Military Service/ Pride! It sticks in You!

Unlike many I know, one thing no one can accuse me of is kissing ass. Not as a child, not in Elementary School, High School, work, or in the service. I refused and still do to this day, for I may not know everything, but I do know if it is vital, important or I need to know how to handle it, do it, or need it I will learn it as fast as possible. And then I will implement it and make it work, I did it all my life and will continue to do it till I die.Playing kiss ass or sucking up, was never a part I could do, just because you had more knowledge or experience didn’t mean I had to kiss anyone’s ass and I never did.

I was told in my Service Days, you have to do it this way, or that way, but I was never one to do everything by the book so to say, so I would get things done and get the end results correct no matter what, but not always by the book.

Serving in the Military for 16 years, was a part of me and is still in many ways today, the waking up early never goes away, the stick withitness stays with you too, as well as the determination to get it all done before you sit down to relax. All a part of the military life I led, that has stayed with me till these days.

All good things for sure, but so is the ability to play it by ear, to be an individual, to not always follow a pattern and that paid off too in many cases on all three ships I served on. Each ship I served on had a disaster happen abroad it after I had left it. Fires ravished each one at one time or another after  was gone, sadly some died on these ships. I was lucky and did not die, for I never was one to relax on watch in a fire room  or engineering space, I couldn’t sit and sleep like some i knew, I had to get up and look around. I had to check the sounds and noises that changed from watch to watch each day and night I stood one and keep an eye out for problems. I was antsy, and never once in my military career did i ever really relax, I couldn’t. Yet that constant need to make sure things were right and no one was hurt was an internal part of me and I guess it served me well.

The Dahlgren had it’s problems with boiler fires after I left her, as did each ship I was on. The Dahlgren taught me to be aware of everything around me while on watch. When you dealing with 12,00 lbs. of steam going through pipes and valves and turbines you tend to stay awake and aware. I remember more then once having to take a broom to check readings on the boilers and equipment, and hold it out in front of me do to leaks, and watching the broom get burn or cut from steam leaks. Yet we worked around these things until we could shut down, cool off and repair them.

The Monongahela, is and will always be in my memory the best ship and crew I served on in my Navy time. She had the service members who cared the most, who followed the rules and regulations the most, and who had the most pride I have seen in my navy life. We didn’t just serve on her in one position, we did two or three or maybe four different ones we filled. We Served Engineering Watches, Casualty Control Drills,Fire Parties, and yes as Oil Rig Members and Safety Officers too. We steamed the 600 lbs plants and did all we could to meet all obligation she has as a Seagoing command and did so with pride.

The last ship I served on was old, and dilapidated in my opinion and it’s crw had attitude problems that affected all who served on it. The reason was simple, age of vessel, lack of care by leadership and in the end they didn’t care about the crew that manned her. The Ponce LPD-15 when I reached her was in the worst shape of any ship I had seen. I served there for a brief period of time, till my back injuries that had occurred in a fall aboard the Dahlgren years earlier got to me and I went down. The problem with being injured in the Navy and being an engineer is simple, no one wants to believe the injury is real, but it is and always has been. I left the Ponce LPD 15 and headed off to Hospitals, to be treated for disc injuries to my spine. I served on Duty Stations in Norfolk VA., as a Master At Arms, and a BEQ Manager and Assistant manager and I worked at Portsmouth Naval Hospital also. I filled many roles in my Naval life and I must admit learned many lessons.

I also had served prior to the Navy in two other branches of service, the U.S. Army I did a period of only 120 days, and I didn’t fit in and got out on a Trainee Discharge under Honorable Conditions and then went home and joined the COnnecticut Army National Guard, as a Machine Gunner Scout. In all my service time added up to 16 years, total and I a proud of all of it. I wasn’t a hero, I wasn’t the greatest service member but I did my jobs in all ways I knew how and that is what counts. Military Life teaches you discipline, persistence, and how to listen and give orders too and take them. It teaches you that as a unit all must be on one team, for you depend on one another if something happens at sea. As I said earlier, the crews I served with on all three ships, did not have accidents or fires, and the ships I served on during my days stayed accident free from the day I reported aboard them til lI left. I am sorry to have heard os the fires on Dahlgren and Monongahela and Ponce after i left them and hope the crews I knew are safe. My Service life I treasure till today, for the experiences the places and the people were special to live with and through it all. God Bless them all.

Yes I served as a Boiler Technician, a M-88 Tank Retriever Driver and a Machine Gunner Scout. I also served as a Master At Arms, and as a BEQ Assistant Manager. When I left it would be years later, as I struggled to keep going and stay alive and survive, when I would return to School in 1994 at 38 years old and went to College and Got a Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and yes I was the only member of my family to get a College Degree.  I did run Hotels, but, in the end for me my injuries and my lack of patience stopped my doing so. So today what do I do, well, I write, I write blogs, I write poetry, I write books. I take care of my wife who has breast cancer and try to keep her alive. Each day is a day I live on disability pay and social security and we get by.

I have survived it all and I am proud of it too. I brought my wife through Breast cancer in 2006 and she survived, I then suffered Lung Cancer myself and then survived and now we are back at taking care of my wife once more as her breast cancer has spread and is throughout her body in her bones and tissue now again and it is back to chemo for her. So each day I used the same stick with it skills, determination, discipline and how to think on your feet, I learned in the service to survive. That is what, military life does for you, and it never leaves you, does it?


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