Memories of a Time When I was a young man.

This past Saturday, the ship that was my first duty station began it’s final journey. The Good Ship Independence was towed from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard enroute to the breaker’s yard in Brownsville, Texas.

I reported aboard her in January of 1974 as a fresh faced 19 year old kid from the Montana Prairies. So began my adventure in the United States Navy.

I participated in the ammunition offload along with several other guys that I went through boot camp with. Then I was assigned to V-1 Division in the Air Department.

After a short period in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, we began working up for the upcoming deployment to the Mediterranean Sea.

I freely admit that I was absolutely terrified the first time I was on the flight deck for operations.

In the latter part of July 1974 we embarked the Air Wing and departed.

We covered the evacuation of US diplomatic personnel and their families from Nicosia, Cyprus. All available aircraft were armed. We then coordinated the Search and Recovery of TWA flight 847 which had crashed near the Greek coast. It was an eye opening experience to say the least and certain images remain in my mind to this day.

Finally, we were able to get some Liberty in Naples, Italy. Cold beer and playing tourist. Other ports of call included Cannes, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona and a few more visits to Naples.

In early January we were relieved by USS America and headed for home. The North Atlantic in January is a rough place, I should add.

20 January saw us go pier side at Naval Station Norfolk. It was a bitter cold day and along with families, friends and a band was a troop of baton twirlers who in those costumes must have been freezing.

It has been a bit over 40 years since I departed The Good Ship Independence as a Petty Officer Second Class now. I know that things change over time and a lot of places that I was stationed have gone into the “dustbin” of history.

The media outlets in the Pacific Northwest gave coverage of Indy’s departure from Bremerton this past weekend.

The following photo is from a Facebook group I belong to………

To those who have been there, you understand.


Eyes Of A Stranger

It may seem strange but lately when I look in the mirror………………it’s not me. I have a few ideas about it. One is the aging process….but I have dropped 16 pounds since January.

I am a small person to begin with……………….It may be the really shitty working hours and the screwed up sleep cycle or lack of any sleep cycle that I have that may be having an impact. The neurologist at the VA said the graveyard shift is hard on people, especially the older we get.

Besides, I like Queensryche……………………..

Life Event

Life event/Milestone.

It’s official.
I am a Tool Room Attendant.
No more flight line or jets for me.
The foot issues enabled me to obtain a reasonable accomodation to get off the line.
For the record:
ACC on 83-1120, 80-3666, 80-0584 and 88-0445. DCC for a time on 88-0456.
It was a good run. Father Time finally let me know that it was time to do something else not as strenuous, as well did my doctor..
The main bragging point: Oldest Crew Chief on the Line at Red Flag 12-2 at the age of 57!

Desert Sunrise 21 August 2015

I left the house earlier than usual as the sun does rise later in the latter half of August. I was lucky enough to catch the sun as it broke above the mountains to the East. I got a few of the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains to the East with the Grey Light Of Dawn hitting them and the hill on California City Boulevard as well.

It is interesting how the mountains to the East, West and South have a bluish tint in the early morning. The Air Force Rocket Lab is a bit ethereal at this time of day…………….

This Desert, where I live and work is an amazingly beautiful place.

In the mix is a BNSF Train going East to Barstow with three GE’s on the head end and two GE’s on the rear as pushers………………..22,000 Horsepower!

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Firing Up The Wayback Machine……………….aka, Where I Come From……………….

A couple of links to The Missoulian concerning Havre, Montana, the hometown of this Old Retired Petty Officer……………………”H” is for Havre as the paper says……..

The old Post Office is where I registered for the draft in 1972 after graduation and turning 18. We did it in person those days. The Selective Service Office was on the Third Floor.

Marc Whitacre stands outside the historic post office and federal courthouse in Havre that he and his wife Erica Farmer have restored as an event center, professional office space and living quarters for their family. The building had extensive damage from water leaking in from the roof and years of neglect when Whitacre, an ophthalmologist, and Farmer, an optometrist, bought it in 2011, and they have done much of the restoration themselves

The second link is about the “……..remote Hi-Line town of Havre.”

The railroad and U.S. Highway 2 run straight through the heart of Havre, which is an important hub of transportation, commerce, farming and ranching, education and health care in north-central Montana.

All due credit to Cory Walsh and The Missoulian


Update on the physical conditions of yours truly. The flight line is beating the hell out of me and it’s time to find something else.

I went to my Doc yesterday.

The feet are making things damn difficult.

He wrote a note for my bosses to find me another job at Edwards due to my physical issues of Neuropathy, Capsulitis and Plantar Faciitis in the feet. They hurt pretty much all the time and by the time I am half way through the shift on the line, I am pretty much tapped out.

I also took the DMV form to the DMV in Ridgecrest and got the Disabled Person Plates and a Placard for use when a passenger in other vehicles.

I may be headed for a disability retirement from Civil Service at 62.

The Civil Service does have to try and give me a reasonable accomodation and move to another position that is less demanding.

Doc and I also discussed the surgery option as my Podiatrist had mentioned as a possiblility. Due to only having one kidney, I cannot take anti-inflammatories. I have to find out how long I would be down from said surgery.

Wait and see, I guess.


Yeah. Another one of them anniversaries………….that are getting far too regular……………..

Oh Shit, I’m getting old moment………….
40 years ago today, I finished my first deployment to the Med on Independence with the ship’s arrival at Pier 7, Naval Station Norfolk on a very cold, rainy and windy day.

I was all of 20 years old.

First Cruise


It seems as though anniversaries like this are hitting at a far too frequent pace…………………….

Christmas Weekend on California’s Central Coast

The VQ at Vandenberg was our headquarters.

The Monarch Butterfly Grove is an obligatory stop during the time the Butterflies are here.

The Ocean was making just enough noise as well…………………………………….I think of my departed friends, Lex, Buck and Lionel when I see the sunset from Oceano Beach south of Pismo.

Lex, Buck and Lionel……………………..Yeah……………..that’s them………………..Dusty in here
Butterflies………………………Lots of Butterflies
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We love Pismo Beach!

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The next four are some Oceano Beach Rule Five……………

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5 years ago today part 3

Arrived at Via Christi Saint Francis Medical Center at 0530.
Got admitted. Went up to the surgical floor.
Out of the clothes and into the gown.
Belly was shaved.
Warm up shot.
Kissed Sharon.
Rolled to Pre Op.
IV in each arm.
Second warm up shot.
The last thing I remember was going through the double doors into the OR.
Woke up in the rolling bed going down a passageway surrounded by people.
Got to the room.
Doc and a small squad of nurses doing checks.
One nurse said that I needed to get up and walk!
The answer is not repeatable in mixed company. I assure you of that.
The surgery started at 0800. It was all done by 0945.
Left Kidney had been removed. The Fancy word is nephrectomy.
When I was released 4 days later, Doc Farha told me the pathology said that it was cancer.
Smack! Upside the head.