George E. Sutton
I came to VP-21 after recall in error on September 1, 1952. Lcdrs. were not supposed to be called, but my promotion hadn't made the fifty feet between the offices involved, so my orders read Lt.
I was born in WV, made it through two years at Marshall College (now Marshall State University) before deciding that we were going to war, so enlisted in the RCAF and served until January 1943, when I transferred to the U.S. Navy as an Ensign AV(T), and was sent back to Corpus Christi, to basic training. What a transition! From the Bristol Beaufighter to the Vultee ''Vibrator'', SNV, was a bit painful.
Then to Instrument training in SNJ's followed by Advanced Training in PBY's.
I had no idea that AV(T) was the code for the civilian pilots commissioned into the Naval Reserve, so was surprised when I was sent to VRF-I, first to ferry N2S, Stearman trainers. Another traumatic transition, from a semi-truck to a sports car! I narrowly avoided a crash, and then learned to fly that and most of the Navy single engine planes of the time. I did later get to fly the PV-I and the PBY and then, on loan to a VRS, the Lockheed Lodestar.
When they cut me loose in January 1946, I went back to WVU for a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, completed in January 1948. From there to work for a company that designed and built coal handling installations. The coal strike of that year put me out of a job, so I moved to the University of Florida as a research engineer.
I still wanted to fly, but couldn't afford civilian rates, so joined the Reserves at NAS Jacksonville, from a VPS squadron, later to a VP squadron. So, in 1952, one month after finishing my Master's degree, I reported to active duty. After a period of "retraining'' I was assigned to VP-21 only to find that the officers were predominantly regulars. Lcdr. David (?) Maxwell, Lt. Wallace Amling and I were the only Reserves other than the Ensigns, to my best memory. The general attitude seemed to be that we were unnecessary nuisances, and to be tolerated, if not welcomed.
I loved the P4M, as one of the best I ever flew, both from a pilot's view and an operating view. I had just made PP1P (meaning I could fly in command, but not in combat) when we found ourselves in a dog called the P2V-6. I flew co-pilot to Lcdr. Ed Hufstedler, LtJG Dale Walsh, Cdr. Dan Ettinger. They would not honor my Reserve PPC until they realized Ed Hufstedler was being transferred out, and they had one more plane than PPC's, so I was requalified and a crew was assigned. It ultimately shook down, with Wally Amling and Bob Wolen as the pilot/navigation crew and ''Willy'' Williams as Plane Captain. I cannot find the list of the crew and my Octogenarian memory refuses to recall all the names. When Wally got out, back to United Airlines, Bill Gerber moved in and rode out the rest of the time.
I recently said to a young friend, an airline pilot, previously P3 commander, that I was a good Naval Aviator, but not a good Naval Officer. He felt the same way. Just as the USN's had some suspicion of us, we did of them as well. As an engineer, I had little interest in history and/or tradition, but preferred logic in decision making. As a result, when I was about to be released, a scathing fitness report insured that I would never be able to expand the center stripe.
I was CO of a Reserve Patrol squadron when passed over the first time, along with three other CO's at Grosse Ile. What mystery! After that much time, it made sense to try to complete twenty, so I found whatever billets were available, until it was obvious that promotion was not possible. Then I switched to CEC only to find that I still had no chance for promotion. After two years active reserve in that category, I applied for non-pay retirement, which switched to pay status after age 60.
I stayed in Engineering Education serving at UF, Michigan State, Arizona, Arizona State Nevada, until going to the National Council of Engineering Examiners as Director of Professional Services (mostly the National Exams) for two years. Then, for eighteen years, I served as Dean of the School of Engineering at Youngstown State University, now retired.
My wife, Marilyn, has given me two fine Sons. The Reverend Dana Sutton is a Presbyterian Minister, with two sons, and Jeremy is a teacher and practitioner of a structural integration process called golfing, still unmarried.
I look back on my military career with both joy and sorrow. I'm not sure I liked either of the Military Services, but did like a lot of the people with whom I served, and enjoyed both flying and engineering in the service.
