For those who served in the RVAH Community, their families, and friends!
I added this category at Sticks request. Please feel free to tell us a little about yourself.
I remember being told that if we went overboard, they weren't even turning around to look for us!
I was in Heavy 12 from June, 1967 until the Spring of '70 when they left for a WestPac. I had a short time to go so was transferred and then mustered out on June 5. I was TDA'd to the jet shop aboard the Connie for the '67 cruise and then returned to 12's Power Plants when we got back to Sanford. I made the move to Albany. Soon after we went on the carrier quals and 9 1/2 month Med cruise on the Forrestal. I was a crew leader and flight deck troubleshooter for that cruise and thereafter. After a short time back in Albany we did an 8 or 9 week North Atlantic on the Independence. Finally, it was a couple carrier quals prior to the next West Pac on the America. I spent about a week in Gitmo on the diversion crew at that time. All in all it was a great experience. Much better than I realized at the time. :-)
Welcome aboard Steve!
I reported to RVAH 14 in August 1972, and by Septemeber I was in the Med with the squadron aboard the USS John F. Kennedy. CDR Clifford Johns was the CO. I will never forget going in the Personnel Office aboard the JFK, and meeting Personnel Man 1st Class Ralph Green from Knoxville, TN. He looked at my orders and saw I was from Morristown, TN, and said "Sailor do you want to work in this Admin / Personnel Office or go Mess Cooking?" What choice did I have, and I became a Yeoman for the squadron. I was given the nickname "Trail" Blazer" and it has been with me ever since.
From 14 thru 28 September 1972, USS John F. Kennedy participated in NATO Exercise Strong Express, and I can remember going into the Artic Circle and getting my Blue Nose Certificate. If my memory serves me right I believe the USS JFK reduced its recognized (electronic) signature profile down, and we were steaming around 33 knots to evade the Russians. Please correct me if this is wrong as I am relating from memory. I can still visualize being on the deck of the carrier, and when reaching the Artic Circle one of the officers telling us how long we would live if we fell overboard...not long!
I made the 1973/74 Med cruise with RVAH-14 aboard the USS Independence. CDR Ron T. Pollard from Memphis, TN became our CO. What an amazing 2 years I had with RVAH-14!!! Our squadron was the first to be decommissioned on 1 May 1974 at NAS Boca Chica, FL. I was given orders to the USS Yosemite (AD-19) Mayport, FL, and 3 weeks later I was steaming back to the Med once again. My enlistment ended aboard the Yosemite on 15 March 1975, and I returned to Tennessee.
I graduated from the University of Tennessee and worked for General Electric 29 years retiring in 2007. My wife and I live in Morristown, TN and have two children and two grandchildren. I was in Pensacola last year visiting my Division Officer / Boss aboard the Yosemite as we have stayed in touch since 1975. While there I toured the Naval Aviation Museum, and also saw the Blue Angels air show at Pensacola Beach I appreciate you welcoming me aboard and hope to talk with you again.
Carroll E. "Trail" Blazer
Welcome aboard "Trail"...we do have other topics and your free to roam around all over the site...
RVAH-6 from 68-72. Made 2 WestPacs (Enterprise, KittyHawk). Would like to hear from fellow"Fleurs" or other "RVAH'ers".
Greetings all. When I got short on my tour of duty on Adak Island in the Aleutians I got orders for RVAH-13. Nobody in that blackest of black-shoe Navy installations knew what that meant. My buddy in the personnel office said that the "H" meant helicopters. I came to find out he was mistaken.
Never got to know many in the squadron as I was TAD to NIPSTRAFAC ashore and the to IOIC aboard ship (Ranger for the '74 WestPac cruise.
I stumbled upon this site web-surfing and spotted a couple members I'd like to reconnect with. Bill Keidel and Dennis Kimberlin, both PT's in Heavy 13.
Any other former CT's aboard here? There was a handful of us back then. One per squadron I believe.
