On this date 54 years ago, I enlisted in the United States Navy.
I was 17 years old.
On February 9, 1970, I raised my hand and
swore an oath to the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia,
I boarded a train to Chicago and then took a
bus to the Naval Recruit Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois.
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, Washington.
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 attended Penn State and worked for the
Defense Department, but I was bored, and I decided to reenlist in the Navy in
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 discharged from the U.S. Navy in January of 1976 at the Philadelphia Navy Base, which was a dozen city blocks from my childhood home.
I remain proud of my service in the U.S. Navy.