LCDR E.L. Spratt, U.S. Navy (1969-1999)



The following Reflection represents LCDR E.L. Spratt’s legacy of their military service from 1969 to 1999. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having had the most positive impact on you and why?:

This one is easy. Radarman Chief Charles B. Sharp. He was my Chief on the USS Monticello, the first ship I rode after my tour in Nam. He taught me more about leadership than any of the schools the Navy sent me to, and the lessons I learned from him in our two years together have remained with me for my whole life. Chief Sharp helped me get through the post-Vietnam “spookies”. He showed me how to be a leader, and he taught me that the most important things a leader has going for him are the people who work for him. He also taught me the concept of “walk and talk”, as a way to get to know what’s going on in your division.

One night, we were walkin’ and talkin’, and he mentioned that my enlistment was ending in a few months. He asked what I was going to do when I got out. Since I really had no concrete plans, he listened to me babble for a few minutes and then asked me one question, “Do you like what you are doing now?” Well, we were about 3/4 through a great Westpac cruise that had me visiting places like Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines. I was a Second Class by then, making more money than I had ever made in my life, and was having a blast seeing the world. Of course, I liked what I was doing, and I told him so.

He just said, “well, you might want to think about re-enlisting. It ain’t a bad life, you know.” And he walked away. I had a bit of trouble sleeping that night, and the next morning I initiated the walk and talk. He explained that not only would I get to keep doing something I enjoyed and was good at, but if I shipped over within the next four days, I would add a couple of thousand dollars to my re-enlistment bonus because we were still in the tax-free war zone. That afternoon I put in my chit to ship for six years, and two days later, I was raising my hand. And Chief Sharp, well, before he would allow me to raise my hand or sign the paper, he made me promise him something. He said, “Spratt, promise me this. if this ever quits being fun, you will quit doing it.” Well, for 27 years after making that promise, the Navy was still fun, and I kept doing it. Thanks to RDC Sharp, who did more for me and my career than he will ever know. An added note, because of NTWS, I was able to make contact with Chief Sharp and was able to let him know of his impact on this young Sailor. Thanks, Beth and Tammy, for making it happen.

Sadly, I recently learned that Chief Sharp passed away on April 30, 2018. There is no doubt the world is a better place because of his presence. I will always cherish my time with “Chief”.

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Tags: Chief Charles B. Sharp., Military Memories of our Runner-Ups, Second Class


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