I joined the Navy because my Dad’s brother was in the Navy and my Cousin was also in the Navy. The Viet Nam War was going strong at this time, so I thought I should join a Branch that I knew something about. I had no idea if I was close to being Drafted, as it was before the Lottery.
Went to Boot Camp at San Diego, CA.
October 1965 to September 1966
Attended monthly 2 day Reserve Meetings on a Destroyer Escort, the U.S.S. Walton DD-361 at Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA. We would sail out under the Golden Gate Bridge and learn how to be on a ship.
September 20, 1966
Started 2 year active duty in transit at Treasure Island Naval Base. I was assigned to the Special Services Division. My duties were driving to San Francisco to pick up movies for the Base Theater and driving to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital to deliver supplies to the wounded Sailors. These poor Sailors injuries were horrific to see as a young 20 year old. This made me afraid to go to Viet Nam. I also worked in the Base Hobby Shop.
Flew out of Travis Air Force Base to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Spent a few days there in the Transit Barracks, on 11/20/66 assigned to the U.S.S. Carpenter, DD-825, a Destroyer.
While on the Carpenter, I went home on leave and then visited my girlfriend who lived on a 2,000 acre Cattle Ranch. There I learned to ride Horses and how to be a Ranch Hand. When I returned to my ship and told my Shipmates about the Ranch, they started calling me “Stoney”. There was a popular TV show about a modern day Rancher named Stoney Burke.
Spent my first Christmas away from home in Hawaii.
January 31, 1967
While on ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) night operations with other ships, a Destroyer Escort was hit broadside by a Fuel Tanker. Killed 2 Sailors, seriously wounded 7 Sailors and 3 with less severe injuries. While helping with the rescue, I will never forget one Sailor who had both legs amputated say, “Well, I will never dance again”.
I got my first tattoo in Waikiki Hawaii, a Tasmanian Devil with FTN underneath it. The Tas was my Dad’s favorite cartoon. While getting the tattoo, one of my buddies dared me the get FTN, so I did. It stands for F___ The Navy.
February 24, 1967
I was promoted from Seaman Apprentice E-2 to E-3 Seaman.
March 6, 1967
We left Hawaii headed for Yokosuka, Japan with a stop on March 9th at Midway Island for fuel.
March 18, 1967
In Yokosuka, Japan heading to Viet Nam. We reached "Yankee Station" off Vietnam three weeks later. Our first assignment was “Plane Guard” (Protecting an Aircraft Carrier and Pilot Rescue) assigned to the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, CVA-14. This was usually an uneventful assignment that included sonar exercises with friendly submarines and our DASH (Drone Anti Submarine Helicopter). We were part of DESRON 7 which stands for Destroyer Squadron 7.
April 3 - 4, 1967
Anti Submarine Warfare Training with the U.S.S. Blackfin, SS-322. One of our other duties was to receive mail by Helicopter from the Aircraft Carrier, for the U.S.S. Blackfin, SS-322. I and another sailor would load the mail into a rubber raft and our ship would sail out of sight. We had a signal box that we would let the Sub know when it was all clear to surface. After delivering their mail, they would submerge and our ship would return to pick us up.
April 5 - 9, 1967
Docked in Subic Bay, the Philippines with the U.S.S. Delta, AR-9 for TAV (Technical Assistance Visit).
April 10 - 28, 1967
Yankee Station Carrier Ops with the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk CVA-63 Aircraft Carrier.
April 20, 1967
Docked in Subic Bay, the Philippines with the U.S.S. Piedmont AD-17 for TAV (Technical Assistance Visit).
May 3, 1967
Celebrated my 21st birthday by snorkeling at Grandy Island, Philippines and drinking beer on top of a 200 foot tall WWII lookout tower with my friends.
May 6 - 22, 1967
Yankee Station Carrier Ops with the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk CVA-63 Aircraft Carrier. We pursued an unidentified Submarine that was bothering the Aircraft Carrier. It eventually eluded us.
May 26 - June 7, 1967
We arrived at Kaohsiung,Taiwan with the U.S.S. Delta AR-9 (Battle Damage Repair Ship) for joint sea-air training with the Taiwanese Navy. We also had Shore Leave in town to see the sites.
June 11, 1967
A short surveillance of the Communist Chinese held Paracel islands. We received threatening messages from the Island to leave or be fired on.
June 12 - 27 1967
Yankee Station Carrier Ops with the U.S.S. Hancock CVA-19 Aircraft Carrier.
June 20-23, 1967
Anti Submarine Warfare Training with the U.S.S. Blueback SS-581.
June 29 to 31, 1967
Once again, we returned to Subic Bay with the U.S.S. Dixie AD-14 (DestroyerTender). We ported in Subic Bay about once a month for a few days to refuel, take on supplies and ammunition. During this time, I had “Liberty” (shore leave) and would snorkel off of Grandy Island, resort in the Philippines. I got the worst sunburn I have ever had. Blisters on both arms and neck.
While in Viet Nam on the Carpenter ( I do not remember the date), I had spotted a bright light directly over our ship. It stood out as it was brighter than the stars and it was going the same direction as our ship and the stars were rotating in the opposite direction. It was too far away to determine what it was with binoculars. I reported this to the Watch Officer. I again saw the same light the next night and the watch Officer ordered the Helmsman to take a zig zag course. The “light” followed overhead as we zig zagged. I saw the light for 3 consecutive nights then never saw it again.
July 3 - 7, 1967
We are in Hong Kong. While there I got a tattoo of a pair of crossed anchors on my left wrist. I think the tattoo guy was drunker than I was. One anchor was larger than the other and they were crooked on my wrist. We then returned to Viet Nam for more Shore Bombardment.
July 8 - 20, 1967
Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin Carrier Ops with the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 Aircraft Carrier, USS Sproston DD-577 and the USS Preston DD-795, refueling from the USS Haleakala AF-25. We also participated (in our role of Plane Guarding) in a big airstrike against Hanoi. Our “unit” received a Citation (commendation) for this successful operation.
July 19, 1967
Conducted Personnel High Line transfer with USS McKenzie DD-836 which later relieved us on Station. Later a F-4 Phantom Jet returning to the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard CVA-31 Aircraft Carrier had been shot up severely by enemy fire. The Pilot was gravely wounded and crashed on the flight deck and ended up in the Ocean. I and 3 other Sailors launched a Whale Boat. We were assigned to recover all the wreckage and bodies. We recovered the Pilot’s body, but the co-Pilot must have died and sunk with the Jet. The body was transferred by Helicopter back to the Carrier. Later we replenished supplies from the USS Chipola AO-63
July 20, 1967
Relieved the USS Morton DD-948 on Station.
July 21, 1967
Left the Carrier Group and steamed independently to Corps III to conduct Special Operations. Flew our DASH Drone successfully. Replenished fuel from USS Manatee AO-58.
July 21, 1967
I was recommended for a promotion to E-4, Petty Officer 3rd Class.
July 22 - 29, 1967
We received orders to the gun line off Vietnam. Over the next week, the Carpenter carried out fourteen different fire missions against targets ashore, expending 1,012 rounds of 5”-38 ammunition in support of the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) 17th Division in the II Corps area.We fired on a shore battery that was firing on us. The "Bird Dog” spotter plane found where the battery was. We destroyed the gun emplacement before they could hit us.
July 23, 1967
Replenished supplies via High Line Transfer with the USS Pictor AF-54. Later replenished Ammunition via High Line Transfer from the USS Pyro AE-24.
July 24, 1967
We navigated up the Saigon River Channel and dropped Anchor in the mouth of the Saigon River. Then we proceeded to shell sites selected by a spotter plane and relayed to us. Later we sailed to another High Line Transfer of Fuel with the USS Kennebec AO-36. Then we returned to anchor in Saigon River mouth for additional shore bombardment. Depth of the water was 45 feet. We repeated this operation a number of times, anchoring, firing onto land, pulling anchor, replenishing fuel (USS Cacapon AO-52), ammunition and supplies.
July 27, 1967 to July 30, 1967
We left the Saigon River and sailed up and down the coast of South Viet Nam providing gunfire support to the troops on land. Took on more ammo from the USS Mars AF-51. Took on fuel from the USS Chemung AO-30. Took on more ammo from the USS Haleakala AF-25.
July 30, 1967
Navigated the Cam Rahn Bay Channel and dropped anchor in the bay. Our whaleboat was used to transfer personnel ashore.
August 1, 1967
After finishing our assignment we stopped at Subic Bay, PI. for supplies. Then we set sail for Australia.
August 8, 1967
Enroute to Australia for R&R (rest & relaxation), we crossed the Equator and I was initiated into “Domain of Neptunis Rex” in a ceremony that made me a “Shellback” (anyone who has crossed the Equator), an old Navy tradition.
