assault. A second chopper was needed to get all the men out, but the landing zone was too hot to make it in. Walton and his team thought they were doomed, but suddenly the first chopper came back down, even though their added weight might make it too heavy to take off again. With the enemy advancing into the clearing, firing at the helicopter, and Walton trying to keep Cunningham alive, the King Bee took off and barely made it over the treetops.

Cunningham and Boggs survived, though Cunningham lost his leg. That night while John was playing poker, someone pointed out that he had a flesh wound across his right wrist. A round fired by the NVA soldier John had killed had creased his skin. Later John was awarded the Silver Star.

To many who called him a friend, he was a Renaissance man who didn’t really care about the trappings of inherited power. When he returned from Vietnam he worked as a crop duster and a ship builder. He was known for choosing jeans and a T-shirt over a suit and tie.  He preferred a beat-up truck over a shiny new car. Among his hobbies was flying, skiing, scuba diving, mountain biking and hiking and fulfilling his obligation on the Wal-Mart board. Aside from his passion for spending time with his family and playing various sports, he spent

11
Apr

AMCS John J. Babstock U.S. Navy (Ret) (1984-2009)

Read the service reflections of US Navy Sailor:

babstockAMCS John J. Babstock

U.S. Navy (Ret)

(1984-2009)

Shadow Box: http://navy.togetherweserved.com/bio/JOHN.BABSTOCK

If you served in any branch of the U.S. Military, record your own military service story you can share with your family on TogetherWeServed.com.

PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE NAVY?

To me, my Naval career started when I was a kid, listening to my grandfather’s sea stories. My grandfather was a GM during WW II; and served as a member of the armed guard on freighters & tankers. joinHe told me stories of his convoy duties, like fishing with hand grenades in the Pacific or sailing the North Atlantic in the winter. Those of us that have done that; know how much fun that can be!
One of the many benefits of growing up in New England; is the rich naval history that is preserved up and down the coast. One of the places he brought me; was Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA. We would walk around the USS Massachusetts (BB-59) along with the other ships. He would tell me about the guns, how to operate them and how to do PM on them.

Using boats on the river or planes flying by, he would show me how to aim at them. He told me that shooting down a maneuvering A/C like a zero was not easy. But once they picked a ship to attack it got easier, because they stayed in a straight line for a while, especially if they got tunnel vision. I would have never guessed, that over 40 years later in the Persian Gulf, I would use what he taught me. I really enjoyed those tours, it was great having my own personnel tour guide. He took me to see the movie Midway when it came out. He bought me my 1st peacoat, it doesn’t fit me anymore, but I still have it. So it seemed only natural that I would join the world’s greatest NAVY! He died 3 yrs before I could enlist.

In 1982 my buddies & I were hanging out at the USMC recruiting office and they showed us a tape of flight deck ops during the Vietnam War. I said I wanted to do that & work on F-4’s. Gunny Cherry said, Okay”, and he walked me to the Navy office. He told the PO1 that was sitting at the desk to make it happen or he would kill him. The PO1 said, “Yes Gunny”, and that was it!

WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?

Up until I watched that flight deck video at the USMC recruiting office, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in the Navy. pathI just wanted to go to sea. But once I saw that video, I knew I wanted to work on the F-4’s on the roof.

So it was off to AMH school, there was 1 set of orders for F-4’s on the Midway. The guy ahead of me took those orders, he wanted to go to Japan. So then it was off to F/A-18 school in Lemoore, then to VFA-106 at Cecil Field.
After my 2nd enlistment and learning how fouled up the Chief’s Mess can really be, I decided to get out. I enlisted in the Reserves and stayed a brown shoe. I started out working in AIMD at NAS South Weymouth for 4 yrs. I then transferred to C-130’s for 10 yrs. The Herc community is a great community to be a part of.

In 2003 I was de-mobing in Norfolk and I was put in with a group of sailors that were from a boat unit. We started talking and they said they needed a Chief. They asked if I would come down and see what they were all about, so I did, I walked around the spaces at the New Haven, CT Reserve Center and I the talked with the CO & XO. They asked if I liked what I saw, I said yes and they asked when I could start. They didn’t care about the fact that I was a brown shoe and how they were going to work the billet problem.