Born: 14 June 1930
Joined Navy: 18 Feb. 1951
Attended Elecronics "A" School Memphis Tenn 1951-1952
Joined VP21 June 1952
Assigned Crew HC2 May 1953 Stayed on Crew 2 until discharge Feb. 1955
Worked MacDonnel Aircraft 2 years as Flight Test Instrumention Tech. 1955-1957
Worked a chemical company 37 Years 1957-1994. Company produced iron oxide of various shades for use in construction and paint industries for color. Also magnetic iron oxide for video, audio and computer tape manufacturers.
Various Positions: Reasearch Investigator (Magnetic Iron Oxide), Quality Assurance Labortory (Magnetic Iron Oxide) Manger, Tech. Service (Magnetic Iron Oxide), Electron Microscope work Magnetics), Computer Programer Quality Assurance.
Now retired and enjoying life.
Fred is also the 2001 - 2003 Historian for the VP-21/ VPB-111 Veterans Association.
John E. Steyne 'Gene'
Originally from eastern Iowa. I lived in several cities in that area until entry into the military, my first association was USNR in 1957 and went as follows:
Feb 1957 - Jan 1958
NR Surface Division 953, Cedar Rapids, IA - with a trip to RTC Great Lakes IL in Dec 1957.
Jan 1958 - Sep 1958
Enlisted in the USN and went to RTC San Diego, then to NATTC Norman, OK (basic aviation training) and on to NATTC Memphis to AMH'A' school.
Oct 1958 - Sep 1959
NATTC Norman, OK, first real duty. Assigned to Operations Maintenance. (NATTC Norman closed in Nov 1959)
Sep 1959 - Dec 1960
ATU-501/VT-29 NAS Corpus Christi, TX. Corrosion control on P2V-3/4/6, P5M-1, and R4D-5/C-117D. Advanced to AMH2 just before departing.
Jan 1961 - Mar 1964
VP-30 NAS Jacksonville (Jan-Mar 1961) for P2V FRAMP.
On to VP-21 at NAS Brunswick and the P2V-7(SP-2H) assigned. Shortly after arrival I was assigned to CAC-3 as #2 Ord and crew metalsmith/ 3rd. wiper. CAC-3 had Buno 141242 for most of my tour with the following folks (as I recall) on the crew :
VP-21 Crew-3(LH-3) 1961-1964
PPC LTjg Thomas Betterton LT 'Charlie' Brown
CP LTjg Dalton LTjg M H Lewis
CP/Nav LTjg Robert C. Rohr LCdr J J Rollins
TACO LTjg William C. Ellis [NFO]
PC ADR2 Norman Stafford (Norm) ADR2 O.E. McErwin (Gene)
2nd Mech ADR2 Larry S. Jackson ADR3 Donald Fogle (Don)
Ord AO1 Lionel C. Banda (LC) AO3 Lynn Wall
2nd Ord AMH2 John E. Steyne (Gene)
1st Tech AT1 Clifford D. Morningstar (Cliff) AX2 Frank Fredella(Fred)
2nd Tech AT2 Lester Stotler (Les)
3nd Tech AT3 Andrew Przenkop (Andy)
Elec AE1 Warren C. Massey
LTjg's Betterton, Dalton, Rhor all made LT in late 1962/early 1963. When LT Betterton departed VP-21 in 1963 the PPC slot was passed to LT (soon to be LCdr) 'Charlie' Brown. On LT Dalton departing the squadron LT Rohr got sole custody of the 'right seat' leaving now LT Ellis in the back as TACO/ Nav, then LTjg Mike Lewis arrived.
AO1 Banda finally made AOC and was re-assigned to the 'AO' shop with crew duties on 'Crew-14', AO3 Wall assumed Banda's aft-station seat. AE1 Massey was promoted to AEC but remained on the crew. ADR2 Stafford PCS'ed and ADR2 McErwin became the head wiper. ADR2 Jackson was later moved to another crew and young ADR3 Fogle got the 2nd Mech spot. AT2 Stotler opted for civilian life and AX2 Fredella got his seat on the flight deck.
