We all had our reasons to join the Navy and we all feel that our Navy time added (or subtracted) something to our lives. This is a spot for shipmates to add their comments as to why they joined and what serving did for them.If you would like to tell us your story, please send it to Webguy@ussmagoffin.org or mail it to Terry Little at the return address that is on your newsletter.
Association President, Mike Stein, explains why he joined the USN this way - I was probably predestined to become a sailor. I was born in November of 1942. WW2 for our country had been underway for just less than one year. My father (I have no memory of him) was a fellow named Paul Monroe Mannon. Like most young men of his generation he was serving in the armed forces. He was an AMM2 attached to Patrol Squadron (VP-52) in the Pacific. VP-52 was a squadron of PBY Catalina's. They were called "Black Cats" because they were painted black and flew their bombing missions at night.
On the night of November 22, 1943 my father's plane was flying in the area of the large Japanese base at Rabaul when it took enemy gun fire and was forced to make a landing on the water. The entire crew of eleven was then captured within a day and taken as POW's. The only survivor at the end of the war was the pilot.
In 1946 my mother remarried. My step-father was Bob Stein who was an AMM1 and a veteran of WW2. They would be the parents of twin boys who were born in 1947. Bob would continue his naval career retiring as an ADC (E-7) in 1961. So from the 1940's to the 1960's I had the great good fortune to be raised as a Navy "Brat" with the required change of duty stations every two to three years. Bob's last assignment was at NAS Miramar in 1957. We moved to Escondido at that time and I graduated from Escondido High School in June of 1961.
I knew before graduation that I didn't want to go to college and that my best choice was to join the Navy and complete my military obligation. Two weeks after graduation I was off to Boot Camp in San Diego. At this time I decided that I wanted to be a Personnelman (PN). At that time there was no "A" school for that rate, so off to the fleet. I received orders to the USS Magoffin APA 199. Reported aboard and found out that "X" division had more than enough Personnelman and Yeoman. One of those being my good friend and shipmate, Russ Osborne. I'm beginning to picture myself as the newest member of the deck crew when somebody suggests sending me to sick bay to help the Hospital Corpsman with their paperwork. And thus a navy career was begun.
The Corpsman took me on as one of their own and of course began encouraging me to strike for their rating. The biggest instigator of that was Terry Little who was an HM3 during our 1961 Westpac cruise.
During the cruise I made up my mind that I wanted to become a Hospital Corpsman and serve with the Marines. Before returning to San Diego I received my orders for school at Balboa Naval Hospital. In late 1962 I said goodbye to the USS Magoffin and reported for duty at Hospital Corps School.
Graduating from Corps School I received orders for Field Medical Technician School at Camp Pendleton. Upon graduation I was assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton. I spent my remaining two years of service with the 5tth Marines and was discharged in June of 1965.
In August of 1965 I was hired as a member of the Escondido Police Department where I served for thirty two years before retiring in July of 1997.
My four years spent in the Navy were pivotal to the success that I had later in life. The Navy taught me discipline, respect for authority, and the importance of education and self improvement. Most importantly it watched over me as a "big brother" and wouldn't allow me to do something that would have a negative effect on the rest of my life.
J.L. "Bucky" Earven writes to tell us why he joined the Navy - My dad, was a tin can sailor in WWII. My older brother was a Marine during Korea. My dad became a rancher like his dad, and had ranches in Arizona and Oregon. During the summer between my sophomore and junior year, he sent me from Arizona to Eastern Oregon to go to school and look out for his interest on the ranch. One of our neighbors, was on President Kennedy's advisory council. He came home from DC in the spring of 1962, and told me that as soon as I graduated I needed to get into, and out of the service, as we were heading for trouble. I tried to join the Marine Corps., but they didn't want me because I had flat feet. I enlisted in the Navy in Oct. 1962, and reported to San Diego Dec. 27 1962. After boot training I was sent to Sonar school. In the 7th week it was determined that I was tone deaf. They said my grades were good enough that I could get radar or radio school. I was mad enough, that I said "F--- that, send me to the fleet". I didn't have to say it twice. Before I could blink I was a seaman apprentice in 2nd Division aboard the Magoffin. I was only aboard 2 weeks before I was sent to cox'n school at the Amphib base in Coronado. That was a ball. When I got back to the ship I learned the routine of ship board life, and I guess it agreed with me. They combined the enginemen, bow hooks, and cox'ns to form Boat Group. I advanced about as quick as it could be done to SN, BM3 and BM2. I went in on a kitty cruise, and had to extend a year to sew on my 2nd class crows. I had requested several times to go to UDT school, but my chit was never approved. When LT. L.G.E. Duncan left the ship in June 1967, I saw my chance. I left the Maggie in July 67 and went on to other wilder things. I have always regretted that my naval carrier ended up getting cut short, but the experiences and friends, have made me what I am today. Some of my greatest heroes came from then, and I have, and still think of those men, almost every day. Men like "Sack" Strohman, Larry Hardy, Aaron English, Andy Anderson, and Bud Bryant ( The saltiest sailors aboard ), made me see things in a different light. I still miss the Navy, and the way of life we had. The friends we made during those times, became closer than family. We would tell each other things, that we wouldn't think of telling our brothers or friends back home. I only hope that the service men and women of today, know the camaraderie and friendship we knew then.
