1 Dec 2009
Originally from Danville, IL I spent my high school years in a small farming community of
400. My parents passed away early in my life, Mom when I was 9 and Dad when I was
15. So, I lived with a sister and attended a small high school from ’56-60. I played guitar
in a little garage band and we usually played for the school sock hops.
I joined the Navy in 1960 so I could see the world. Got married out of boot camp and we
had our first daughter on our first wedding anniversary. Pat and I have been blessed with
2 daughters, a son, and 9 grandchildren.
My first assignment was to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Charleston, SC standing guard
over mothballed ships. After a few months I went on to sonar school, then sub school
followed by my first boat, USS Diodon SS349 out of San Diego. Got out of the service
after 3years 9 months and went back to IL.
Eleven months later I joined up again and requested a boat instead of B school. We
needed the money and civilian life then wasn’t going well for us. So, I was assigned to the
Thornback as an SOS2 (SS). I made one patrol on the Thornback and served on her
from 1963-1966 or so. The Thornback had the best crew I served with. I bunked in tubes
forward and had a pretty good relationship with the TM’s. Squirrel was my hero. Louie
Metts ET2 was a close shipmate but after we both moved several times we lost contact
with each other. Steve Doran was leading sonarman making chief and I made first class.
A few months after returning from the North Atlantic Steve informed me the Amberjack
needed a leading sonarman and was headed out for a run. He also informed me that
since Tback had a chief and a first class one of us had to transfer to the Amberjack and
he didn’t want to go. I’ve always admired Steve for the up front way he handled this. A
man worthy of respect and typical of the men who made up the crew of the Tback. I also
remember Mr. Lamberth who went down with the Scorpion and was the only officer I ever
invited to our house for dinner just before he left. An excellent officer and a true
gentleman. And TP O’Neal who fed us like kings and knew how to use his fists if
necessary. A man’s man.
I served on the USS Amberjack SS522 until I was discharged in 1968.
I got out of the Navy because my extended absences were having an adverse affect on
the family. I landed a job with Tektronix, Inc and started out as a repair technician in their
Chicago office. I had a good run at Tektronix and with the company growing was able to
get promoted. The promotions involved moving so I moved the family six times while
working there including a 3 year stint in The Netherlands as European Service Mgr. From
there I was transferred to Oregon where we have lived for the past 28 years.
Electronics has had its ups and downs and due to opportunities and cutbacks I have
worked for several electronic companies including Tektronix, Spacelabs, Mentor
Graphics, Photon Kinetics, Cray Research, and Credence Systems Corp. At Credence I
was the Director of International Service and spent 3 months in Singapore and 7 months
in Korea. I traveled extensively throughout Asia for several years. I retired 4 years ago
and spend a good portion of my time playing guitar and singing at Retirement homes and
Sr. Centers. I also played guitar in a church band.
I like to fish and Oregon has boundless outdoor opportunities and some of the most
spectacular scenery in the USA. Besides that my son-in-law has a bass boat that will do
about 80mph and we fish the Brownlee, a 40 mile long stretch of water on the Oregon
Idaho border and there is always salmon, steelhead, trout and sturgeon to chase. Life is