FOR OUR CHILDREN and GRANDCHILDREN on VETERANS DAY 2016:
Your dad/"G-Dad" was accepted into the Navy's Reserve Officer Candidate (ROC) program while he was still in college in 1967, spending his first summer of training at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. After we were married in June of 1969, he reported to Newport, RI, where we could hardly afford to live! A one-room/no-bath apartment was about $300 a month – so we moved 10 miles out of town to Portsmouth, RI, where we got a 2-room place to stay for $200, which was $40 more than his monthly pay check! So we sold my car so I could afford to be there in an apartment all by myself all week! He stayed on base 6 days and I only got to see him on Wednesday afternoon at the base – but he got to come home on Saturday nights (where I made spaghetti every week!). After receiving his commission as an Ensign, he got new orders to be in Norfolk, VA in four days!
He got me settled in another tiny apartment, then within the month, he was aboard the USS Cambria and headed across the Mediterranean Sea for six months, while I stayed in VA and worked at a bank (Larry's chosen profession). When he returned home, they decommissioned his ship and gave him orders to Vietnam! So, we moved all our worldly possessions (our clothes, his guitar, our golf clubs, a floor lamp, and a small TV set) to the other side of the country - Coronado, CA!
Now a Lt JG, he went through the survival school where the Navy Seals train in Coronado, plus he spent three months in language school, learning to speak Vietnamese, because he would be living in a Vietnamese village for a year with only two other Americans! They were “coastal group advisers” to the Vietnamese navy's junk-boat force. During his year there, he played trombone in the Vung Tau village band, learned to cook for himself, caught hepatitis, and was promoted to the rank of LT. In Jan of 1972, he came home to AR, picked me up, and we then went back to Oakland, CA for him to be released from the Navy, where he received the Navy Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam.
The US flag still makes him teary-eyed and proud to have served his country! I have always been so thankful that God returned him to me - he's my hero and my favorite veteran.