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.
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
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, so 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.
After my discharge from the Navy, I went back to the Defense Department at the Philadelphia “Quartermaster” where I went on to become the civilian administrative officer for the Defense Contract Management Agency.
We oversaw defense contractors across three states for the Navy, Army, Marine Corp, Air Force and NASA. As the administrative officer, I oversaw security, safety, public affairs and other support services for the command’s military and civilian employees.
I also became a contributing writer to Defense Department in-house magazines, which led to my career as a writer after I retired from the Defense Department in 2007 after more than 37 years of combined U.S. Navy/U.S. Defense Department service.
After all these years, I remain proud of my service in the U.S. Navy and proud of my service in the Defense Department.
And it all began on this date in 1970.
Note: You can read my sea stories, vignettes, humor pieces and short stories via the below link: