United States Navy

Service Reflections of MMC Kenneth Parment, U.S. Navy (1981-2004)


The following Reflections represents MMC Kenneth Parment’s legacy of his military service from 1981 to 2004. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The following 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. Start recording your own Military Memories HERE.

Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Navy.

My family was a military family. I always knew I would join and serve, just not what branch or specialty. My father (Army Air Corps) and Uncle (Navy) said the Navy had the best chow and no marching. I wanted to try out for the Army Ranger program, but following my parent’s advice, I waited till I took the ASVAB test to see what was available. I took the ASVAB test after my junior year in high school and qualified for the Nuclear program and the shorter preschool program. So Navy it was.

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?

Shiny USS Stein Steel beach picnic

I did not complete all of the Navy nuclear power school, and I spent a little too much time at Rosie O’Grady’s and was introduced to the ARS program. After completing the ARS program, I was asked where I wanted to go as a conventional MM3. I asked for the largest ship possible on the east coast, if possible, a carrier out of Norfolk. My orders read for the USS Stein (FF-1065) out of San Diego. Then one door closes, another opens, or try the window. I loved the Shiny Stein and the close crew. I was hooked, and it was the first of a 22-year career. The only wish I could have stayed longer.

If you participated in any military operations, including combat, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, please describe those which made a lasting impact on you and, if life-changing, in what way?

I have been on ships in combat areas but never had anyone shoot at me in anger except my ex-wife. I have had things change my life, but things that changed me at a personal level were few. I remember a horrific accident between a car, a motorcycle, and a set of stone steps that happened right in front of me. I thank God for the training that taught me what to do and let me stay calm enough to do it to help save at least one of the kids who flew off the bike into the steps. The other thing that I remember that changed me was the advice I received from one of the LPOs on my first ship that wasn’t even in my division. MM1 Nolan, thank you. I have read enough reflections to know I will get to that later.

Did you encounter any situation during your military service when you believed there was a possibility you might not survive? If so, please describe what happened and what was the outcome.

Guarding the CO’s Jeep CPO initiation 1996 Norfolk

As a first class on a tender, we had flooding in our engine room. We evacuated the space and the division office, and I went back down to see what we could do. The educator was not taking a proper suction, so I went into the bilge to check the suction line out. I found and cleared some rags from the suction, but as I was coming up for air, I ran into some copper wire someone had strung between the pipes to keep them from knocking. Between the DIVO pulling on me and my trying to force my way up for air, I received several gashes that required stitches, but I surfaced.

Another time as a second class, I was in the main space when a 150 lb steam line started to leak. You could not see your hand in front of your face in a matter of seconds, and the steam was smothering. If the LPO of the space wasn’t right there and knew which isolation valve to turn without being able to see, several of us might not have made it.

Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which was your least favorite?

A port bow view of the frigate USS STEIN (FF-1065) underway.

My favorite was the first, the USS Stein. The places I got to see, the amount of knowledge given to me. I really was just a kid when I came aboard and not much of a sailor. I left as a second class and as a better man. I have been to several commands and have seen so much good and bad in life. I never had the least favorite. I have had bad experiences, but you make the best of it; you don’t give up. If you stay professional, stay focused, keep your honor clean, and don’t compromise it, you can outlast any situation or at least take pride even in failure.

From your entire military service, describe any memories you still reflect back on to this day.

As an LPO, I once found a satirical PQS for conducting counseling using dimensional lumber. I remember MM1 Nevel and MM1 Nolan, who were the LPOs of the M division and A-gang on the Stein. They told me to pull my head out and took me under their wing for a bit. They not only showed me what it meant to lead but lived it. They forced me to take the second class exam. I won’t say they coerced me to buy bonds to pay for my college, but I wouldn’t have a degree if not for them. They taught me that integrity was doing the right thing every time, even if no one saw it.

The main thing they taught me was to look at what I wanted for the future and how a well-thought-out plan to accomplish it would save me pain and frustration in the future.

What professional achievements are you most proud of from your military career?

I made local Sailor of the Quarter and Sailor of the Year at one command. I was surprised since I was a first-class but not eligible for Chief yet. Normally, it goes to a First Class. The command wants to help make Chief. That was also my first Navy Achievement Medal. The other Navy Achievement Medal I received that wasn’t an end-of-tour award was for a fly-away team to Toulon, France, to work on the Admiral’s flagship in the yards. The medals that mean the most to me were the ones I was never given. The Marines I worked with at the NMCRC put me up for a NAM, The Sea Cadets asked for a NAM, and for saving two Italian kids who were hurt in a motorcycle crash, I was put up for one or two. I never received any official recognition for any of them, but the recognition I received from my brothers and friends means more than any chunk of medal on a ribbon can. Thank You.

