We spent a few days tied
up to a Destroyer Tender while in Boston and had an opportunity
to enjoy some liberty in Massachusetts. The second week, we returned
to the Philadelphia Naval Base. At the end of the two weeks I
returned to DuBois and resumed my civilian life, until called
up for active duty.
My active duty call-up was for 2 November 1961, one year from
my enlistment date. I received orders shipping me to the Philadelphia
Naval Base, Receiving Station. I was to travel by my own means
to Altoona, Pa. where I was to board a train for the trip to
Philly. I arrived in Philly some hours later, and reported to
the Receiving Station late in the evening. There were no clerical
personnel to process me in, so I was assigned a bunk, given linen,
and ordered to report again at 0800 the next morning.
On reporting to the personnel office on the 3 November, I encountered
what seemed to be great confusion as to my future in the Navy.
It seemed my orders were incomplete and therefore, I was to be
returned to my Naval Reserve Unit until the orders were straightened
out. What? Some few hours later I was again on a train heading
west towards Altoona, Pennsylvania.
The next day I went back to my former employer and tried to get
my job back for the short future as I would need some means of
income to see me through. I again received orders to return to
Philly, this time my departure was for 7 December 1961. I traveled
by train once again and arrived in Philly late Sunday evening.
The next morning I began the processing needed to get me to my
first duty station.
Part of the processing included a battery of tests to determine
my skills and knowledge and fitness for various types of assignments.
Also, there was opportunity for me to express my opinions and
desires as to my duty stations and assignments. It was my desire
to become a Photographers Mate. This presented somewhat of a
problem as I was currently holding a Seamans Rating. Photographers
were an Aviation Rating. I would have to get duty somewhere that
would allow me to change to an Aviation or Airmans Rate
while still serving as a Seaman. It would be a great hassle for
me and I would be the only one working for me. However I had
known about all of this before reporting for active duty. When
filling out my request for duty stations, I simply requested
: Aircraft Carrier, East Coast; Aircraft Carrier, West Coast;
and finally for my third choice, Aircraft Carrier, Anywhere.
When the Personnel Officer interviewed me, he was quite taken
by my choices. He realized that I knew where I would have my
best chance to become a Photo Mate, and endorsed my first choice,
Aircraft Carrier, East Coast.
I now began the wait for orders from Bupers (Bureau Of Naval
Personnel). I would spend the rest of December playing cards
and doing odd jobs around the Receiving Station. My orders finally
arrived on the 30th, and I departed for Norfolk, Virginia the
My first duty station was aboard the USS Independence CVA 62.
(an Aircraft Carrier based on the East Coast). After some haggling
and bribery when I reported aboard, I was finally assigned to
the Photo Lab. Some months later, after I had passed the test
for Photographers Mate Third Class, I changed rank from Seaman
to Airman, then was promoted to Third Class Photographers Mate.
During my tour on the Independence, I was able to make a Med
Tour for six months and then shortly after return to CONUS, the
ship and I were to take part in the Naval Blockade of Cuba. This
occurred in October-December of 1962. I was aboard ship off the coast
of Cuba when, on October 22, 1962 (my nineteenth birthday), President
John F. Kennedy made his speech that all ships headed to Cuba
would be stopped and searched. What a birthday present!
My next duty assignment was a volunteer group going to the Antarctic.
This unit was called AirDevRon Six (VX-6) While with this unit
I traveled to New Zealand and the Antarctic continent. It was
with this unit and while stationed in New Zealand, that I met
my lovely wife, Pam. Also while on duty in New Zealand/Antarctica,
President Kennedy was assassinated. I attended a Memorial Service
in Christ Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand.
My final Navy duty station was the Naval Air Station, Norfolk,
Va. My duty there was as a PH2 (Photo Mate 2nd Class). I was
discharged from the Navy on Dec 5, 1965.