My Years In the United States Navy


I served 11 years in the US Navy enlisting in 1976 and getting out in 1987. I entered the Navy in the Advanced Electronics Program which required an initial 6 year enlistment. I went to Boot Camp in San Diego on 1 Oct 76 (you really didn't think I wanted to go to Great Lakes during the winter did you). After Boot I attended BE&E (Basic Electricity and Electronics) school in San Diego. I then went to Great Lakes for ET (Electronics Technician) "A" school specializing in communications equipment. I was Honor Grade out of "A" school and got my choice of following "C" school.  I chose Fort Gordon Georgia for Satellite Communication "C" School. Satellite school was about 6 months long, I was Honor Grad out of this school as well.  All in all I initially spent over two years doing nothing by going to school in the Navy.


With school out of the way my first duty station was shore duty at COMSTA Stockton California.  I worked on the Satellite Communications equipment which included a huge 60 foot dish and two 20kw Final Power Amps providing nonstop Fleet Broadcast messages to the ships of the Pacific Fleets.  I was fortunate in that I worked on a lot of state of the art equipment (at the time) there including spread spectrum equipment.


My next duty station was sea duty aboard the USS San Jose AFS-7.  It was the only sea duty of my Navy Career, the San Jose was a Fleet Supply ship. With a crew of only 400 it seemed like I knew almost everyone aboard. Basically all we did was get supplies and bring them out to the Battle Groups underway in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. We then transferred the supplies via UNREP (underway replenishment), then we'd turn right back around and go get more supplies. It was great duty as we were always running back into port to get supplies for the fleet while the Battle Groups continued to play war games at sea.


I reported aboard when the ship was in San Francisco during a yard overhaul period.  Shortly after getting out of the yards we changed home port to Guam stopping in Pearl Harbor on the way. While on the San Jose I made 3 major cruises hitting ports in Yokosuka and Sasebo Japan, Pusan Korea, Philippines, Saipan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives Islands, Somalia, Oman, Australia, and Diego Garcia (been to many of these ports numerous times). I worked primarily on the communications equipment in the radio room and the transmitter room.  When I reported aboard the TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation) equipment hadn't worked in almost two years. With a tech manual set that took up about 4 feet of book shelf space I began studying and learning the equipment eventually fixing it and once again making it operational (what else is there to do out at sea). I actually really enjoyed this time on the ship, there's nothing like sailing around the world pulling into ports aboard a United States Navy ship. I re-enlisted aboard the ship and extended onboard another year.


My final duty station was back on the beach where I was sent for instructor duty at Great Lakes to teach ET "A" School.  As much as I did not want these orders when I received them it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.  I discovered that not only did I like teaching but I was very good at it. I was put into the radar side of ET school where I taught the SPS-10 radar, the SPA-25 PPI (Planned Position Indicator) and Advanced Electronics theory to the nuclear field students. Learning and teaching radar rounded out my electronics knowledge as I had been a communications equipment tech up to that point. Additionally the instructor training and teaching experience along with my electronics background landed me where I'm at in Motorola today.


Unfortunately I did not take many pictures when I was in the Navy, boy I wish I took some more now.  I did take the most pictures during my tour aboard the San Jose.  So here are some of them.

Here she is, the USS San Jose AFS-7 Our biggest guns, twin 3" 50's
I think this was on my 1st cruise, we're pulled up next to the carrier Midway getting ready to start an UNREP I used to stand bridge-bridge phones on the bridge wing during UNREP's. We used to swap liberty port sea stories with the guy on the ship getting UNREP'd even though we weren't supposed to be bullshitting. Boy was I skinny then! Here I am again on bridge-bridge phones. Ship hasn't pulled along side yet. This phone circuit allowed the Captain's of both ships to have direct communication with each other. Should have heard some of their sea stories. Notice I'm wearing different glasses. I lost the wire frames in a fight in Singapore on my 2nd cruise.
The transmitter room. Spent a LOT of time in here. We had 1 100w and 3 1Kw HF transmitters, 6 20w and 2 100w UHF Transceivers, 2 UHF Satellite Transceivers, & 1 old 10w VHF receiver. Two large units in the front are SRA-33 UHF Multicouplers allowing 4 transceivers to share one antenna. I spent hours tuning these cavities to get them to work right with minimum signal loss over the freq range. Another view of the transmitter room. Units on the right above the phone are 2 of 8 URC-9 transceivers we had. Spent probably 75% of my time tuning these units. They were mechanically tuned and required constant tweeking to keep them operating.

These 3 units where my favorites. They were URT-23 1000watt HF (short wave) transmitters. Beautiful pieces of equipment. I completely tore down and rebuilt all three of these units. Teamed up with an R-1051 receiver and you had the ultimate in short wave transceiver equipment. I still have fantasies of owning one of these.

Believe it or not, for a brief period I was the Leading Petty Officer of the division. Notice that I was the Training Petty Officer of the division as well, was this a glimpse at my destiny?

This was the whole OE Division at one point in time. Left-Right, in the back me and Sherman, in the front Cook and Dave Walker. Notice I still had the wire frame glasses here. Sherman was the married guy of the division at the time, Cook was into space and the planets, Dave was from Louisiana (I think).




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