Walking that transfer chit up the chain was an experience. I was asked more than once if this was a joke and “What the hell is IBU?”. I was told that I just ruined my chance for advancement by a few people. I told them, that I wanted to see how the other half lived in the black shoe Navy. When I made AMCS in ’05 while on my 2nd activation, those people who told me that I ruined my career sent me an email, saying they guessed they were wrong. I retired in ’09.

IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.

While assigned to VFA-82 on the America in ’89, we were suppose too be in Singapore for 7 days; but on our 3rd day LtCol Higgins (USMC) was killed by the terrorists who took him hostage. So we were called back to the ship and we high tailed it back combatto the coast of Iran, where we sat there for about 3 weeks loading & unloading A/C for missions that never happened.
One evening I was sitting on the alert 5 bird with the pilot. He was showing me pics of the ships he was assigned to destroy. They were our old Fletcher class destroyers. I asked if they were recent and he said yes. So we discussed the weapon systems they had and he asked why I knew so much about them, that I could have given him the intel brief. I told him about my grandfather and said that I have been on a few of them.

So we didn’t end up bombing Iran, but a few months later we ended up in participating in a rescue mission in Lebanon. We were with the Coral Sea battle group, we provided air support for the embassy rescue mission. The Coral Sea was supposed to relieve us, so we could go home, but she got her decom letter. So instead of us off loading stuff to her, she off loaded her stuff to us!

During that process a Russian destroyer was behind us. Every once in a while she would try to make a run between us. So we would close the gap and she would fall back & we would open up & she would try again. This went on a few times while the helos where doing their thing. Flight ops was suspended during this evolution, so a lot of people were on the roof of both ships. When we would close the gap a few hand gestures were passed back & forth between us sailors, along with a lot of banter! They were laughing, but not too many of us were! Whenever we did an unrep our skipper would have the song Coming to America by Neil Diamond played on the 1MC, so that was playing the whole time.

In ’05, I was the forward gunner on a 34′ Dauntless Sea Ark boat manning an M-60. We were on station at night at the port of Ash Shu’ay Bah Kuwait. A small craft with a flashing green light was entering our threat zone from under a pier. We started for the boat & manned our gun stations. We could not fire on the boat because the pier he came under was an LNG pier and a tanker was getting loaded at the time. You don’t want a stray round to hit anything on that pier!

So the Coxswain got on the inside track of him and once we cleared that pier & ship we would have a clear shot. He was holding his course until we were about 300′ from him and we turned our blue lights on. Once we did that, he turned hard to port to get the hell away from us. We turned with him, keeping us between him & the port entrance. We were broad side with about 100′ between us. The whole time I had my weapon pointed right at the 2 guys standing at the wheel. The port 50 would of taken care of the rest of the boat if need be. I was thinking the whole time “don’t point a weapon at us; I don’t want to kill you”. That was the 1st time I came close to killing someone with me pulling a trigger. I have loaded A/C with weapons and they have come back without them, but I never saw the end result. Standing behind a gun & seeing a person on the other end of the sights is a different story! You see the end result of what you just did. I can still see those men in that boat.

The Coxswain asked if we could go after the boat and the TOC denied the request. They said they passed the info to the Kuwaiti Navy & Coast Guard, they never found the boat. A few hours later we could hear a distress call from a ship, asking for help because it was being attacked by pirates. Since the ship was not an HVA, we could not go out to assist.

OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?

I always look back at my flight deck time with ’82 as fond times. I loved working the roof, being at sea and the guys I worked with. My time with 62 was great, did a lot of fun things and went a lot of places.

My time with IBU favoritewas the end of my career and I enjoyed being on the boats and most of the people I deployed with. When you spend 10 or 12 hrs a day on a patrol boat with 3 or 4 other people you can’t help but build a special bond. Just like the bond you build with people you trust your life with!
As for my least favorite part of my career! It was dealing with the bad E-7’s, E-8’s & E-9’s. In VFA-106 I had and E-7 who thought all of us line rats were no good. He didn’t believe in, if you take care of your sailors, they will take care of you. So he treated us like crap & we treated him like crap. When he screwed up, he blamed it on us, but we made sure everyone knew that he was the screw up.

In VFA-82 I had another fouled up CPO mess. They thought they were above the law. As far as us E-4 & below in the line shack were concerned, there was only 1 Chief in the unit, ADC Broom. He stood up for us & he paid the price for not touting the line. One night while working the roof, I got into an argument with and AMC and he proceeded to try to throw me down a running intake. Lucky for me the pilot saw it and he throttled back the engine, while I was holding a pad eye. The pilot never said a word! I told my guys who saw it, to stay out of it. I didn’t want them to get caught up in my fight!

