Russell High Class of 1959
home of the wildcats
Current address: 3922 Highway 229, Newborn, GA 30056
Last weekend (4/12/09), my #3 son, Charlie, (Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Iraq) brought my two-month-old grandson down from Hanson, MA. for me to hold and play with. That same day my oldest son, Edward, called from Wilmington, NC to tell me there would be yet another new grandchild in Nov. This is wonderful news = 6x8 = 48 = except that it upsets the "wa" of the family since there are, to date, four sons and one daughter and four grandsons and one granddaughter.
Onward back to the beginning; summer of 1959. Off to Coast Guard boot camp in July where this "Mr.tough-guy-gotta-have-adventure" found himself terribly homesick daily while suffering long runs in the hot sun and rowing 26-foot lifeboats for miles in the heavy swells of the open sea. After advanced seamanship training in Groton, CT, was released to the reserve forces in Dec. 1959. 9x5=45. There followed a couple of years of higher education but my head wasn't in the books (or I had no head at all then) and switched to active duty in the Navy. I was happily off to 22 years of fun, adventure, fear and pain, including terribly hard and often dangerous work of which herein is a synopsis.;
1962 - Deck Seaman on a 80-foot tug towing barges from San Juan, PR to the Virgin Islands. A lot of time standing in the bows laughing at the worst the sudden, raging storms could fling at us. Great duty entailing encounters with flying fish, 9-foot dolphins, 3D-foot basking sharks and once a single whale far out of season and waters. This cetacean tagged along beside our tug for an entire crossing sounding her mournful song and blowing spume from her great blowhole all the long, long way. I suspect she thought we were another whale.
1964 - Office sitting aboard Naval Station, Puerto Rico.
1965 - Seaman in USS Wasp, one of the last of the old wooden deck aircraft carriers. Often saw green water crashing over the flight deck in the North Atlantic where winter storms grow waves 50-feet or more high. 10x6 = 60.
1966-1968 - Navy Special operations, Vietnam. Aboard River Patrol Boats, attack helicopters and Vietnamese Navy battle junks with an unhealthy habit of pushing their prows into the jungle foliage were we'd disembark and slouch into the forests and swamps after enemy units. Once faced 350 enemy with only 9 companions .... .for as short a time as we could manage. Also crew once saved by a water buffalo but that's another story.
Highlights of other assignments:
Life has given me much adventure, but no riches outside the joy of many strong and healthy children and grandchildren