Entry Date: '56

Exit Date: '60


Status: D: 12/17/2004

Al Petrich - 2003 Reunion

“Al was born in New York City, NY, in 1934 to German immigrant parents. The family emigrated back to Germany in 1941 so that Al’s father could serve with the Wehrmacht. Al then became a member of the Hitler Youth group. When Al’s father was killed on the Russian Front in 1942, Al became the family breadwinner. His mother would bake bread, and Al would trade it on the streets for other foods. He also would collect cigarette butts and trade the tobacco for food.

Al returned to the USA in 1946, joined the U.S. Navy in 1954 under the NAVCAD program after some major security clearance challenges, and married Mona in 1956. After flight training in Pensacola, he joined VP-21 in 1956 and became the XO’s (CDR. Griffith) Navigator on crew 7. Al also enjoyed his assignments as the Ordnance Officer, and the fresh new Ensign also became the SLJ Officer.

In 1958, Al got his own crew. The kernel of this most junior VP-21 crew consisted of Al as PPC, Bill Locke as Co-pilot, Bruce Willey as Navigator, and Angie Spera as Crew Chief. Al departed VP-21 in 1960 as a LTJG.

After General Line school in Monterey, CA, and assignment to VT-28 at Corpus Christi, Al was switched to VS duty. Al had a career total of 9500 flight hours and 950 carrier landings.

Commands included VRC-40 and the Logistics Air Wing. The latter command was quartered at New Orleans where Al, now a Captain, was given the honorary rank of Commodore. Here he commanded all stateside VR squadrons, and two VC squadrons, plus the CNO detachment in Washington, DC.

Al’s other assignments included COMNAVAIRLANT, and COMLANT/ COMLANTFLT/ SACLANT Staffs, the USS Essex(CV-9), and the USS Nimitz (CVAN-68) as ship company tours. Al retired as Naval Safety Center Chief of Staff in 1984.

After retirement from the Navy, he worked for a few government contractors. Al now volunteers as a docent guide for the USS Wisconsin (BB-64) on the Norfolk Waterfront.

Al passed away on 17 December, 2004.”