Class of 1968
Seeing no great prospects back inT'Rivers, I reenlisted and was assigned to Fighter Squadron 31 (VF-31), flying the F-4J Phantom out of the Oceana Air Station in Virginia Beach. VF-31 flew from the USS SARATOGA CV-60 out of Mayport, FL. Two deployments to the Mediterranean later, I was assigned to Fleet HQ in Norfolk, and when time to reenlist again, I was offered Instructor duty at the Yeoman school which has moved to Meridian, Miss. That was a very good tour of duty, and I was then assigned to the USS CONNOLE (FF-1056) in Newport, RI for sea duty in November 1980. I have a set of stories about duty on a Navy destroyer. Two trips to the Caribbean, includng going through the Panama Canal both ways, two trips to the Mediterranean (including the Golf of Sidra when the U.S. shot down 2 Libyan fighter jets, and also into the Black Sea, and one trip to the North Atlantic. In 1984, I was assigned to Great Lakes in the Engineering Systems Schools staff where they trained all the marine engineers. I made Chief Petty Officer while there and then was assigned to Construction Battalion 62 out of Gulfport, MS, and made a deployment to the island of Guam, Marianas Islands, and the next yeat to Sigonella, Sicily. Unfortunately the battalion was decomissioned in 1989 and to finish sea duty, I was assigned to VF-142, the Ghostriders, again at the Oceana Air Station. VF-142 flew the F-41A++ aircraft, predessor of the F-14D. During this tour, while deployed on the USS D.D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69), I was in the Red Sea for Operation Desert Shield. After we stopped Saddam Hussein, and as I was up for shore duty again, the Navy saw fit to send me back to Great Lakes, this time to Recruiting Duty with the Commander of the Midwest recruiters. I finished up my Navy career in 1993 after 24 years on active duty.
Today, I think back to those days of all-expense vacations to garden spots like Beruit, Lebanon, the Red Sea, and the Suez Canal. I wouldn't trade it for anything. MH
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