The first deployment for me was to Argentia (1961) with side trips to Keflavik. We also went north with a 'weather guesser' aboard to plot the ice flow into the North Atlantic. Then came the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), we were scattered all over!! CAC-3 spent time in Key West, the Azores, Keflavik, and all points between. Next came Sigonella (Jan-Jun 1963) where we did some down range coverage for the Project Mercury Space program, spent a few nights aboard the USS Tallahatchee County (AVB-2) in Suda Bay, Crete and Dechi, Sardenia and made a couple of 'wash rack' trips to Tunis. All this caused an accumulation of about 1700 flight hours for the tour.
Apr 1964 - Apr 1967
VT-4 NAS Pensacola, FL - Spent all my time in the airframes branch keeping the T-2A, T-2B, and T-2C's in the air.
May 1967 - Jun 1970
NAS Guantanamo Bay - Worked in Operations Maintenance on C-54, C-117, UH-34, and HU-16's. Did Maintenance Control, Quality Assurance and HU-16 SAR. Added a few hundred flight hours to my total and finally made AMH1.
Jul 1970 - Apr 1972
HT-8 Ellyson Field, Pensacola, FL - TH-1L and UH-1D airframes branch for the tour. Selected as Navy League Squadron enlisted man of the year for 1971.
May 1972 - Dec 1973
ADCOP Program participant, Associate Degree received from Pensacola Junior College.
Dec 1973 - Feb 1976
NAS Pensacola, FL - Operations Maintenance supporting T-39D, C-117, C-131, and T-28's in Quality Assurance. Finally made it to AMHC !!
Mar 1976 - Apr 1977
VS-41 S-3A FRAMP at NAS North Island, CA., then on to VS-28 at Cecil Field. Was Aircraft Division CPO and was deployed onboard the USS America (Jun-Nov 1976). Promoted to AMCS and later selected for CWO-2 April 1977.
Apr 1977 - Jul 1979
NASC Pensacola LDO/CWO indoctrination then PCS'ed to be O-I-C of the NAESU Det Sigonella, Italy.
Aug 1979 - Oct 1980
HS-15 NAS Jacksonville, FL - SH-3H aircraft, assigned as Maintenance/Material Control officer. Deployment onboard the USS Independence (Aug/Dec 1979) to the Med. Retired 30 October 1980.
After retirement from Uncle Sams finest, I worked for several gov't contractors on Supply projects, and as a technical coordinator for NAVAIR in the reopening of production for the SH-2F by Kaman Aerospace.
In 1983 I was called for a civil service position at NARDAC Pensacola (data processing) and eventually went into DOD after the 1993 BRAC reorganized that area. After being re-assigned to the Defense Mega-Center at Robins AFB, Ga I worked until July 2001 when I retired from civil service and relocated to Pensacola.
MY WIFE,JONI, AND I ARE ORIGINALLY FROM FREDERICK MD. WE WERE HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS AND HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 43 YEARS.
I ENTERED THE NAVY VIA THE UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY IN 1955. AFTER GRADUATION IN JUNE OF 1959, I WENT SOUTH TO PENSACOLA TO START FLIGHT TRAINING. I EVENTUALLY WAS DESIGNATED A NAVAL AVIATION OBSERVER (NAVIGATOR) IN JANUARY 1961.
AFTER SPENDING MANY MONTHS IN TRAINING AT VARIOUS ASW SCHOOLS AND THE RAG AT JACKSONVILLE, I REPORTED TO VP-21 IN OCTOBER 1961.
DURING MY TOUR WITH THE SQUADRON I WAS IN OPERATIONS AND THE ASSISTANT NAV OFFICER WITH GENE SULLIVAN. I WAS DESIGNATED A TACTICAL COORDINATOR IN 1963 AND WAS A MEMBER OF CHARLIE ROBERTSON'S CREW WHEN HE WAS XO AND CO OF THE SQUADRON.
