ON THIS VETERENS DAY

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Here I am!  This Image was taken in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii sometime not too long after I reported aboard my Destroyer in November of 1965.  The Image does not show that I’m half scared to death.  I’m right out of High School, in a strange place, have no idea where I’m going, or what is in store for me.  I’m like most others that can’t see what is in my future.  I had to learn fast.  I had to grow up quickly.  I always wanted to be in the US Navy to see the world.  I did just that.  I sailed all over the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii, Japan, Phillipense, Okinowa, Vietnam, Pago Pago, New Zeland and Austraila.  I came home a different person.  There was one thing that I was never told about after I enlisted and that was there was a War going on that I knew nothing about.  I found out!

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Here is my Destroyer that I was aboard for 3 yrs.  It was my Home.  This Image was taken as we entered Sydney, Austrailia coming off the gun line in Vietnam for 4 day’s of R&R.  The Opera House in the background was just being completed then.

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This is a Image that I took while on the Port Side.  We just got done taking on amunition, stores, and fuel from the USS Pontchatula, a supply ship.  The Carrier is the USS Ranger, I think.  Don’t quite remember.

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Here we are at the Floating Gardens in Hong Kong.  I’m on the far right with my NEW camera that I bought here.  I just made E-3 and we were all out celebrating.  The Floating Gardens were a outstanding place to see and eat in.  I could not read any Chineese, so we ordered what looked good!  We were given so much food that it was not all eaten!

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The Ribbons that I earned for my Dress Uniform which still hang in the closet draped in plastic.  From left to right is the Good Conduct Ribbon, the Vietnam Service Ribbon, with one Bronze Star, and the Vietnam Defense Ribbon.

Now, I just want to say that I’m not “tooting my own horn” here.  Just wanted to show what was part of my Life.  Being in the Navy during those years opened my eyes to many things in the world.  I’ve seen things that most people will never see.  Some of it was not good, while others were interesting and eye opening.  Coming home on leave in 1967, I had bottles, coke cans and was spit at in Travis AFB in California.  Just because I was a Vietnam Vet.  We we not cared about back then, like now.  People just did not care about what our Marines and our Armed Forces went thru.  No parades, no Welcome Home, no nothing!  Most all of us never knew that was going to happen.

After getting out of the Navy, I used to have some bad dreams about seeing Dead bodies of Vietcong in the water.  Their “Junk” was fired on by my Destroyer for carrying arms back and forth to North Vietnam.  There was not much left.  I won’t go into detail.  It was not pretty to see.

In closing, I would like to take time to say “THANK YOU” to all our other Veterens that are out there.  Some of you endured more than what I had to.

From a Grateful US Navy Vet.

Thank You.

HARD OVER!

How many of you out there have seen the Movie Titanic?  I’m more than sure that most of you have at one time or another.  Now, I have seen the Movie about 3 times, and there was one thing on the Movie that bothered me for some time.

Remember in the Movie when the Ship was heading on a collision course with a Iceberg, and the OD (Officer of The Deck) gave a Order to the Helsmen “Hard Over?”  I did and this seem’d to bother me a bit.

Reason being is that while serving in the US Navy for 11 yrs. one of my duties aboard ship was be the Helsman (the person who steers the ship on the Bridge).  He has to steer a steady course according to the Bearing given.  If the OD calls for a course change he will say “Right Standard Rudder.  Come to course 152.”  You do what he ordered.  After steady on course, you respond “Steady Course 152, Sir”

Now, in the many times I was the Helmsman, I never ever heard a order given such as “Hard Over.”  Hard Over?  Hard Over to what?  Port or Starboard?  In the Movie, it shows the Helsmen turning the Wheel (Helm) to the left, which is to Port.  How did he know to turn in that direction?

Well, I did find out a answer.  In early day’s when steering a ship, “Hard Over” means turn to Port!  I never knew that!  Now, it is that this Order is not given all that much.  In fact, hardly ever.  This is why I never heard such a Order.  Now, I know.

Thank you.

THE OLD, THE NEW

Took my Pentax K10d out with me just cruising around the back Country Roads looking for some Fall Images that would be interesting to view for my followers.  There was not much right now to be found, I’m sorry to report.  The Fall Season is here, but there is not much in Fall Foliage right now.  It’s a bit spotty.  Some color here, and some there.  Has not gotten up to peak quite yet.

So after wasting some gas on the back country roads, I thought about taking a swing thru my old town of Fleetwood, PA to see if anything was new.  Not really anything.  This old town does not seem to change that much.  So, I ended up at the Fleetwood High School and the idea came to me to show what the “New” High School looks like, compared to what I had more than 50 yrs. ago.