Good to have you here, and reading your note made me realize it truly is a small world. I was not a CT, but we do have another thing in common; being stationed in beautiful ADAK Alaska! I was sent there in January of 1967, right out of Boot Camp. Things I remember: Camping on Shagak bay, catching King Crab when they came ashore, having an Island holiday when there was a sunny bright day, the tunnel to and from the barracks, Oly beer, no women (other than those who were with higher ups, and the story about the Island being held up by three volcanic tubes (or something like that). I was a Photographers Mate, and enjoyed taking photos around the Island. Well, that is all I have for now, but I just wanted to say hello.
Thanks for the welcome ,John. Adak was in fact very beautiful Outstanding fishing, and for sure, a photographer's dream. Eagles, mountains, seascapes, etc.
Did you live "downtown" or up the hill at NAVCOMSTA?
I'd love to go back for maybe a week or so just to revisit old memories. As I get older, revisiting Key West sounds easier and more comfortable. Not feeling any particular urge to visit Albany any time soon.
I was "Uptown" :), but it was OK for sure. Met a three guys from Massachusetts, my home town, and we stayed friends for years. It truly was a beautiful place, and I had a ton of slides for years, but lost them all in a fire years ago.
You know the government gave the entire place back to the natives, and this link may bring back a memory or two.
I agree with you about Albany. Lived there in Perry Smiths Trailer Court, with my wife, and being with her made it great, but I always felt like an outsider. I remember a bar called the "Liberty Bar", and on the front door it had "colored entrance in rear" sign. Don't get me wrong, it had been closed for years, but the fact that the sign was still up made me think.
Well, I hope you have a great New Year, and I'll look for your name in the postings.
Damn...and I thought 2 winters at Gt Lakes was bad......
After Boot Camp and "A" School in San Diego, and about 2 weeks ride in a train towards Sanford, FL, I reported aboard RVAH-12 about April of 1967, just before WestPac deployment on board USS Constellation ( home-ported in San Diego). We sailed to Subic Bay thereafter, and not long after docking in port our "liberty" was cut short, to relieve USS Forrestal which sustained awful and heavy damage in Tonkin Gulf accident! What a terrible sight it was!
With WestPac cruise completed in early1968, Speartip headed back to Sanford and, not long after, moved to Albany, GA. I think it was about that time when I let my superiors know of my desire to become an "airdale" instead of a seaman. It just didn't feel right that most shipmates worked on airplanes, and I didn't; so I joined them later as ADJ. And, believe me, it was a very rewarding move, job-wise. (In my job later in the civilian world, the job experiences landed me to McDonnell Aircraft and Boeing Corps.)
The next cruise was aboard USS Forrestal, for Mediteranean! It was finally repaired. It was freshly painted when we boarded it. I grappled with its 1967 Tonkin Gulf imageries in the beginning, but soon I had erased 'em from my memory after fine liberty calls! If my memory serves me right, I lost my "Pollywag" status and became "Shellback"while on board this ship!
Med cruise over, Speartip returned to Albany. I actually worked on RA5C this time around in Powerplant Division. On ship or land, I had worked as Line trouble-shooter. Learned a lot from my shipmates! Thanks, y'all !!!
Another cruise to WestPac followed, on board USS America. Fine liberty calls there, for sure. A group of RA5C"maintainers"like myself disembarked the ship for a detachment in Cubi Point, led by CWO4 Donald Pierce!
A short Caribbean sea cruise followed, on board USS Independence. That enjoyable cruise concluded my active tour of duty in 1971.
I went back to college for 3 years + until I exhausted my GI Bill.
I had joined the USN Reserve in 1984 and served in Naval Reserve Fleet Activity Okinawa 0176, VP Squadron 9, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 5- all units home-ported in NAS Point Mugu, CA. This time I worked as Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Tech first and then Aviation Electronics Tech later. I retired in 2007.
My happy and wonderful memories with Heavy 12 were more than enough incentives for me to resume my naval career in the Naval Reserve! My little regret was I didn't join the Reserve soon after my active duty tour. Advancement in rate was so much faster then .