JUST THE OTHER DAY I WAS READING AN ARTICLE IN MY ALUMNI MAGAZINE ABOUT THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS. THAT WAS 40 YEARS AGO AND I STILL REMEMBER OUR CREWS BEING SENT TO ARGENTIA NFLD TO FLY AN AWS BARRIER ABOUT 600 NM LONG TO TRY AND DETECT SOVIET SUBS POSSIBLY HEADING DOWN TOWARD CUBA. WE JUST ABOUT SPENT CHRISTMAS UP THERE BEFORE OUR DEPLOYMENT TO SIGONELLA.
I LEFT VP-21 IN SEPTEMBER 1964 AND TEMPORARLY WENT CIVILIAN UNTIL JULY 1965 WHEN I REQUESTED ACTIVE DUTY WHILE WITH THE READY RESERVES. I WAS ASSIGNED TO FAETULANT IN NORFOLK AND WAS AN INSTRUCTOR AT THE ASW SCHOOL. IN MARCH OF 1968 I WAS TRANSFERED TO VP-42 AT NAS WHIDEBY ISLAND WA AND MADE A DEPLOYMENT WITH THEM TO NAS SANGLEY PT. RPI AND CAM RAHAN BAY SOUTH VIETNAM.
I LEFT ACTIVE DUTY IN JUNE OF 1969; HOWEVER, I AFFILIATED WITH THE NAVAL AIR READY RESERVES AT NAS WHIDBEY ISLAND. I AM A PLANK OWNER IN VP-69, FLEW THE P2V-7 UNTIL WE TRANSITION INTO THE P3-A AND WAS FORTUNATE TO HAVE FLEETED UP TO SERVE AS XO/CO OF THE SQUADRON. I WAS SELECTED FOR 0-6 IN 1982 AND HELD SEVERAL COMMANDS AT NAS WHIDBEY BEFORE RETIRING IN 1989.
AT ONE TIME DURING MY CAREER WITH VP-69 I FLEW WITH BILL COMMINS WHO WAS IN VP-21 1961- ? BILL FLEW WITH NORTHWEST AIRLINES. I HAVE LOST CONTACT WITH HIM. ANOTHER SHIPMATE BEFORE MY TIME WAS BILL MARR. HE WAS IN THE SQUADRON IN THE MID '50S. HE WAS MY PPC WHEN OUR RESERVE GROUP WAS FLYING OUT OF NAS SAND POINT SEATTLE. OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS ARE JERRY AND JOHANNAH KELTNER WHO LIVE UP IN ANACORTES WA. JERRY JOINED THE SQUADRON WHEN WE WERE DEPLOYED TO SIGONELLA IN 1963. OUR PATHS CROSSED AGAIN IN 1972 WHEN JERRY WAS STATIONED AT NAS WHIDBEY IS. WE STILL TELL SEA STORIES ABOUT OUR TIMES WITH THE SQUADRON. REMEMBER THE "SNIFFER" QUALS? HOW ABOUT THE RANDOM JULIE PATTERNS AS A DETECTION TACTIC? (OF COURSE THE SUBS KNEW EXACTLLY WHERE WE WERE) ENOUGH!!
DURING MY NAVAL RESERVE CAREER I WAS HAVING A FANTASTIC CAREER WITH THE BOEING COMPANY IN SEATTLE. I WAS HIRED AS AN INSTRUCTOR AT THE COMMERCIAL FLIGHT CREW TRAINING SCHOOL IN 1969. I OBTAINED AN FAA FLIGHT ENGINEER AND FLIGHT NAVIGATOR LICENSE DURING MY TENURE AS AN INSTRUCTOR. IN 1978 I WAS HIRED BY THE PRODUCTION FLIGHT TEST GROUP AND SPENT 17 YEARS FLYING ON A MULTITUDE OF ASSIGNMENTS. MY PRIMARY JOB WAS ASSISTING CUSTOMERS DELIVER AIRPLANES TO EUROPE AND THE FAR EAST AS A FLIGHT NAVIGATOR. I WAS ALSO QUALIFIED TO FLY THE USAF E-3A AWACS AIRPLANE DURING ENGINEERING AND PRODUCTION TEST FLIGHTS. I WAS INVOLVED IN THE FLIGHT TESTING OF THE NATO, SAUDIA AIR FORCE, AND UK/ROF AWACS AIRCRAFT. I WAS THE CHEIF NAVIGATOR DURING THE FLIGHT TESTING OF THE NAVY E-6B TACCAMO AIRPLANES. DURING MY CAREER IN FLIGHT TEST, I FLEW ON EVERY AIRPLANE MANUFACTURED BY BOEING, INCLUDING THE B777. I RETIRED FROM BOEING IN 1995.