August 15 - 16, 1967
We reached Sydney, Australia for a two-day port visit. We gave tours of our ship to the public.
August 20, 1967
In port Auckland, New Zealand.
August 21 - 23, 1967
Conducted several “Longex” ASW exercises with the Australian Navy and the New Zealand Navy. Ships involved were the U.S.S. Sproston, DD-577, two submarines, the U.S.S. Volodor, SS-490 and the H.M.S. Tabard, P-342 a British Submarine. Also involved were 2 New Zealand Frigates, HMNZS Waikato and the HMNZS Blackpool. The Royal New Zealand Airforce also participated.
During these exercises, we encountered a Typhoon which is what they call Hurricanes in that region. We were caught in this huge storm for almost 3 days. The waves were coming over the top of the Bridge, the highest part of the ship except for the smoke stacks and superstructure.
I was assigned 12 hour shifts at the Helm. They had to tie a rope behind me to keep me from falling down, as the ship rocked and rolled so violently.
Everyone had to tie themselves into their bunks or they risked being thrown out onto the deck. After the storm passed, we discovered that most of the forward life lines (stanchions and cable railings) and fire hoses were torn off the deck. The forward gun mount had its 8 inches of armor plating caved in almost 4 inches from the force of the wave action.
August 24 - 25, 1967
Port visit Auckland, New Zealand. Repairing storm damage and more tours of the ship.
Our next stop was Wellington, New Zealand. I went to the movies and saw Steve McQueen in the “Sand Pebbles”. A movie about the U.S. Navy in 1930s China.
September 1 - 10, 1967
We departed New Zealand and steamed to Pearl Harbor via Pago Pago, American Samoa. A beautiful Island inhabited by huge people. One of our shipmates was from here. He was a former heavy weight boxing champ of Samoa. He was the strongest man I have ever known.
September 11, 1967
We returned to our home port Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
We sailed to Manus Island part of Papua New Guinea. This was on our way to an area between Midway and Japan. We docked at the port, but I never left the ship. Natives would swim or paddle their boats around the ship and try to sell us fish.
November 8, 1967
One of our Drone Helicopters lost control and crashed into our ship. A First Class Radioman was severely injured. We sailed to Midway and took him to the hospital. The helicopters are remote control and carry a Torpedo. They are designated as D.A.S.H., short for one Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter.
November 9, 1967
After practicing for a month with a dummy space capsule, we participated as a secondary pick up ship for the Apollo 4 Space Mission. Our role was to pick up the unmanned space capsule if anyone interfered with the Carrier that was assigned that duty. The Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Bennington CVA 20 made the pick up as planned. We received a Meritorious Unit Citation for our participation in this historic event.
We sailed back to Pearl Harbor, and docked at Pier Bravo 22 on 11/14/67. I noted in a letter to Mom, that I weighed 166 pounds. I weighed 175 pounds when I entered the Navy.
November 16, 1967
I was promoted to E-4 Petty Officer 3rd Class, Boatswains Mate or BM3. Pay in the Combat Zone was $202 a month tax free.
I had the crossed anchors tattoo on my wrist covered with a Blue Swallow. A Blue Swallow Tattoo indicates that you have sailed 5,000 Nautical Miles. Not sure if I sailed that far or not, but I got it anyway.
December 25, 1967
Christmas in Hawaii
January 11, 1968
An exciting week, a fire in one of our storage lockers on Monday. Tuesday we chased an unidentified submarine that was following the U.S.S. Enterprise, CVA-65, the first nuclear powered Aircraft Carrier. Wednesday our second DASH Helicopter crashed into the Ocean.
January 23, 1968
We were called off of the firing line in Viet Nam to respond to Korea. The U.S.S. Pueblo, AGER-2 had been taken hostage by the North Korean Navy. During negotiations, we stood by, ready to attack, to get our ship back. It was quite a change in weather for us. We went from the humid heat of Viet Nam to the freezing cold of the Sea of Japan. We actually had icicles hanging from our life lines. After about a week, we returned to Viet Nam in time for the 1968 Tet Offensive that began on January 30, 1968. Our duties were the same, Shore Bombardment and Plane Guard.
March 6, 1968
Transferred to the U.S.S. Boyd, DD-544, a Destroyer. This was due to the Carpenter having exceeded their quota of 3rd Class Petty Officers after I was promoted. I would have preferred to stay on the U.S.S. Carpenter. I left the ship in Hawaii just before they departed for Viet Nam again. Took 2 weeks leave to go home before changing ships.