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This is the New Fleetwood High School that was built a number of years ago.  It sure is big, compared to what I had.  I’m more than sure that it is all air-conditioned, and carpeted with all kinds of different colors inside.  Since I just can’t walk into a High School anymore because of Security, I can only imagine what’s there.  There is now a huge Soccer and Football field that is behind the school.  The Field is not grass anymore.  It’s that Astro Turf stuff.  The Track is the same way!  Expensive stuff.  The bleachers are not wood anymore.  They are now Aluminum, but just as hard to sit on.  There are also Tennis Courts in the back.  I sure hope that the younger generation appreciates just what they have compared to what I had.  I’m sure they don’t.  It’s just taken for granted.

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This is what my High School looks like today.  This is the school that I left in 1965 to join the US Navy.  Not much has changed over the years.  It is now used as an Administration Building.  Back in my day, there was no carpet on the floor and no air-conditioning.  Air-conditioning for us was open windows on a warm day.  Most of what you see here were classrooms with the Cafaterier down at the other end.  The street was lined with school buses at the end of the day.  Most walked home, cause of living near-by.  The Tennis Court that is just across the street is now a Parking Lot.  My Track & Field area is off to the right and out of the Image.  It was grass & stone.  You can barely still pick out the Track where I used to run during Gym class, but it’s there if you look close enough.  After taking this Image, with the Sun fading fast, my mind went back in time.  Many memories for me are here.  I can still picture the sidewalk loaded with us teen-agers all glad to be out of school for the day.  Yeah, well.  Time marches on.

Thank You.

AN OLD NAVY BUDDY

For a few weeks now, I have re-connected with an ole’ Navy buddy that I was over in Nam with and we were both aboard the same Destroyer in the Navy for just over 2 years.  I have been talking to him over the cell phone and texting back and forth.  He enformed me that he was going to be down at the Carlisle Fairgrounds for a very large car show where more than 8,000 vendors come in to display their products.  The show lasts until this Saturday.  So, since Carlisle is not that far away from me, I told him that I’d meet him there.  I have not seen John in more than 50 yrs.

So, with that in mind, yesterday morning I took a road trip down to Carlisle to see someone that I’ve not seen in so long.  Carlisle is about a 2 hr. drive from here.  I knew where is was, but not exactly.  Carlisle is located just below Harrisburg, PA.  I’ve passed by it a number of times but never knew there was a Fairgrounds there.  It’s a straight drive South on I-81. Get off the RT11 exit, travel about 3.5 miles and the Fairground is on your right.

Once there I had to locate a parking space!  This place is huge!  Bigger than what I thought.  I had thought in my mind’s eye that it would be just a few acres of tents and cars, but I was totally wrong!  There were tents and displays as far as you could see!  Lots and lot’s of products for your car.  Anything you could possibility want, you could find here.  Found a parking space that cost me $10.00 and then had to pay $10.00 to enter the Fairgrounds!  Did not expect that!

After entering the Show area, I called John to let him know I had arrived.  He told me how to get where he was.  After walking around, I finally met John after more than 50 yrs. have passed by.

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Here is John that I haven’t seen in so long!  He has changed quite a bit, but I could tell it was him.  We both have gotten older, but allot wiser.  We had a good greeting and then started talking about our Lives up to now and where time has gone so fast.  We remembered old times aboard ship and all the crazy things we used to do just for the fun of it all.  From throwing coke cans at the Chinese Boarder Guards and giving them the “bird” until the US Marines chased us out of the area, to the times in Sydney, Austrailia, and Auckland, New Zealand,  NGFS (Naval Gunfire Support), Japan, Okinawa, and Pearl Harbor.  We had a nice long chat.  It was good to see and talk again with a long time friend.  John lives in Niagra Falls, NY where he has been most of his life.  Divorced once, but now re-married.  Wife is in a Nursing Home.  He lives alone.  Worked for a Chemical Company for 34 yrs. before retiring.  He is about 11 min. away from the famous Niagara Falls.

Then came time for me to hit the road for the drive back home.  I enjoyed my trip to see him.  We will still chat back and forth.  Maybe next year, I’ll meet up with him again if we both survive!

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A 1932 Ford that I shot at the show.  Restored back to its original condition and a brand new paint job.  She was a real beauty to see.

Thank you.

HISTORIC HAMBURG, AGAIN!

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Hello again my bloggers out there.  I’m up here in Historic Hamburg again with my trusty Pentax camera, as always.  This time I wanted to stop by the Historical Society to see what was in here and also ask some questions on places that I remember that were here long ago, but are not any longer.  Since I’ve never been in this place I wanted to see what was inside and “snoop around” a bit.

The sign on the door stated that the Museum opens on Sunday’s at 1:00 p.m. and close’s at 4:00 p.m.  Ok, that’s fine with me.  I’m here a bit early, so I’ll just hang around and wait.  It was such a nice day, so I could walk around a bit.  Well, 1:00 came around and the place was still closed.  I thought I’d give it some time.  1:15 came around, but no one there.  Humm  .  .  .  what’s going on here?  1:30 came and still not open!  Not happy here.  There was no sign stating that it would be closed today.  I waited another 10 min. and still no one opened the door!  I left in disgust! Made a trip up here to see it for nothing!  I will try again.