JONI AND I ARE FULLY RETIRED. WE HAVE THREE CHILDREN LIVING IN THE SEATTLE AREA. OUR SON PATRICK WAS A HOSPITAL CORPSMAN IN THE NAVY FOR 10 YEARS AND WAS ON A DD DURING THE GULF WAR. HE HAS ONE SON. OUR OLDEST DAUGHTER MEG WAS BORN IN PORTLAND WHILE WE WERE STATIONED AT BRUNSWICK. SHE HAS TWO LITTLE BOYS WHO WE SPEND ALOT OF HAPPY HOURS WITH. OUR YOUNGEST DAUGHTER BETSY IS SINGLE AND WORKING FOR AT&T.
WE MAKE AN ANNUAL TRIP TO THE BIG ISLAND IN HAWAII DURING THE MONSOONS HERE IN SEATTLE. HOPE TO RETIRE TO ARIZONA IN THE FUTURE.
Raphael Semmes Jr.
CDR. Raphael Semmes Jr. as C.O of VP-21, Pax River, 1950.
Raphael Semmes Jr. was born in Montgomery, Alabama 18 January, 1916. He was graduated from high school in Huntsville, AL and attended the Marion Military Institute one year before entering the United States Naval Academy. While at the Academy, he was active in boxing and wrestling. He was graduated from the Academy 2 June, 1938.
His first duty was aboard the cruiser USS Louisville. This tour of duty was relatively short for in 1939 he was ordered aboard the destroyer USS Somers where he served as an Ensign until August 1940. Ensign Semmes then received orders to Pensacola, Florida for flight training.
Upon completion of flight school as a Naval Aviator, Ensign Semmes was ordered to report to the aviation unit of the USS St. Louis. Ensign Semmes remained attached to the St. Louis until December 1942, and was at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941.
He was then assigned to the CVE Lunga Point as commander of Composite Squadron 98, and led his command in successful attacks on Japanese installations on Okinawa and the China coast. During WWII, Mr. Semmes was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and two Air Medals. He attained the O5 rank of Commander on 5 November 1945.
Commander Semmes was the eighth commanding officer of VP-21, from 21 October 1949 to May 1951. CDR. Semmes was deceased at Imperial, California, in January 1981.
1958, Norman, OK
1995, Marcia and Bill
Bill Spaulding, AT2. Bill grew up in Ottawa, KS, attended Baker U. in Baldwin, KS for 1 year, joined the Navy in Jan. 1958, went through boot camp in San Diego, Airman school in Norman, OK and Electronics school in Memphis, TN. In Jan. 1959, he was assigned to VP-21 stationed at NAS Brunswick, ME.
He qualified for Aircrew, and was assigned to LH-10 with LT. Al Petrich, PPC; LT. Bill Locke, Copilot; Angie Spera, PC; Mike Bonay, AT2; Larry McHenry, AE2. During his time in VP-21, he deployed to Argentia, Newfoundland and Sigonella, Sicily and flew over 2,000 hours as Radio operator in P2V-7 Neptunes. Bill's tour of duty was extended due to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961 and he participated in the surveillance missions between Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Panama City, Panama.
Following his discharge, Bill worked in the computer industry for 25 years: Field Engineer, Tech Writer, Training Developer, Manager of Tech Writing and Training, Support Division Marketing Manager. During this time, he worked for four different computer companies: IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Memorex, and Amdahl. And he lived in Maine, Connecticut, Long Island NY, Colorado, Upstate New York, France, and Northern California.
