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The VVMF Registry

Harold Charles Gilliland


I grew up in Oakland, Illinois where I attended school grades 1-12. I waited after graduation from High School to be drafted but never was. I thought I enlisted in the Army after I filled out paper work for what seemed like hours in the recruiting office in Champaign, Illinois. I never heard from them. I was given an address to the Navy recruiting office in Charleston, Illinois from a friend who had just enlisted, so I wrote them a letter and dropped it in Post Office in Oakland. He showed up at my address just minutes later. I started boot camp on January 8th, 1969 in Great Lakes. I attened schooling in Memphis for a short time before being ordered to Naval Station Sangley Point in the Philippines in June 1969. There I was attached to Air Operations Terminal. I became an Air Crewman on C-47's, C-117's and C54's. We flew passengers, mail, and some cargo on the C-47's & C-117's from Sangley to Clark Air Force base and Cubi Point both in the Philippines. We flew The C-54 to Danang, Cam Rahn Bay, and Saigon in Viet Nam and Uta Pao Thailand. I married a Philippine national on May1, 1970. In June I was ordered to the USS Oriskany CVA-34. I was assigned to the V-2 Division on board. I worked in Arresting Gear on the flight deck recovering aircraft coming back from missions in Viet Nam. I received a Captains Citation for my work and knowledge of my job in Arresting Gear. My Nickname of (Billie) was given to me by my friends in Sangley Point. Billie was short for Billie boot camp. I had many good friends throughout my Navy service. I would love to hear from any of them. The only one I have had contact with was Ralph Miller from the Oriskany. I didn't have any address's from my shipboard friends because of my sudden departure from the ship. After wrapping up the last recovery on the day I was summoned to the Personel Office on board where I was given orders to catch a flight to the ammo ship we were receiving supplies from. I had to find my sea bag in the sea bag locker, pack it as quickly as possible and catch the helo on the flight deck for a very short flight to the ammo ship. From there it was back to the Philippines to Subic Bay where I caught a flight from Cubi Point to Clark Air Force Base on the same plane I had become an Air Crewman on with some crew that I knew while stationed in Sangley Point. My wife had given birth to my first child in Sangley Point in 1970. I had sent them back to Illinois to live with my mother until I was discharged on my son's birthday December 13th, 1972. I worked for Cabot Corp. Tuscola, Illinois for 35 years retiring in 2008. After having both knees replaced (left in 2016 right in 2017) I started working part time in 2018 after not doing anything since 2008. My wife and I just celebrated our 53rd wedding anniversary wit our son.

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