Anchors Aweigh – Part 1

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Anchors Aweigh – Part 1

So young | U. S. Navy boot     camp, 1967

About four months from high school graduation, and with the military service draft still in place, I thought it wise to exercise a bit of “control” over the choice as to which branch of military service I would end up in considering the Vietnam War was heating up more and more…

July 1967 found me flying from Salt Lake City, Utah to San Diego, California for 9 and a half weeks of U. S. Navy boot camp…  At the 4 and 1/2 week mark, I would be given the “opportunity” to spend the rest of boot camp at the base small bore range as the “range yeoman” – basically keeping the place squared away and doing some paper shuffling for the grisly old master chief in charge who, from the looks and sound of him, may have served with John Paul Jones in the Continental Navy… Typing class and that high school diploma was already paying for itself…!

All I had to do was to show up for required inspections and all necessary training with my company – fire fighting, damage control, knot tying, etc., but no marching or 16-count manual exercises on the parade ground with them…!

October-November 1967, out of boot camp with my orders, and as a newly “minted” Seaman Apprentice, I was winging my way to Vietnam to report to my assigned duty station, the U. S. S. Tombigbee (AOG-11), which was online operating between Danang and Qua Viet near the DMZ (demilitarized zone); she was an old WWII water barge converted into a gasoline tanker – a floating bomb…

Up until then, Vietnam was just a place far far away and the war part was nothing but a TV series brought into American living rooms by the then three big networks: ABC, CBS, & NBC; boy, was I in for a rude awakening…!  The shore base I had arrived at – Tein Sha – came under rocket attack that night…  Lucky for me, my ship was anchored in DaNang harbor that day of my arrival so as the base came under attack that night, I was aboard the U.S.S. Tombigbee steaming north toward the DMZ; a cold rainy night which I would experience as we went to general quarters (battle stations) because the ship’s radar had picked up “enemy” boats approaching our ship…  After about an hour or so, we found out it was a false alarm – welcome to Vietnam I thought to myself…

USNTC – San Diego, CA 1967

Two years later, August 1969, I would once again be back at the U. S. Naval Training base in San Diego for an eight and a half week course in air conditioning and refrigeration; a nice little break from the everyday life aboard the U. S. S. Tombigbee(In the photo, I’m in the back row, 1st on the left)
The next time I would step aboard a ship as a crew member would be 18+ years into the future on to the quarter deck of the U.S.N.S. Mercy (T-AH-19)

…the music ‘village people’ video below is the official one; a different version incorporating the cast of
down periscope‘ was used during the end credits of the film… enjoy…

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