In 1986, he started a business “Spaulding Communications” in San Jose, CA, producing and publishing direct mail advertising. In 1993, he and his wife Marcia retired, sold their home and began traveling the west full-time in an RV. In 1994, they started “Western Press”, to develop and publish visitor guides for RV parks, campgrounds, etc. In 1999, they shut down this business and now live in Sun City, Georgetown, TX.
Bill, his wife Marcia and their Cocker Spaniel (Tripper) normally leave the heat, humidity and bugs of central Texas around June for more pleasant places. They usually return in October. Bill enjoys traveling in the RV, hiking, birding, fly fishing, reading, exploring the internet, woodworking, and swimming laps. Bill and Marcia have been married for 20 years. Bill has two sons (Neil and Eric) and one grand daughter (Cheyenne) and Marcia has one son (Jeff).
AVCM Gordon Saindon
I started my Navy time much as others do. I went immediately to “boot camp” (Great Lakes). Then to AN”P” school at Norman, OKLA. At the AN “P”, we went through a “screening and classification” which was conducted by a PN2 “Alphabet”. He informed me that I was not qualified to go to AT “A” school, which the recruiter had told me was going to be no sweat. Fortunately for me, PN2 Alphabet was over-ridden by the screening officer.
After graduating from AT “A” school, I was assigned to HS-6, which was located at NAAS Ream Field, Imperial Beach, CA. I was sent directly to the AT shop where I found I had about 19 bosses. It seems I was the ONLY non-rated man in the shop. Those Petty Officers actually took great care of me. They did not want anything to happen to their new field-day person. Particularly when we scored very high on the first weekly zone inspection. As with most good things, that had to come to an end. I was transferred to the line crew. I found myself working for ADC Slaven, who ran his crew with an iron fist. When he gave a task, that chore was to be done immediately, correctly and neatly. That is all he requested of his crew. (This chief could have given Chief Watts advanced training on being in charge.) He was my first real experience with working for a task master. And I took notes.
I made AT3 and left HS-6 to go to VR-21, Barbers Point, Hawaii where I fixed the electronic equipment on the R6D (C118) when I was not out flying as a radioman. I spent two years in VR-21 and made AT2 before being transferred to VR-7/8 at Moffett Field. They were flying R7V's. I had only six more months before I was due to get out (does anyone read short-timer?). So the squadron sent me TAD to the Navy mothball base, Litchfield Park near Phoenix, AZ. While there I decided to reenlist.
Little did I know, as soon as I reenlisted, I received a set of orders to report to NAS Brunswick, VP-21. Being a West Coast sailor, I thought I was headed for Brunswick, GA. Brrrrrr, was I wrong! I arrived in Brunswick, ME in the middle of February. And I learned the squadron was due to go on a split deployment, half to Sigonella, Sicily, half to Keflavik, Iceland. I was asked which site I would prefer---Immediately I choose Sig. I was informed that I was being put on CAC 11, as the radioman, and CAC 11 was headed for Kef. So much for choosing the warm climate. I flew with CAC 11 (AD2/1 Charley McGourty, AD3 Stevenson, AO1 Harry Worwetz, AMC Joe Clemente, AT2 Jim Besse, AT3 Larry Schwartz, and AE2 Keith McFarren) for about 38 months while stationed at Brunswick. During this period I made AT1, and we had the above mentioned split deployment, went to Argentia for the Cuban Missile crisis (and stayed an extra two plus months because one of our sister squadrons from Brunswick could not handle their mission, so our three did what their six aircraft could not do. We had another deployment to Kef, and one more deployment, finally to Sigonella.
CAC 11- Sigonella, Sicily Feb 1963
Back Row-second from left-Lcdr Satre, PPC and Maintenance Officer
Front Row-Unknown 2nd Mech, AO2 Max Unknown, AE1 Unknown, AT3 Larry Schwartz, AD1 Charles McGourty, AMC Joseph Clemente, AT3 Unknown, AT1 Gordon Saindon
AO1 Harry Worwetz had just recently been assigned as AO Shop Supervisor
AE2 Keith McFarren had just recently left the Navy
AT2 James Besse had just recently left the Navy
I am not certain why AD3 (maybe AD2) Jerry Stevenson had recently left the crew.
