Fifty-one years ago, on February 9, 1970, I enlisted in the Unites States Navy.
I was 17 years old.
I raised my hand and swore an oath to the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia, PA and then I boarded a train to Chicago and then on to the Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois. (Don't I look happy in the above photo?)
After graduating from Boot Camp three months later, I received orders to report to the
aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, which was undergoing a major overhaul in Bremerton,
A few months later, the carrier sailed from Bremerton to San Diego. The carrier and crew began sea trials and training for our combat cruise to Southeast Asia.
The Kitty Hawk later shoved off to take our place on "Yankee Station," in the Tonkin Gulf in the South China Sea off the coast of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
We also made port of calls in Hawaii, the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong.
I was separated from the Navy in December of 1971.
I attended Penn State and worked for the Defense Department, but I was bored and I decided to reenlist in the Navy in 1974.
I was assigned to the USS Saugus YTB 780, a Navy harbor tugboat stationed at the floating nuclear submarine base in Holy Loch, Scotland. On leave, I traveled all over the British Isles and Europe.
I was finally discharged in January of 1976 at the Philadelphia Navy Base, which was a dozen city blocks from my childhood home.
Looking back after all these
years, it was quite an adventure for a young man.
And I remain proud of my service in the U.S. Navy.