Of all the medals, awards, formal presentations and qualification badges you received, or other memorabilia, which one is the most meaningful to you and why?

I already mentioned which I am most proud of. I got my ESWS when it was voluntary years before it became mandatory. The NATO medal was pretty cool, and I had to figure out how to connect and re-fuel submarines from two different allied navies when our fittings didn’t match. That was fun.

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

Petty Officers Nolan and Nevel had the biggest impact on my life. They were leaders and mentors before the Navy Mentoring program was a thing. I believe they both made Chief at least once. They showed me how to be a sailor, but they also showed me how to avoid many pitfalls that snared sailors on the beach. I wish I had known them before I went to Rosie O’Grady’s, LOL.

I had a lot of really good Officers and Senior Enlisted who taught me and helped me. I won’t mention names, but I had one Officer that was terrible. He taught me as much as the rest, but more about what not to do than anything. I had him as a department head, then later, after I was so happy to survive his tour, I had him several years later as a CO. My bad luck is he remembered me. I won’t go into crimes and misdemeanors, but he did go to Admirals Mast, mostly over how he treated some junior officers. You can learn a lot from watching others’ errors as much as your own.

List the names of old friends you served with, at which locations, and recount what you remember most about them. Indicate those you are already in touch with and those you would like to make contact with.

CPO initiation How much trouble am I in 1996 prior to pinning

There are too many names to list here. I have looked up a few friends and keep in touch with them via e-mail or here on the TWS site mail system. I have one friend who served with me on my last command. She retired the same day as I did and lives an hour away from me. We still go out for 16 Sept memories and keep in touch pretty regularly. Chief Bash, you rock. I wish I could find ETCS Campbell from SWOS.

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?

USS Stein

I think the statute of limitations is up so that I can tell you a few things. lol On the midwatch for my first ship, the Cheng would send around his night orders. This is a list of instructions and expectations for the watch and the coming days. I started a satirical story titled the Stein Hostage Situation Report that got passed around the main spaces at the same time as the night orders. It was a look at what happened during the day with a little twist. I remember one entry where an unnamed sailor was polishing the brass and accidentally sounded the GQ alarm. Rather than call the bridge and fess up, he just ran to his GQ station with everyone else. After a half hour or so, it was figured out what happened and who the cultrate was. In my story, it was a daring escape attempt by the young Sailor and ended with him being sacrificed to the diesel gods. The story lasted for several weeks until Cheng got ahold of it, and I had to stand tall and explain myself. At least he let me keep the story, but I had to promise not to send it again with the night orders and not to share it with the crew anymore.

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?

USS Resolute (AFDM-10)

I work at a power plant as a chemist and technician, but I am looking to retire soon. Growing old is not for sissies, but is better than the alternative.

I have done so much in the service. In my profile, you can see the NEC Codes I earned, but some jobs have been out there. I did courier duty at one command, getting secret and top-secret messages and delivering them to the Commanding Officer and the Commanding Officer of the intelligence unit at the reserve center. On the tender, I ended up having to check the Squadron commanders STU III each morning. Definitely not something a conventional MM would end up doing.

What military associations are you a member of, if any? What specific benefits do you derive from your memberships?

I belong to a few, like the VFW. I was the president of the local chapter of the veteran’s association at work and a VP of the veteran’s association across several states for my company. We had around 3,000 vets. My health has not been good lately, so I had to give some of this up.

In what ways has serving in the military influenced the way you have approached your life and your career? What do you miss most about your time in the service?

Beauty contest prior to crossing the line

I miss the camaraderie and the humor. I miss so many of my friends that I have made. I miss the pride and professionalism to the level that the military creates. I don’t think I would be alive today except for the military and how it made me a better person. I have been able to touch many lives because of the trust and love I have been given. I know a few who have worked for me who would choke hearing that, but I am not that bad really. To those that taught me and those who have learned something from my example (Good or bad), thank you.

Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to those who have recently joined the Navy?

Make a plan and work your plan, but be ready to modify it or change it altogether if the situations around you change. Always remember Honor is doing the right thing when no one is watching, Courage is doing the right thing when everyone is watching, and Commitment is living with honor and Courage every day. The best practical advice is to make sure your uniform always looks sharp, shine your shoes, and be where you are supposed to be on time or 5 minutes early.

In what ways has togetherweserved.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.


I truly enjoy seeing the “those we served with” updates. You have made it so I can contact and catch up on a lot of shipmates. I like reminiscing. As I head into the twilight years, I appreciate the little rides back to the Proud Lion, Shiny Stein, The Lake, and the Land. I remember the sea aflame with glowing jellyfish or the flying fish dancing in the rainbow created by the bow as we slice our way into the exciting world of gator squares.

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Tags: Army Air Corps, NATO medal, Navy, Navy Achievement Medal, USS Stein


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