Fifty years ago today . . .
This post probably does not have a place on this forum. However, I want to say some things that are very important to me.
Fifty years ago today, I walked from the administration building at NAS, Alameda, saluted the flag for the final time in the uniform of our country and began my adult civilian life. I had entered the Navy seven years earlier as a teen. Now I was an adult, seasoned by two tours of duty in a war, recently married and anxious to claim my share of the American dream.
My Navy years taught me responsibility, discipline and perseverance. It was during those years that the values I cherish today were first formed. Having them as the core of my belief system has made the nuances of life mere challenges and not unconquerable problems.
Today, in my middle seventies, I am grateful for having the shipmates with whom I served. Many became life-long friends. I am also indebted to petty officers, chiefs and commissioned officers who inspired me to meet the highest standards of performance and conduct. Most of all, today, fifty years after my discharge from the Navy, I am most honored to have had the privilege of faithfully serving the country that I love.
Note: I took the following from another posting and added to this one since it was a continuation of my feelings about the Navy:
The Navy transformed me from a teen with no goals to an adult with a vigorous work ethic. Of equal importance, when I left the Navy I did so with a defined philosophical code of conduct.
I developed a vigorous work ethic thanks to certain officers, chiefs and petty officers. They taught me to observe, learn, adopt and apply responsibility, discipline, patience and perseverance. They were great examples to emulate.
Those men shared a special presence that I recognized as leadership. They taught and commanded with consideration as well as purpose; they were professional, fair and, at all times, conducted themselves with honor and dignity.
Without question, these men inspired me achieve more then I though myself capable. They motivated me to surmount challenges and to succeed using my intellect and not just my brawn. In the process, I developed an obstinate perseverance. I am indebted to them for guiding me during my years in the Navy.
Of the brave young men with whom I served, twenty-four lost their lives during the Korean War and twelve more afterwards during the Cold War. In my mind’s eye, time has not diminished their honor or courage. I was profoundly saddened when each died. I feel the same sense of sorrow today when I think of their sacrifices. I am sincerely grateful that I had the opportunity to know them as individuals and am proud that I got to serve along side of each of them.
My love of the Navy began during World War II. I was enthralled by the valour and exploits of our men at sea. I knew that I would join up as soon as I was of eligible age. When that time came, I enlisted.
I took boot in San Diego. Those were wake-up days for me as they were for many of my fellow volunteers. Within four short months, I left behind me the care-free days as a young teen and transitioned into a disciplined Seaman Apprentice.
Upon the completion of boot camp they billeted me at the Destroyer Base in San Diego where I awaited assignment on a ship. At a muster, it was announced that applications were being taken to fill the quota for Aviation Ordnanceman. Naval Aviation was an exciting prospect to me so I applied, took written and oral tests and was accepted. I then underwent training at Whidbey Island, WA at the Combat Aircrewman School there.
On June 1, 1951 I received Combat Aircrewman wings and was assigned duty with patrol squadron VP871. A week after joining the squadron at NAS Alameda, I was a crewman aboard a venerable multi-engine PB4Y2 Privateer.
Shortly thereafter the squadron deployed to the Far East. We operated out of one base in Kimpo, Korea. one at NAS Atsugi, Japan and a third at the RAAF base in Iwakuni, Japan.
The mission of VP871 in Korea was first to provide support for our ground forces and second, to provide long-range reconnaissance. The Marines gave us our nickname, The Lamplighters.
Flying over the Korean terrain at night, we dropped flares to illuminate targets. During our first weeks in the Korean War zone, we illuminated the advancing Chicoms who had crossed the Yalu in a maneuver to entrap our retreating ground forces. Once we had dropped our flares, Marine F6F Tigercats and F4U Corsairs swooped down and attacked the enemy on the ground.
After VP871 returned to the United States, its Privateer’s were replaced by a new sleek and fast multi piston engine ASW patrol plane, the P2V2 Neptune. With new aircraft, the squadron designation number was changed from VP871 to VP19. With these changes our mission became ASW (submarine hunters and killers).
At that time I was taken off of flight status and sent to the Navy’s Air Intelligence School for training. There I earned an AIS ratting. Upon my return to VP19 the squadron again deployed to the Far East for a second tour in the war zone.
In October 1954, I left the squadron for good and reported to the Air Intelligence School where I had previously taken my AIS training. I remained there as an instructor until my discharge from the Navy in October 1954. All in all, I had spent almost seven years in the Navy.
Today, I am what many young people consider an old archaic remnant of the past. They do not understand why I esteem our men and women who serve in the armed forces. It is really quite simple. I believe that there is no higher calling then to serve our nations as a member of its armed forces. When one is a member of the military, all personal considerations are placed in a secondary position to one’s loyalty and duty to the country. This great willingness to give completely of one’s self is a full measure of devotion . . . and I for one honor and respect this unselfish commitment.
I pray that God bless and protect these American heroes. I also pray that these men and women do honor for themselves and for our country.
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”.
Last edited by shepsan; 11-07-2004 at 06:17..