I was told by the E-8 & E-9 of the Maintenance Dept to keep my mouth shut or else. I was fighting for custody of my daughter at the time & we had another deployment coming up. I was told they wouldn’t put me on it. Well when the list came out I was # 1 on it. I kept my mouth shut until then. When I was checking out of the command, I told the CO he doesn’t run the unit and I told him the entire story. He was not happy. That again, is another story!

I visited that unit a year later and a few of my old friends were still there. They told me what happened after I left. They said the CO went nuts and he and the new black shoe Master Chief cleaned house. The AMHC never saw E-8 & the E-8’s never saw E-9.

I saw my old CO a few years after that. He flew into NAS South Weymouth, I was working as a crash crew firefighter on the base. We were driving by the A/C and I saw him. I caught him coming out of the hangar. He saw me, called me over, we talked & laughed. He told me what happened after I left, I told him that I heard. He asked if I would launch him out later that day. So I prepped the bird like old times, got him strapped in like old times, we said goodbye, I told him to have a good flight and I launched him off like old times. That was the last time I touched a running hornet. I have to admit, it felt good crawling under that bird doing my checks. I missed it! I got into a habit way back when, when I saw the pilot coming out to the A/C; I would tap the A/C and tell it to take care of him (we didn’t have female pilots back then). I did it with the Hercs also and when I get into an A/C.

While assigned to IBU-22, we had to deal with a squadron CPO mess who thought they were above regulations & thought they deserved special treatment. They didn’t like being told they were wrong or that they didn’t get special treatment from me. To me an anchor didn’t mean you are special and deserve better treatment. Some people forget where they came from and expect special treatment. Most of the E-9’s in the squadron didn’t have any balls, they just kissed the O’s butts! The ones who didn’t kiss butt, got assigned to the PLATS, UAE or Bahrain, that also went for some of the O’s who didn’t play along either.

FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
08011-N-0292S-146In my career I have had a few close calls, where I could have been killed or seriously hurt. I have also seen some of my friends & sailors get hurt. The time I was looking down my M-60 at the human being I might have to kill, was eye opening. I don’t take life for granted, it is too short. So I try to enjoy as much as I can and laugh as much as possible.
WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER? IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS OR QUALIFICATION BADGES FOR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT OR VALOR, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.

I was coming up to the end of my time with VFA-106. The Rear Admiral who got me into & kept me out of trouble on a few occasions, asked me if I would consider coming to D.C. to be his personal P/C. 106 was a RAG outfit and I really wanted to go to sea. He said he understood, he told me that if I ever needed anything, that I was to call on him anytime.

I was launching 1 of the instructor pilots, Maj. Hedges, on my last week working the line in 106. As I was strapping him in, he told me “that it was an honor to have known me and that I would have made a hell of a Marine. He knew that when he is strapped into a bird I prepped, that it was a good bird and the cleanest cockpit he flew in! He also kept me out of the brig once.

With VFA-82, I was again assigned to the line division. Back then people could enlist for 2 years and as a group. Well, we got 1 of these groups, a bunch of kids straight from the hoods of NYC and fresh out of high school. They were a good group of kids, they did not take life to serious and they called me Grandpa, I was 24.

I taught them everything I knew about the Hornet and they soaked it all in. We were at sea and one of them was working days and I worked nights as a T/S. One day, Airman Banks came to my bunk shaking me awake. He was all excited and he woke all of us night checkers up. I asked what was wrong and he said nothing, so I said “Why in the hell are you waking me up?” He said that his bird just caught fire and that he put it out all by himself. I asked; if he and the pilot were okay, he said “Yes”, I said, “Good job”, and that I was proud of him. He said, “Thank you for everything”. The guys awake asked if they could go back to sleep now and he went back to work.

Another moment was my retirement ceremony. My present Sailors and some from my past; gave me a great send off that I, my family and friends will never forget!