J.T. (Travis) Pike BT/2c USN - You know, I never dreamed of joining the Navy. I always dreamed of joining the Marine Corps. Why? Because, my Dad, and some of his brothers were Marine Corps veterans. I listened to their tales and dreamed of glory and fame of being a hero. But, to each and every one of those men, they always said, I hope none of my sons ever have to endure the horror of the Marine Corps in battle. So, when it came my time to step up to the plate, my dad said, "Son, No one will care if you have your legs blown off or your killed in action, except the family you leave behind" That statement rang in my ears when I went down to the induction center in 1965 to make my choice. My dad, who is still alive, and wearing his Marine Corps ball cap everyday, pointed to the US Navy line. I didn't know anything about the US Navy because none of my family had served in the Navy. So, I used his judgment and enlisted in the US Navy. Now, with all that history said, I am damn glad I did what my dad said, because it was the best time of my life and I can't remember anything that compared to the excellent time I experienced. Matter of fact, I've been doing the same job that the Navy trained me in, for the last 38 years. Actually if you take the Naval training, it would be 42 years. Now that is something to consider. I thank God, and The US Navy in that order for my successes in life. If it were not for the US Navy, I don't know where I would be at this point in my life. I spoke with one of my navy supervisors by e-mail the other day. He retired from the Navy as an E-9 chief BTCM. He was and is a good man. He said, the same thing to me in an e-mail " Thank God, and thank the US Navy." That my shipmate is a testimony of faith''. I suspect from that statement, he is doing ok. So, all this Hoopbra, Go Navy!!!!! Happy New Year. Later Seadog
Terrence (TeeJay) Little HM-2 USN - My father and my step-father both were combat infantry in WW-II. Having lived with them and their stories of the war (which changed the more they had to drink) I knew I didn't want to be a ground pounding soldier but I also knew that I wanted to join the service. There was universal draft at the time and having been born just before WW-II started, I knew it was my duty to spend some time in the military. I investigated all of the services and was torn between the Navy and the Air Force. The February before I graduated from high school I was walking home from the local bowling alley where I set pins. It was typical Chicago winters night with the wind blowing hard and cold and snow pouring down. I had my hands down in my jeans and my neck pulled in to my jacket trying to get warm but I wasn't succeeding. I passed a corner where two sailors standing, waiting for the bus to the loop. They were wearing dress blues with turtleneck sweaters, pea coats with the collar turned up and had gloved hands shoved into those deep pockets. (Think of the statue of the lone sailor) They looked like the warmest people in the world! By the time I got my freezing butt home I had decided that I wanted to be in the Navy. After graduation I enlisted was sent to boot camp and Corps School at Great Lakes. That winter, while learning to be a Corpsman, I really learned that with blues and a pea coat you could stay mighty warm and still look "military" even with your hands in your pockets. When I got out in 1963 I wanted to continue in the medical field. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that there really wasn't an opportunity to make a living in medicine unless you were a Doctor, a Pharmacist or a RN. Jobs such as Paramedic or Physician's assistant didn't exist yet so I went to work in business. I have applied lessons that I learned in the Navy everyday since I got out. I learned first aid and seamanship but most of all I learned how to take on responsibility, how to train others, and what real leadership looked like. I learned that “half-ass” ain’t the way to do things and I still fold my skivvies the way that I was taught to do it in boot camp.