March 12, 1968
We sailed to Hawaii enroute to another WestPac Cruise and Viet Nam. For me it was sailing back to Hawaii as I just left there the week before. Next stop was Midway Island for fuel.
March 18, 1968
We sailed into Sasebo, Japan for fuel and minor repairs.
April 24, 1968
I took a train from Yokosuka, Japan to Tokyo and toured the Olympic Village and went to the top of the Tokyo tower that was similar to the Space Needle. Then dinner at a Kobe Beef House including a performance by Geisha Girls who also cooked our dinner on Hibachis. Then I attended the Kabuki Theater. The Kabuki Theater was very interesting. The performers were all male, playing men and women. The stage was very elaborate with a village scene including a 30 foot tall Buddha. At the conclusion of the performance, a huge earthquake was simulated with Buddha crumbling down and a flood flowing across the stage.
May 3, 1968 (My Birthday)
Left Sasebo, Japan escorting the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk, CVA-63 to Yankee Station / Tonkin Gulf for 36 days. At one point during this cruise, a Russian Destroyer Escort cut in front of the Carrier we were guarding. We intercepted the Russian ship and for a brief and tense period of time they came close to side swiping our ship.
May 16, 1968
We had escort duty and shore bombardment with the U.S.S. Long Beach, CGN-9, the first Nuclear Powered Guided Missile Cruiser. We were close enough to shore of Viet Nam to see our Marines on land in combat.
May 20, 1968
We were relieved on Yankee Station by the Australian Destroyer, HMAS Hobart. On June 17th, the Hobart was hit by missiles fired by U.S. Jets in error, 2 Seamen were killed and 7 injured.
May 29, 1968
I mailed a box of uniforms and a BB Pistol that I had bought home to Mom, with a separate letter telling her to not open the box. Surprisingly, she received the box first, saw my uniforms and thought that was the Navy’s way of telling her I had been killed. She called my girlfriend, who had recently heard from me. She was able to calm my Mom down.
May ? 1968
Contracted Dysentery from something I ate or drank. Couldn’t keep anything down, even water. Throwing up and diarrhea for over a week. I lost 15 pounds. All the Corpsman could do is give me antibiotics, as we were at sea near Viet Nam. They were just getting ready to airlift me to an Air Craft Carrier, when I took a turn for the better and finally recovered.
June 8, 1968
In letter to Mom I told her we were close enough to shore to see soldiers fighting.
June 9, 1968
After 35 days at sea we made a stop at Kaohsiung, Taiwan on our way to Yokosuka, Japan.
June 16, 1968
We left Sasebo escorting the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard, CVA-31 to Yankee Station / Tonkin Gulf. There we had short Plane Guard Duties and then headed North to join the U.S.S. Long Beach, CGN-9 on Shore Bombardment duties. Next we sailed South and provided Shore Bombardment in support of the Korean Tiger Division, the U.S. Marines, Third Division and the South Viet Nam Army.
June 23, 1968
We sailed into Hong Kong.
June 24 through July 1968
Relieved U.S.S. Harwood DD- 861. Shore Bombardment near Qui Nhon, Viet Nam. We were a few thousand yards from shore firing on water line caves in IV Corps, suspected of being occupied by the enemy.
July 14, 1968
Newspaper coverage about us destroying Viet Cong artillery sights Cap Lay in the DMZ (De Militarized Zone). We were with the U.S.S. Boston, CA-69, a heavy Cruiser and the U.S.S. Saint Paul, CA-73, also a Heavy Cruiser.
Enroute to San Diego by way of Yokosuka Japan, Sasebo Japan, Kaohsiung Taiwan, Subic Bay Philippines, and Hong Kong. We were escorting the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, CVA-14.
August 17, 1968
Arrived in San Diego. I was transferred to the Transit Barracks around the 20th and spent a few weeks there waiting to be discharged. I was assigned Shore Patrol duties to keep me busy. The Navy Base sponsored a Job Fair for Sailors getting out of the Navy. I interviewed with Los Angeles Police Department and was offered the job, which I turned down. I didn’t want to live in LA.
September 20, 1968
Left active duty with the Navy and began my career as a Police Officer. During my 31 years in Law Enforcement I worked for 3 different Agencies, City Police, County Sheriff and State Police.