There are many 1 on 1 moments with sailors thru out my career like above, that make me proud of my time in the Navy. When I have been asked to make entries into my sailors charge books! When I got asked to be the guest speaker at a retirement ceremony or asked to plan or participate in a ceremony and they tell me why. All of these are proud moments. valorBut the proudest moment was with 3 of my daughters. Mackenzie was in 2nd grade and Isabella was in kindergarten. In 2007 I was shipping out for their 3rd activation in 5 yrs. I was asked to go into their school and talk with their classes, which I did. I showed up in my cammies, with my other daughter Hadley.
When I got to the classroom door, they both looked at me with the biggest smiles.They got up, ran over to me, turned to their classmates and said, “This is my Dad, he is in Navy”. They walked me to the chair that was put out for me. I fielded questions for about 30 minutes, they never left my side and they just held my hands the entire time. Country artist Keni Thomas (an Army Ranger from Blackhawk down) says it best in his song, “That One is My Dad”; he says it for all us proud parents!

OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR ANY OTHER MEMORABILIA, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH ARE THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?

My 1 & only NAM that I got while in VFA-82 in ’88. When I left 106 to go to 82, I thought, yes I will finally get to work in the airframes shop, boy was I wrong again! I was told that I would go to 1st Lt, because they didn’t want to contaminate me with old technology. I raised the B/S flag to PO1 Plate everyday and asked if I could go back to 106 and at least keep my quals up? The 1st kept on saying no, then they finally got sick of the bitching. So they sent me to VFA-87 instead, where I spent the next 4 months working with them. I did workups with them, I kept my quals up and got a few more in the process. I had a great time with them. When it was time to transition from the A-7’s to F/A 18’s, they called me back.

medalsI found out that the command was going to put me back in the line to set up the line & T/S Div. I was also tasked with training the command on how to operate and work around the 18’s. I put a lot of time & effort into it. Our CAG was in Fallon doing our bombing quals. I was the night check T/S Sup and we were launching out a mission. I was walking down the line & a bird was taxing from the arming point, on it’s way too take off. I just happened to see that a door under the port engine was open. I stopped the pilot, who was LCDR Wirt, he came from Pax, where he was a test pilot. He was a great pilot! It turns out that there were 3 doors open on his A/C. As I was sending him off, he asked why I stopped him. I signaled that a door was open & I would tell him when he got back.
So he left and I found the guys who checked him out & told them what happened. He came back and he came looking for me, I was hoping he would forget, but he didn’t. I told him that I found a door open, not 3, he thanked me and said good job, and it was genuine. He never mentioned it again. Later on back at Cecil, my LPO asked me about it and said that Mr. Wirt told him about it. He asked who checked him out, I told him I handled it and that was it.

Well later on at quarters, I was up with the guys who were getting promoted,(I was getting E-5). We got dismissed, but CDR Eason told me to stand fast, which I did. He walked up to me and looked down at me. I’m 6′ when standing tall, his call sign was lurch and for good reasons! He pinned the NAM on me as the XO was reading the award. It turns out that Mr. Wirt wrote me up for a COMM for that trip, but it got knocked down to a NAM. As AMC Hawkins pointed out to me, E-4’s don’t deserve a COMM for doing their job! To a point I agreed with him, I was doing my job when I closed those doors. But all the other admin stuff I did to set up those divisions were way above & beyond an E-4’s job. Especially when an E-5 & E-6 were assigned to those divisions. CDR Eason thanked me for all the hard work I did to get the command up & running and combat ready. After quarters Mr. Wirt came up and thanked me again!

WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
personIn a positive way, Gunnies Cherry, Hunsinger, Birdsong, Lawrence, MSgt Dugan, MGySgt Lord, CPO Broom, Maj Hedges, CDR’s Eason, Mustin, LeClair, and Desormier. They all cared about their Marines & Sailors, They all had their own way of leading, and over all they all tried to do right by us. Even all of the bad CPO’s I have dealt with have had a positive effect. They taught me and all the others that were exposed to them, what not to be or do as a person in a leadership role.
PLEASE RECOUNT THE NAMES OF FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH, AT WHICH LOCATION, AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THEM. INDICATE THOSE YOU ARE ALREADY IN TOUCH WITH AND THOSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE CONTACT WITH.

