58 YEARS AGO I headed for the "Lakes" and then on to Charleston, SC, Key West and eventually, in 66, I made it to the Green Doors. I remember getting my orders after special training. I called Pat and said "pack your Bikini Baby, we're going to Argentina". Obviously, the bikini was not required as we made it to Arg. Long time ago but like all of you, I remember all, the people, places, and things like it was yesterday.
I jokingly tell people that my Naval career was due to well laid out plan but the facts are I was one of the luckiest people in the world to wind up in a system with the best Sailors in the United States Navy.
I remember coming back from Vietnam in 1970 as a Construction Mechanic. I was sent to Long Beach Naval Hospital to await orders. When they came in, the PN said you're going to Argentina. Well, there was no such thing as Google so I went to the library to find out what it was going to be like. Needless to say, I was very surprised when I found out where I was really going. It was truly great tour and it started my desire to become an OT. I figured any place that was heated in the winter, air-conditioned in the summer, and worked 2-2-2-80 had to be the place I wanted to work. What a great group of people who really made a difference.
It was 52 years ago yesterday that I enlisted and had my physical at AFEES in Des Moines, Iowa. Boot camp in San Diego starting 2/9/71, BE&E school Great Lakes 5/22/71, Green Doors in Key West 8/16/71, NavFac Point Sur 10/18/71, and NavFac Adak 11/21/73. Along the way I met a lot of really great people (and a couple that were pain-in-the-necks at times). ; - )
**** I left AFEES Des Moines 24 May 1970 four days after high school graduation, went to GLakes then to BE&E and FSS KWest. Just had a quadruple Cadiac bypass 2 weeks ago doing pretty good for an old man lol.
Great comments on the early days. Little over 55 years ago I was in ET "A" school at the lakes when orders came in for me to go to NavFac Cape Hatteras. When asking the instructors what I would be doing there, nobody had a clue. All the answers I got is we know the Coast Guard is there. Called the base as to how to get there and was told to fly to Elizabeth City NC, take a bus to Nags Head and transfer to a small coach to Buxton NC. Waited in the Norfolk airport for my flight to Elizabeth City spent the night there to catch a bus which left Norfolk 30 minutes before. Thus started a 17-year career in a system serving with some of the finest individuals one could ever wish for. I look back on my time in the system and realize how lucky I was. FROG
53 years ago this month (SEP 69) I arrived at NAVFACKEF fresh out of FSS KWEST. I went through boot camp at RTC Great Lakes and Sonar School with my high school friend Dick Whetstone (now OTAC Ret.) The operations level at KEF was so intense in 1969 and I got the best mentoring possible from Al Maultsby, Bob Van Alstine and Malcolm Pope. From KEF I was sent to COSL Norfolk where I served with Chiefs Frank Harwood and Werner Miller. I am so proud to have served with such dedicated and skilled professionals and exemplary fine men.
Wow, people! We're starting to show our age. Last July marked my 58th anniversary of reporting to boot camp. Boot camp and Sonar "A" school in San Diego, then orders to Key West for "O" school, which no one had a clue about what that was. Finally cornered an old ST1 who told me I was was going to end up on a rock watching a cable. Best description I ever heard! LOL Great job and a great career. Still miss it!
All of us "kiddie Cruisers" are waiting for you to show yourself!!!!!!!!!
65 years ago, on January 6, 1957, I was assigned to Special Training and from there went to NavFac’s Grand Turk, Cape May, Nantucket, Keflavik, two tours at COSL and in between, seven years aboard Destroyers. After Boot Camp at Great Lakes I was given orders to Fleet Sonar School in Key West having no idea what Sonar was. I was assigned to Barracks 209 for transient personnel and while waiting for the next Sonar A-School to start I was given different daily assignments; i.e., Chapel “gofer”, Commissary “aisle cleaner”, and barracks “urinalogist”. After A-School the top students were given the option to go “behind the Green Door” for a Special Training course where I was told all the duty stations were on islands. I am convinced I made the correct decision by taking that option. At every duty station, I met lifelong friends and also renewed old friendships. Wish I could do it again.
68 and a half years ago on 22 March 1954 I began the greatest "Adventure" one could ever imagine. My "Adventure" continues. My Thanks to all of you for being a part of my life. Ed Smock
For Dick Rentner: I just wanted to tell you how much of a pleasure it was having you as The Analysis Division Officer in Keflavik. We had a great crew back there and you held us all together to get the job done well. We all got the benefit of your experience, calm demeanor and leadership. You came close to catching us playing Night Ops with all the lights out in the shop but never brought it up, even though you knew we were up to no good :) Sadly, Rick Hoffmann and Bob Wisdom are no longer with us and that really saddens my heart.
We send our best regards to you and Joan, who epitomized the term “better half”.
Randy and Chris
Dick (Warrant Rentner), I want to echo Randy's comments here. That tour at Kef (1976-79) was key a turning point in my Navy career and you were a big part of that transition. From your kind invitation to Thanksgiving dinner at your home less than 2 months after my arrival on island (actually, you picked me up at barracks #748), to your calm but direct, steady leadership as my DIVO in the Analysis Division, you emulated personal and professional qualities I strived to emulate over the next 30 plus years. Let's do dinner again. I think it's our turn. (<;
We had a lot of good times in Brawdy didn't we, John.
Hell, at least they flew you. They put me on a train from St Louis to GLAKES on 23 FEB 71. Which was my first train ride. My first plane would have to wait until I graduated from Boot Camp.