Posted by: guinness222 | April 16, 2019

Senator John McCain,…..R.I.P.

I grew up in the 1960’s, and was also in the US Navy from September 1964 -1970. John McCain was 6 years older than I was in the beginning of our terms of service in the Navy. He was a graduate the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and I had a nomination to the Academy but turned it down simply because I was told I would graduate and become a “black shoe”, (Navy slang for an engineering Officer) and spend most of my career on smaller ships like Destroyers, bobbing like a cork and being below decks keeping all the engines and other systems working. YUCK!! Not that that is by far a noble career,….but not what I wanted to do.

I wanted Aviation and did not know you could opt for Aviation AFTER you finished the Academy. So I joined the Navy Reserve and was accepted to join an old reserve Squadron that flew the P2V aircraft in March of 1964. But. About three months later I had been taking Navy Correspondence courses, for “Airman Apprentice (E-2), learned quickly and got that designation by September of 1964. It put me in the “career track” that I wanted to be, and went down to the recruiting office and joined the regular Navy for a six year enlistment, Four on regular active duty and two more in the Reserves.

Because I had already earned the “AA” Airman Apprentice rank that allowed me to go directly into that “sector” of the Navy. So after swearing in, I was on my way to Brooklyn New York for “further classification” (n.b. Note no Boot Camp except my “Navy Reserve two week Boot camp which I had already fulfilled, so I was flat “in the grinder” for a specific career path,….an aviation ratings, hence Brooklyn Naval Shipyard for all the actual testing and evaluations to be sure I had found an “Aviation” career in the Navy.

By November of ’64, it was determined that I would best “serve the needs of the Navy”, as an “Aerographers Mate” or “Weatherman”. I’d have preferred Air Traffic Controller but I was ok with it because it was definitely an “Aviation Billet”.

I became aware of John McCain as a “Jet Jockey”, (Jet plane fighter pilot). While I didn’t intentionally follow his career, when he got :shot down” over Hanoi, and was “exhibited” as a POW (Prisoner of War from the U.S. Navy, and his history and loyalty to both the country , and more importantly, the principles and tenants of my country, it’s patriots, and for it’s people, “..up and to the final check” I became a “kindred spirit”.


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