Where to begin, in 25 yrs you make meet a lot of people. The 1st guy to mention is AMH2 Jeff Chessick. We met in F/A-18 school & we went to VFA-106 together. He was a great mentor & is a great friend. I don’t know if they still show peoplethat training movie the 1st 48 hrs to the new guys, but he made sure I didn’t get with the wrong crowd. We still talk and him & his wife Joellyn sends my girls b-day cards every yr & X-mas cards.
Next would be Adam & Jada Gray, we worked the line together in 106. They visit when they are in the area & we visit when we are down in there next of the woods. 106 was a big command with a lot of good people. There was Hughey & carrie from my 87 days, I visit them when I’m in Fla. Then there is Jay & Chubs from my 82 days. We still talk & send emails back & forth. I have been to God’s (Texas) country as they call it, but they haven’t been up here in Yankee country as they call it. There is Chris, Dave, Darrin, Dilts & so many others from my AIMD & 62 days. I still talk with & see some of them. Then there are my boat days, again so many great people. I couldn’t possibly name them all! I still talk & see a lot of them. With promotion and retirement ceremonies I get to keep up with them. Had a lot of good times in my career, with a lot of good people. I have very few regrets with my career.

CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?

While assigned to F/A-18 school in Lemoore, I was the only boot in the class. Everyone else came from the fleet, mostly from A-7’s & F-14’s. Back then the movie Blue Thunder was popular. If you remember the movie, one you are old and two you remember the JAFO hat. Well the guys gave me a JAFA hat and they made me wear it around the base. Only one person ever asked me what it stood for and it was a Commander. We were walking to class; he stopped us, called me over and asked what JAFA stood for.

So there I was, a boot E-3 wondering what the hell I was going to tell him and so were the guys. So finally, I just came out and told him exactly what funnyit meant, “just another f—–g airman sir”. He stood there for a brief moment, looked at me & the guys standing behind me, laughed and said, “Carry on.” I said “Yes Sir” saluted & walked away.
In VFA-106, a Rear Admiral was the one who got me in trouble and he was the one who got me out of trouble. We were on board ship; I was part of a detachment for a pilot class doing their carrier quals. The Admiral was just keeping his current.I had been a P/C for him about yr & a half now, he was assigned to the wing at Cecil. So our relationship was a typical P/C pilot relationship.

I had just finished launching him and I passed him over to the waiting ABH. We were on elevator 1 & as he taxied by me, he flipped me the bird. I looked around to see if he did it to someone else. I pointed at myself while looking at him and he shook his head yes. We both started laughing, so I flipped him back, turned to walk away and guess who was standing behind me, my least favorite ADC. Well he started in on me & said he was going to write me up, which was normal for him. hand-pen-paper-8003027So I did what I usually did when he did that, I threw my pen at him, said “Start f—–g writing”. The pen bounced off of him & I picked it up, I didn’t want to put FOD on the roof!

By the time I got off the roof and in the shop, Gunny Birdsong was waiting for me. He asked, if I really flipped off the Admiral & threw my pen at the E-7 (everyone called him the E-7), I told him yes! He shook his head, started to laugh, he couldn’t stand ADC either, not too many people could! Anyway, he told me that I have to stop throwing pens at him. Gunny was there to escort me to the OIC to sign my report chit, which I did.

So the Admiral is the last one down and I go to unstrap him. He starts laughing and says “Babstock you are the only guy who has ever flipped me back”. I started laughing and told him what happened. As we were walking back to the island, he told me that he would take care of it, and he did.

On one of the many Fallon trips I went on while in 106, way before they put a permanent detachment there, Major Hedges kept me from the brig. I was accused of DUI & destruction of government property. That’s a whole other story all in itself. The only thing was, I didn’t drink & he knew it, plus the fact nothing came up on all of the tests I had to go through! He didn’t like the fact that the command was going to hide a LCDR who got busted for a DUI in town on the same trip & they were going to keel haul me! So he raised the BS flag and my charges were dropped.

fallonI spent more time at NAS Fallon, or on a ship than I did at Cecil. Myself & LCPL Gray worked mids on the wash rack for 3 months straight, 7 days a week. Our first skipper didn’t believe in time off, unless you worked topside inside the nice air conditioned office spaces. We averaged 3 to 5 A/C a night, depending how dirty they were. That was us getting them off the line and us bringing them back ourselves, just the two of us. Who needs wing walkers!

One Sunday morning, we got challenged by I believe by LCPL’s Faulkner & Folsom on who could take a bird back to the line and bring another back to the wash rack the fastest. The birds sat side by side on the rack and we told them we would take the inside bird to make it even. Everyone laughed & they took the outside bird. We both hooked up and Adam got in the seat and I drove. They were able to pull right out, we had to back out.