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Well, all was not lost.  Walked around the side of the building and found this Roll Of Honor of people that served during WWII that are from Hamburg.  I had no idea this was here.  Lot’s of names here.  Started looking thru all the names listed and to my surprise 4 of my Family were on this list!  I was surprised!

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The names you see above are all part of my Family that is under-lined in white.  My Mother was Dorothy J. Johnson who served in the WAC during WWII.  Clyde H. Johnson, Joseph S. Johnson, and Robert L. Johnson all were Navy Chiefs.  However, they missed one and that is Richard H. Johnson, also a Navy Chief.  These people were my Mothers Brothers.  So, now you see what a Military background I have.  They are all gone now, but it was nice to see this and remember.

Thank you.

 

CHILDHOOD PLACES

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Hello there everyone!  Having a good time?  Hope you are all well.

Thought that I’d do some places that I remember so well during my Childhood day’s in Hamburg, PA.  The above Image is one of the Hamburg Park that I used to spend so very much time in.  It has changed somewhat over the passing years, and I think the change has made it a bit better.

Back when I was 8-10 yrs. young, my Mother had to work during the day, so she would drop me off here and was told to “Stay here until I come to get you”.  I did what I was told to do or suffer the wrath of my angry Mother.  The plastic play set you see in the foreground was not there at the time.  It was just a big empty grass space.  The was no covered open Patio on the extreme left.  However, the larger building to the right of it was there as long as I can remember.  This place had crafts to make for us kids most every day.  There was always something there to do.

Off to the right corner of my Image used to be a large sandbox that had a roof over it.  There also was a very tall sliding board that we had to climb up a long ladder to get up to the top.  It was so much fun to slide down that thing.  We would “wax” the sliding surface with wax paper to make us slide faster!  It’s now gone, but for what reason I don’t know.  Maybe because too many got hurt because it was a big one!  The sandbox is long gone and I think it was because all the “critters” would poop or pee in the sand.  Didn’t bother me!  I didn’t care.

The Swimming Pool has changed a bit also.  There are no longer a “High Dive or Low Dive” that we could run down and dive into the water on the deep end of the pool.  I think that this was taken away because of Insurance reasons.  I used to spend many, many sunny warm days here.  So much that I would get a Sun burn most every Summer.  At the very top corner of the Image used to be a small “Children’s Pool” that I learned to swim in.  It, too, is long gone.

I more than realize that the Image above does not mean that much to you, but to me, my “minds eye” can still picture what was once there and all the great times I had.

MY PAST

Hello to all my Followers.  Remember in my last Post that I stated I would be making Posts about my Personnel side and my Life thru 70 yrs.?  Well, I’m gonna start here with this Post.  We will go way back in time to 1964.

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Ok.  Here we go.  The year is 1964.  That’s me with my Date for a High School Dance that I had asked her to go to with me.  She accepted.  Back in those day’s the telephone was the only way that you could call and ask a girl to go out with you.  No Cell phones or texting existed.  Her name is Carol.  We are both around the same age.  She is one year younger than me.  We both were Sophmores HS.   I had met her while on my Paper Route.  Her Parents were one of my customers for the Reading Times.  I used to have to go to her house and collect money for the paper every week.  Before I went to pick her up my Mother made sure that I was dressed properly, down to the Flower on my dress jacket.  Carol was wearing a Red Symbitium on her left wrist. (Not shown).  Her Father is the one who shot this Image of us together.

Me & Carol dated about 3 times, going to movies, dances, and 1 Hayride while both of us were going to Fleetwood High School.  Then after High School we both sorta drifted apart.  She went on to Collage, while I joined the US Navy to see the world.  I lost track of where she was or what she was doing over the passing years.  Coming Home from Vietnam I went to find out where she was, but I didn’t find out till later on in 1970 that she had married in 1969, and took on another last name.  That ended my quest to get in touch with her.  I was quite saddened.

For some reason that I can’t fully explain, this girl made a big impression on me.  I really did like her.  I never did go after her, which maybe I should have done.  I think that this girl was the one “that got away.”  To this day, I still think of her.  I talk with her once in awhile on the phone to see how she’s doing, but not allot.  Her memory still is in my Mind.  Places we went, things we did, and how our Lives had gone seperate way’s.  I wonder what would have happened if we married?  Would it have lasted?  I don’t know.  I do have a picture of what she is today and she looks pretty much as she does then, just older.  She has 2 kids now, and has been married to the same fella for all these years.

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Here is Carol, as of last year.  She has a 1 or 2 Degrees in Music.  Was a Music teacher at Owen J. Roberts High School.  She always did love music.  She always will.  I still do have feelings for her!  She never will leave my memory.

I can look at that Image and remember how scared I was.  I was fearful of her Father and what he might say.  He was a rather “gruff” sorta man.  I was told my Mom to “mind your manners” like she had taught me so well.  I did what I was told.  Maybe that’s why I’m still good friends with her to this day.