I had to go back to sea after ADCOP. We all knew that when we graduated we’d all be “Haze Grey and Underway.” And that’s exactly what I got; a destroyer out of Pearl Harbor. Little did I know it would spend most of its time in the Western Pacific on Deployment. Here I would find all the adventure I’d ever want. The ship was at sea when we arrived in Hawaii so the Navy put us up at the Holiday Inn. We lived in that Motel/Hotel for nearly 2 months. It might sound like a vacation, but it truly wasn’t. We had two young boys and just one room. It was not a lot of fun. But we took advantage of the swimming pool and the bar and the restaurant. For most of that time we didn’t have a car, so we had little choice but to stay there. Both kathy and I got really dark from laying in the sun a lot. I only went to work on the Naval base a couple days a week and really I was just an extra burden to have around for them. They would give me little or nothing tasks to do just to get rid of me and finally just told me to call in and don’t bother coming in every day. That gave us over a months off. It took most of that time for our Nova to arrive on the boat from the Mainland. The ship got back and I checked on board and the Navy finally found us a housing unit in Pearl City. It was Enlisted housing, but I really think it was pretty good. It was a three bedroom and two bath quadraplex and we had the one on the far right. So we only shared a wall with one other couple. You’ll see more of that when I talk about my family life. The Ship stayed in and around Pearl Harbor the rest of the summer and fall. We deployed for the western pacific in October 1974. Things were still a little hot around Vietnam and we spent some time off the coast and escorting refugees trying to find a home. We rescued some boat people. I wish I had taken more pictures. Our first deployment took us quite a ways and it was a real adventure.  We stopped at a lot of places and I have some currency from most of these places, but I hate to fill up my journal here with pictures of foreign money.  We had a lot of interesting port stops and were gone about two months longer than we were supposed to be. They found something wrong with the hull. The story is that the Cathodic protection device that sense an electrical current throughout the hull of the ship that keeps it from corroding was never checked and it never worked throughout the whole deployment. We it came time to come home, someone reported that we were taking on water in Electrical Central and when it was checked out, they found the hull was so thin at places you could poke your finger through it. So we spent Most of April and half of May in dry dock in the Philippines getting it fixed. But we still go off the coast of South Vietnam and even crossed the equator. It’s interesting that we did that on my 28th Birthday; January 15, 1975. I hadn’t noticed that before. It was quite an initiation for those of us who had never crossed before. They called us polywogs and made us go through some pretty gross experiences! Ugh! I hated it. One interesting thing about this cruise also was the fact that we went into the Indian Ocean and had a port stop at Mombassa, Kenya. If you will remember my Mediterranean Sea Deployment on the USS WALLER in 1966 and 1967, you will remember that we went to Massaua, Ethieopia. So on the RATHBURNE going west instead of east I made it to a very similar spot. It marks a complete “AROUND-THE-WORLD’ trip for me.  How cool is that.

I was selected for advancement to Chief Petty Officer with my date of Rank to begin October 1, 1974. However, my official advancement date wasn’t until May 16, 1975. I guess it’s not a big deal. It was a big deal to be promoted to Chief and there was another initiation to go through. I did that with about 25 other Chief selectees when we got back to Pearl Harbor. It was nice to get it over with and to get the Khakis. We stayed in and around Pearl Harbor until October 1976 when we deployed to the western Pacific once again. It was during this deployment that I had Kathy Jo sent back to the mainland where she stayed with Mom and Dad in Omaha until the ship returned. I had less than a year to go and most of it was going to be spent away from Kathy and the boys anyway so we thought it best for her to go ahead and return now and spend that 8 months or so with family while I was overseas. This WestPac cruise wasn’t as long or as thorough as the last one. I expect the primary reason is that Vietnam was really history by this time. In 1974 there was still a lot of activity taking place there as we helped with refugee problems. That was all but over by 1976. Our ports of call during the second deployment were all rather normal and there was nothing exotic. We didn’t cross the equator and didn’t get to Africa. We spent most of our time in the Philippines and operating with other ships. We had one port stop in Fukuoka, Japan that was unusual. There hadn’t been a Navy ship there for a decade or so. We received a nice welcome and had a good time. They opened to ship to visitors and 8500 people went through the ship. It was during this deployment that I grew a goatee. I tried to grow a full beard but that wasn’t going to happen, so I settled for what I could grow and it came out like this. Most of the pictures of myself in this time had me with a goatee. It’s not unusual for men on Navy Deployment to grow beards. I have lots of pictures from the two deployments to the western pacific but when I look at them I’m not at all sure where they were taken. The goatee often helps me recognize which cruise the picture was taken on. With the goatee, I know it must have been the 2nd one.

During the first two years in Hawaii, in Port, and during the first WEstPac Deployment, Kathy got involved with the wive’s group on the Base and ended up being the Kaleidoscope editor. That was a newspaper or newsletter for the wives of the Navy population. There was so much politics going on with the group that she got incredibly frustrated with it all but she did well through it all. She is in the group shot of those involved and was even given a gift with a plaque for her work.

I worked hard on the RATHBURNE and earned some pretty good performance appraisals, but I wasn’t a very nice guy and didn’t have many friends. I was too “me” for anyone. I was not a very nice guy and think a lot about those days and how rude I was to my seniors. I’m surprised they gave me good performance evaluations. If it was me, I probably wouldn’t have been so generous.  The last XO was a very nice man and I did not act nice to him. I made his job as hard as I could sometimes.  I feel I need to give him an apology, but that probably won’t happen in this life. There are lots of people during those days that I should apologize to. I was glad to see the three years pass on this sea tour and really looked forward to shore duty again. When it came time to God I requested something around Omaha, NE for my shore tour, but as you know, I got Detroit, Michigan. During the deployments when Kathy was either in our home port of Pearl harbor or in Omaha, I carried this picture with me and had it taped to my desk in the Personnel Office. It was my favorite picture of her and the boys. It was taken on Halloween of 1974 right after the ship deployed the first time and I was in Guam when I received the first mail call with that picture in it. It became my all time favorite picture of Kathy for the following years at sea. It was a hard tour of duty and I spent about 18 months of my three years away from my family in the Western Pacific. I was glad to get my shore duty orders and was looking forward to a better life in Detroit.