AMC Clemente was assigned to be AM shop chief just a short while after the photo
AT1 Gordon Saindon received orders for VR3 and left just a short while after the photo
I transferred from VP-21 to VR3, McGuire AFB, NJ. This tour lasted about 8 or 10 months before the Navy, in its finite wisdom, transferred me again. This time to RVAH-3, NAS Sanford, FL. When I checked in, I was informed I would be Duty Section Leader and it would be up to me to develop the watch bill for the section. They handed me a roster of my section and told me the watch list was already made up for the next two duty days. Imagine my surprise when I found a name I recognized on the roster. It was (still PN2) “Alphabet” from my days in AN'P' school. It was a good thing I had been trained to be a good sailor by Chief Slaven.
RVAH-3 was the RAG squadron for the sea-going RVAH's. I left that outfit after two lifetimes (it seemed) and went somewhere I had no desire to go back to---NATTC Memphis for AV “I” B school. But it was the only way I could get away from the “recco heavies”.
Upon completion of “B” school, I was notified I was going back to Sanford to join RVAH-7. Once the Navy tattoos a tailhook on your posterior it never comes off. We made a couple of West Pac cruises to visit the warm waters of the south China Sea. Then we made a “Med” cruise during which I was advanced to ATC. I was transferred while on that Med cruise to return to the West Coast.
I went to a NamTraDet (NAMTD) to instruct on computer aided Test Consoles for electronic equipment. I did this for several years, made ATCS and was presented with a set of TAD orders to join the Naval Education group, located in beautiful downtown Burbank area at the Lockheed Plant.
Lockheed was building the S3A. And since I had experience in ASW and electronic test consoles they thought I would be a perfect fit for this project. Upon roll-out of the S3A, my services were no long required in Burbank, so the Navy returned me to San Diego and placed me in the S3A NAMTD. However about this time someone realized the tailhook they had tattooed me with had not seen any deep salt water in a long time.
Again, in the Navy's finite wisdom, they transferred me to VS-38, which was flying S2F's. This lasted about 4-6 months. The Navy again issued transfer orders and sent me across the hall to the sister squadron VS-37, where they had originally planned to send me but made a “clerical” error.
After several West Pac cruises VS-37 was scheduled to get rid of their S2F's and be transitioned to the S3A. I made AVCM at this time. They wanted me to sign an extension of my sea duty which would last until two years after they received their S3A's. I respectfully declined their kind offer.
Since I had just made AVCM I was transferred to a VAW squadron in need of a maintence chief. They were still flying E1B's. As it turned out, this squadron was selected to be decommissioned. And I was again made available to be dispersed to the wild winds. I was sent to Whidbey Island to join VAQ-133, which flew EA6B's and was due for an imminent deployment to the Med.
This cruise was about as close to a luxury ocean voyage for a person like me who had been the maintenance chief for three straight deployments. I was assigned as the Command Master Chief. After the deployment on the Kennedy, I was transferred back to NAMTD San Diego at Miramar. There I became the CPOIC for West Coast VAST (Versatile Avionic Systems Test) systems for both the S3A and F14 weapon systems. With only two stations available for training, I did the unthinkable in the training environment. I established evening and midnight training sessions in order to properly train the quantity of personnel needed by the Pacific Fleet. These machines were being used around the clock Monday through Friday and we were barely capable of keeping up with the amount of operators and technicians needed.
I decided to transfer to the Fleet Reserve at the end of that tour and open an AVCM slot for some other individual. I then went to work for a defense contractor (Link Flight Simulation) in upstate New York. This was not a good choice for a kid who had grown up in the desert of New Mexico. However, I stayed there for about thirteen years at which time they offered me early retirement. I grabbed it and ran (drove) as fast as I could for the desert of Las Vegas, Nevada. And here I remain