This is a scrapbook from my Navy years (1960 - 63).
Outline of my Navy experience:
11 Aug 1960 Willow Grove - My 17th birthday and I couldn't wait any
longer. My Dad and I drove to the Willow Grove Naval Air Station for
me to sign up for the reserve program and began a year of weekend drills once a month.
11 Aug 1960 Willow Grove - My 17th birthday and I couldn't wait any longer. My Dad and I drove to the Willow Grove Naval Air Station for me to sign up for the reserve program and began a year of weekend drills once a month.
1 Oct 60 to 31 Dec 60 14 days training - Some time during the 4th quarter of 1960, I spent 2 weeks at NAS Willow Grove for "basic" training.
19 Feb 61 AA - According to the records, I was promoted from Airman Recruit to Airman Apprentice.
24 Aug 61 – Philadelphia - After a 160 mile drive from New Milford to Philadelphia, my folks and Kathy dropped me off at the gate.
14 Sep 61 – QP RI - After three weeks of "processing" at the Philadelphia Navy Base, I found myself on a bus to Quonset Point, RI.
27 Sep 61 – VS-42 - Another two weeks of "processing" and I finally found a home in Air-Anti-Submarine-Squadron - 42. Better known as VS-42.
16 Oct 61 AN - Again the records show I was promoted to Airman, three green stripes.
16 May 62 AK3 - After 8 months working in the squadron supply department, I finally passed the test for Aviation Storekeeper Third Class.
3 Aug 62 to 19 Aug 62 Leave - VS-42 was ordered to "stand down" so after two weeks at home, I reported to Seaplane Hanger #1 at Quonset for assignment to Airborne Early Warning Squadron 12.
19 Aug 62 VAW-12 – QP / Norfolk - A few days later they put us all aboard a C130 and flew the whole squadron to Norfolk, Virginia.
10 Oct 62 CVA-62 / 46 days Cuban Blockade - I finally got the chance to go to sea aboard the USS Independence. They told us we were going to the Brooklyn Navy Yards and in fact I made plans to go home the following weekend. I got a little surprise two mornings later when I woke up and it was already 90 degrees out. It didn't take me long to figure out that this wasn't Brooklyn in October.
06 Nov 62 4.0 hrs WF2 147230 - I got my first chance to fly during the Blockade. I was in the radar operator's station for the launch and the landing but for the rest of the 4 hour flight I was in the co-pilots seat as Lt. Brice Moore attempted to teach me how to fly a Grumman WF2 (later called E1-B).
25 Nov 62 VAW-12 - The crisis was over and we returned to Norfolk. My biggest surprise was trying to walk once I set foot on the pier. Sort of the reverse of "sea-legs". All of us new guys were wobbling all over the pier like we'd been drinking.
20 Jan 63 CVS-9 / 35 days Cuba - The next detachment was aboard the USS Essex and we spent a month in Guantanamo bay. A few trips ashore broke up the trip a bit and we got to do a lot of swimming while we were there. I managed to get a pretty bad sunburn as my skin thought it was still the middle of winter.
24 Feb 63 VAW-12 - Back to Norfolk for a couple of weeks.
12 Mar 63 CVS-9 / 13 days (21 Mar, Grandpa died) - Aboard the Essex again. This time in the North Atlantic. A few days before we were due back, I got a telegram that my grandfather had died. It was expected and I had gone to see him on my last leave. Still, I felt really bad and wanted to somehow get home for his funeral. I didn't make it but I came pretty close. The Chaplain said I was free to go on emergency leave if I could find a way off the ship. We were still 100 miles off Cape Hattaras. My office was in the same compartment as the ship's mail plane pilot and I knew I could get a ride with him. So he flew me to Quonset Point where I thought I could hitch-hike home from there. After he dropped me off at the tower, I got a ride much sooner than I expected. A Lockheed Constellation radar training ship was just starting up on the ramp. On a hunch, I ran up to the tower to ask where the Connie was going. When they said "LaGuardia", I asked if they could get me a ride. The tower stopped the plane on the taxiway and I climbed aboard via a rope ladder that the crew dropped for me. They didn't have an extra seat but allowed me to sit on the floor using a cargo strap for a seat belt. A couple hours later we landed at LaGuardia and my next surprise was that I was on the wrong side of the airport. The Navy only used the "military" side of the airport and it was a long way around. I knew I was running out of time so I took a chance and simply walked across the busy New York runway. Fortunately I didn't get caught or arrested and managed to get a commercial flight home with Mohawk Airlines. I missed the funeral, but after hitch-hiking home from the North Atlantic, I knew Gramp would appreciate the effort.
25 Mar 63 VAW-12 - Back to Norfolk.
13 Apr 63 CVS-9 / 14 days - A sea trials cruise with a new twist. They were flying Douglas A4 Skyhawks aboard the Essex. The first time since the Korean war that jets had landed on CVS-9. We only had one small accident when a plane blew a tire and flipped over on it's side. The plane was damaged pretty heavily but fortunately no one got hurt.
27 Apr 63 3.5 hrs E-1B 147239 - Last day at sea, I got the privilege to fly home with the aircrew.
27 Apr 63 VAW-12 - Back to work ashore.
13 May 63 CVS-9 / 24 days Halifax. A nice spring cruise and a two week stay over in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I had a great time and got to see some of the sights as well.
06 Jun 63 VAW-12 - Back to Norfolk.
22 Jun 63 3.5 hrs E-1B 148910 - An unusual flight. I flew from Norfolk to Quonset Point to meet the Essex for my last cruise. I actually flew in the co-pilots seat for the entire flight and Lt. Moore got in quite a bit of trouble when the skipper found out I was the one flying the plane. He figured it out because my formation flying was VERY sloppy.
23 Jun 63 CVS-9 / 20 days - Another sea trials cruise. Twenty days of watching new pilots try to hit the deck from my favorite view point, "Vultures Row". (the 7th deck of the ships island).
03 Jul 63 VAW-12 - Back to Norfolk and I got the news that my friend and fellow storekeeper was critically injured in a plane crash that killed two other crewmembers. Rosenosky was in bad shape and I was asked to fly to the Mediterranean to relieve him aboard the USS Enterprise. I thought about it but only had a couple of weeks left before going home for good. I just couldn't see extending my active duty to finish the cruise.
22 Aug 63 Released - Sea bag on my shoulder, I almost ran to the bus station.
10 Aug 66 Discharge - I never got called back for reserve drills and shortly after my birthday, I received a package from the Navy. My final, honorable discharge and my personnel records.
|This is me in the spring of 1962 just after getting my AK3 crow.|
|The formal VS-42 squadron picture taken late spring or early summer 1962. I'm in the last row in front of the "Stoof's" spotlight.|
|This is an 80 page booklet that was published in 1962. I'll be scanning some of the contents and uploading later. There's a picture of the base hobby shop which I managed to get into.|