So it is a Sunday and nobody else is working, so we thought. So we take off, of course we are behind them, I mean right behind them. Our right wing tip was right behind their left wing tip! I went to go around & they cut us off a few times. We made our time up when it came to hooking up to the other bird. Adam drove back & I rode the seat, we beat them back. When we got back to the shack, Gunny Hunsinger was there waiting for us. We walked in, sat down and didn’t say a word. He looked at all of us and asked if the birds were ready and we said yes. He said good: he turned to us and said something like “the next time you want to f–king drag race with millions of dollars of A/C, make sure the Admiral isn’t watching, you f–king idiots”. We denied everything!

The Admiral was the same Admiral who flipped me off. His office was in VA-174’s hangar which was next to ours. He did mention the race the next time I launched him! He was one of the coolest Admirals I ever knew.

womenIn the mid 80’s, the Navy’s top brass, in its infinite wisdom (because the politician’s said they had too) decided that it was time for females to be able to work on the roof with non-combat commands. So they decided to let RAG outfits send females aboard carriers. Well guess what div had the most girls, yup the line div, my div. So I’m on the 1st detachment that is sending girls to do carrier quals.

We have girls with us; I was tasked with showing 2 of them around the roof to give them the safety brief and they were going to be with me when the A/C arrived. You are thinking lucky guy right! When it came to working the roof, my attitude was this. If I could trust you to get me out of trouble if I got in it, then I didn’t care who or what you were. If I couldn’t, then I didn’t want you around me at anytime!

So myself and the 2 girls are walking around the roof. I see the Capt & an Admiral walking around the deck with their marine guards in tow. Well the 2 girls are behind me. We are coming up on the 2 officers, well they both come running up to me calling my name and they both goosed me! I turned beat red, I couldn’t say a word, I put my head down and just stood there waiting for the hammer to fall. The Capt & Admiral just laughed along with the rest of them. I was mortified! The girls could not stop laughing, they grabbed me by the arms and walked me off.

The Capt had armed guards stationed at every hatch that led to a female berthing area! They were not allowed to wander around the ship by themselves either. So those of us that brought them were considered very lucky guys for the most part. We considered them just another Sailor, but for a ship & crew that never worked with females before, they were thought of differently and it was obvious! The current sub crews are now going through what the rest of the fleet went through back in the mid & late 80’s. It will be a big transition for them!

With 82; we were getting a launch ready; a P/C asked me to look at his bird, so I did, I said the A/C was down. I was looking for the flight deck chief to tell him & the pilot came out. maxresdefaultIt was Mr. Smith a damn good pilot! I told him the plane was down, he asked why, I told him and he said don’t worry about it. I said it isn’t safe and he said he wanted to fly. I said OK, it’s your life, hoping that would stop him, it didn’t. So he starts it up, I wait for the P/C to hand it over to me, my partner & we do our checks. I salute him & do the sign of the cross & I hand him over to the waiting ABH. He looked at me shaking his head & I could see him say WTF. He shuts the bird down, the P/C puts the ladder down. He walks up to me & says & I quote “Babstock you are a F–kKING A–HOLE” & walks off too the island. I said “I told you it was unsafe” as he was walking off.

He left the Navy after that deployment to become an airline pilot. I was the P/C for his last flight with us. As I was strapping him in, he said thanks for that night on the roof. I told him I was just doing my job. He wished me luck with everything that was going on. I wished him luck with his future. When he landed, we shook hands and I never saw him again. I left for an around the horn cruise before he checked out. He was a great pilot & a good man!

Another 82 story is with a pilot named Wyle. So I get this MAF from M/C saying that F/C computer #1 would not work in the O F F position. I laugh & say this must be a joke. So I go down to M/C (I had to go to supply for parts anyway) & talk with them in there, saying ha ha nice joke. They said it isn’t a joke, he was actually serious. So I go across the way to the Hornets nest & the O’s are watching a movie.

So I go in, sit down next to Mr. Wyle & I ask him to read it. So he does, he looks at me, I ask if it is a joke. Now we are whispering because the movie is on & the CO & XO are sitting behind us. I said read it again & I get the same response. I said, read it again but out loud, by this time the CO & XO are listening to what is going on. So he reads it out loud, the F/C computer #1 won’t work in the OFF position. Then it clicks and the light goes on in his head. Just as the CO slaps the back of his head & calls him an idiot. The room busts out laughing, I told him that I was going to A 779 it & sign it off, if he didn’t mind. As I was walking out I said,”it only takes a high school education to fix a college education f–k up”! The room busted out laughing again. He was the pilot in the A/C during my intake incident.

WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?

jobWhen I got off of active duty in ’90, I got a job as a firefighter for the Navy at NAS South Weymouth. The base got its shut down notice, so it was time to get another job. When I was still on active duty in ’89, I went home on leave between cruises and took the state firefighter test. I ended up getting a job with & still am a firefighter for my home town. I am a 3rd generation fireman. I also drive a small ferry boat around Boston Harbor on my days off from the station.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?

I am part of the local VFW. Up until I had kids, I liked to volunteer on board the USS Salem CA-139. Someday when they have flown the coup, I will return to doing that.

IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER?

As we all know; we come to rely on others to keep us safe and they rely on us to keep them safe. It is part of being in the military and we learn it very young! Being a P/C, T/S, mechanic, manning a weapon, running a boat influencecrew, a shop sup, an LPO or a CPO puts a lot of responsibility on a person.
Attention to detail is not just a catchphrase that we say. It is something we live by, because if we lose our focus, someone could or will die or get seriously hurt! Those of us that rely on equipment to work properly, learn how to take care of it for obvious reasons. As Gunny Highway say’s (another old movie) “you have to learn how to improvise, adapt and overcome any situation”.

Well, I carry that way of thinking to my fire dept job, always have! I have been ridiculed for it and a lot of laughs have been had for it. When I use to drive, guys would throw a bolt or something under my truck. Because they knew; I would see it and I would go over that truck until I found where it came from. They would just sit and watch or they would just leave. They also knew, that if I was driving; that the truck & everything on it was ready to go! We all got a good laugh.

Now that I don’t drive anymore, I tell and teach my drivers what I expect from them. I tell them that I want to go home to my family at the end of the shift and it might have to be up to them to make sure it happens.

As for how the military influences my interactions with my family? Well they would have to answer that one. Some of it is good and some of it isn’t as far as they are concerned, I’m sure! We all know the family of a service member has the toughest job, hands down!

BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE NAVY?

The 1st thing I would tell someone; is to take full advantage of everything the Navy has to offer! Take & go to as many schools & classes as you can, get a degree, get as many quals as you can. Do as many rating books as you advicecan, some are worth college credit & retirement points!
Learn how to read your service record; your service record is your responsibility, no one else’s! The people who are responsible to make entries into it are human beings. Which means; they can & do make mistakes & they can be lazy just like you? If you do not know how to read it, then who will catch a mistake? Not every LPO or CPO reads their Sailors records, because no one taught them. Sit down with your admin dept, an LPO or CPO and have them teach you! It’s your career; a screwed up record can haunt you well after you get out or retire! You don’t want to try to fix it when you get out, it is damn near impossible!

Take writing courses and buy Naval writing books. Learn how to write your own evaluation. When your shop supervisor or LPO asks for input, give it to them. Again it is your career, take a hold of it and run it! When you move up in rank, you will be writing evaluations & awards for your sailors! They deserve your time & best effort.

Be fair, honest, and trustworthy, treat your fellow Sailors with respect & treat them as individuals. Take pride in your uniform & in every task assigned to you. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what is right. Pay attention to detail, a life may depend on it & it might be yours!

Take the initiative; if you see a problem that needs to be fixed, try to fix it! If you can’t, then find someone who can! Don’t be the problem, be the solution. There are many ways to do things, the Navy way, the wrong way & your way. If you fail on your 1st attempt, then try again, keep trying until the problem is fixed or you accomplish the task. A good sup will give you some line to explore, but they will not let you hang yourself. If you need help, then ask, if you don’t know the answer, then find it or find someone who does! We are a team: no one can run a dept, an op, ship or A/C by themselves.

Try to have as much fun as possible, take lots of pics. Do not be like me and have to rely on your memory to remember the good times! Trust me: when you get out or retire you will tell sea stories, let them be good ones! Remember, you represent everyone who is or has ever worn a uniform. Trust me when I say, people are watching. You have joined the world’s greatest navy. Don’t let us down!

IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.

It has hooked me back up with old Sailors. Answering these questions have brought back old memories, that I haven’t thought of for a very long time.

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