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Re: Learning Moments with VanAlstine

I'm gonna take a chance here and bet the Faith family won't object to me telling this story.

R. J. (Ron) Faith was a good friend of mine, a very likable guy who, in my opinion, did not achieve all that he could have in his Naval career. He would get it going and then he would "slip up".
On one of his milestone days in his career, he told me this story and it fits this thread.

Back in the early/Mid 60s, then STGSN Faith and STG2 VanAlstine were stationed at one of the CONUS west coast facilities. I think it was Pt Sur but not sure. Anyway, Ron was in Van's section and Ron was convinced that Van was "out to get him. According to Ron, he couldn't do anything to Van's satisfaction.

On his eighty, Ron decided to go bar hopping and as the night progressed, Ron got to the point that he shouldn't have been driving. Sure enough, he got pulled over and charged with a DUI. Back in those days, they evidently moved fast because Ron said his choices were a $250 fine or 30 days in jail. Not having the money or the leave to cover the jail time, he used his phone call to call Van. Can't really remember Ron's description of the phone conversation but I do recall it had a lot of colorful language and ended with "rot in jail.

Released for 24 hours to get things in order for a 30 day jail sentence (basically UA), Ron said it was about 2 AM, about 4 hr before he was to report to the police. He was lying in bed wondering what he was gonna do after the Navy kicked him out when the door to his room opened and a grumbling VanAlstine came over to his bed, grabbed a fist full of Ron's T shirt (and quite a few chest hairs as Ron recalls) and almost crammed $250 into Ron's mouth with his favorite line.
Little man, get out of that bed and go pay your fine and then report immediately back to me. Your eighties belong to me until this loan is paid off"

On this particular day, when Ron was advanced to CPO, he told me this story and credited Van's teachings during his "eighties in captivity" as one of the more , meaningful events leading to a successful career in the Navy.


Re: Learning Moments with VanAlstine

I have so many examples of lessons VAN taught me. If my 23 year naval career was a leadership success Bob VanAlstine is the reason. He taught me more about REAL leadership and work ethic than any training session, correspondence course, exam or film. When and if I grow up I want to be Bob VanAlstine. I only served with him once and I was a lowly duty airdale but he made one hell of an impression. Unfortunately the best stories of the lessons he taught on the spot require a TS clearance. I still to this day use the lesson learned from him in how I live my life and conduct myself. Bob will always have my respect, loyalty, and friendship because he earned it. BZ AWC sends.

Re: Learning Moments with VanAlstine

I never got to serve with Master Chief Van...but I was fortunate enough to have worked with all of the distinguished testifiers....(with the exception of the F'in AW...no offense Chief...OT/AW thing)...and I learned a ton from each of them.

Randy Scott was the first class I wanted to be. 'nuff said.

John Ellis taught me the art of diplomacy. Slow down, son. Let's walk down the hill and....

Jim Donovan owes all of his success to me...his first LPO.

In 1972, Cal Prescott enrolled me in a basic accountability acceptance training program.

In 1977, Master Chief Widenor emphatically encouraged me to expand my horizons and I found myself in a PHd program....that I was not prepared for. My first section completely carried me...and I was a load.

Strange thing this system they created....put a LT in charge of a system... man it with some fleet guys....teach them nothing because you know nothing...win the lotto and Ed enlists...with some other good guys....and voila.

Quite a cast of characters we've all learned from...and what a journey. I would never say this in open forum but the regular Navy seems a tad boring compared to what we've been lucky enough to do.


Re: Learning Moments with VanAlstine

No offence taken. Every tour of duty was an adventure and with most the lessons learned only manifested long after the event. Brawdy was a unique tour and my time in the system was very rewarding. To put it in a thumbnail sketch when all assembled to get hammered at the "FRIARS" I was the only male NOT wearing GLASSES.

Re: Learning Moments with VanAlstine

Many of us had the pleasure of working with or for Bob VanAlstine. Back when he was an STG1 he was my LPO at Arg. I was a recent arrival from COSP and was affectionately termed a West Coast puke by Tex Moran, the section TPO. Van had assigned me to learn the array peculiarities and become familiar with some of the local frequently held look-a-likes that had been reported before. Tex had a sly grin on his face when he handed me a stack of gram cuts and told me to put the reportables in one pile and the non-reps in a second stack. After about a half an hour I gave Tex the two stacks and awaited his review. Van came over and asked Tex how I did. Tex rather sheepishly said not bad for a West Coast puke. I will never forget Van tearing into Tex for the slur. He won my loyalty and respect forever on that eve watch. Tex and I became good friends afterward and that was one of the best sections I ever worked in.

Talked with Van's son James yesterday. Van is doing well health wise. He said "Getting old sucks!" Also spoke with Gary Hart from those 1970-71 days at Arg. He said Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.