What are you doing now: RETIRED FROM USCBP on 29 April, 2017, after 20 Years and 2 Days with US CUSTOMS/ USCBP. I DONT MISS IT! With my time at the VA, and the ative Navy years I bought back I retired with 36 years of credited Civil service.
I am now now a certified Baseball and Softball Umpire, graduating on 4-18-2017. I'm a Member of the Western New York Umpires Association.
Still married since 1976 to wife number one, and we're living in the Buffalo suburb of Kenmore, New York. We have three grown children, and three grandkids.
I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Buffalo from 93-97. I was hired by the US Customs Service, at the Port of Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York as an Inspector in 1997. The agency merged into the new Department Of Homeland Security, as the Bureau of Customs & Border Protection (C&BP) in 2004. My last assignment was at our Buffalo International Airport office, located at the Prior Aviation Services (FBO) facility. In September of 2011 I completed a two week course at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia for "Honor Guard" Training. I was proud to be part of the local CBP Honor Guard Team, available for funerals, parades and Color Guard presentaions. I always looked forward to those proud assignments.
I'm the current President of the Buffalo Postcard Club. My collection of US Navy ship,military aircraft and baseball park postcards is huge. Im also an avid baseball fan, following the Cleveland Indians and my hometown Buffalo Bisons.
I am a longtime Outdoor Sportsman, enjoying hunting and fishing. I am an active member of the 3F Club ( Fin, Feather, Fur Conservastion Society) in Lewiston, New York. The group is dedicated to all phases of outdoor preservation, conservation and safe & ethical hunting and fishing activity.
I've been an avid Photographer since I was a kid, with a special interest in taking photos of historic sights and natural scenic beauty, airshows, baseball games and wildlife. Rarely do my photos include people, unless they are part of the "action" in a particular event or scene.
Other Comments: I was an ice hockey official for the local USA Hockey chapter from 1984 to 1998. I really enjoyed reffing, and it helped me stay in great shape for many years. The socializing with fellow officials after games, Refs Softball team, and group events were also fun. The new job with US Customs, and some long term nagging injuries finally forced me to give up reffing. Sometimes I really miss it.
And in October of 2007 I finally followed up on my one of my lifelong ambitions by earning my NAUI certification as a SCUBA diver. It's something I've always wanted to do, and should have done many years ago. Now I'm trying to make up for lost time with as many dives as I can get in. Hoping to add another "skydive" or two to my list of accomplisments as well. Don't ever give up on your dreams, and dont stop having fun!
I lost a pal in my Dad on 4-27-2012 at 0800. Cpl Frank Mottern USAAF (1943-1946) peacefully feathered his engines and "went west' He is loved and missed. He was given an nice sendoff with the Honor Guard from Niagara Falls Air Force Base, rendering "Military Honors'.
I have built an AF-TWS profile for him and became a "Family Member" at that side as well. Please look in on my Dads profile, if you are able as a "guest". its a work in progress as I try to dig up long buried info on Dads USAAF service.
I have recently assumed the "Administrator" role for the USS COD Unit Page here at NTWS. I have a long associoation history of visiting this decorated sub at Cleveland, Ohio. I hope to be able to update an decorate the page with photos. Please visit the CODS page as well as the other profiles Ive built for some special buddies and some Major League Baseball players.
Best Friends From VP-8: Named after Mao Tse Tungs' widow and her accused criminal pals, on my crew we were known as "The Gang Of Four", Ken Ford, Dave Mackey, and Greg Liefester. Was also friends with the Smalt Brothers, Mike Ellet and Steve Hardick who was from my home town.
From the base: YNC(SS) Mike Wunder and His wife Margaret. These were class folks who helped my family in a time of emergency. They are still some of my dearest friends to this day!
Best Moment Getting home from the 80/81 Winter deployment from NAS Rota Spain-NAF Lajes Azores PT.
Worst Moment Emergency leave from Rota when my son was ill. I cancelled my voluntary extention in the squadron at that point.
Being forced by the AW Detailer to go to recruiting duty. I loved Brunswick and wanted to stay there on shore duty. The detailer would have none of that!
Chain of Command First CO was Cdr Tom Hall later RADM CNAVRES. ( When i first checked into the squadron i was sent with my crew to a WST session. I overheard CDR Hall asking unit PAO Lt Don Kerrigan "Hows's the new unit patch coming Don?". i piped up that 'I like the old one better". Kerrigan kicked me in the leg. turns out the new unit patch was CDR Halls idea. Despite this faux paux, I still got along with CDR Hall just fine during my time on his crew.)
I was assigned XO/CO Cdr Thompsons Crew (CAC- 2 later CAC-1).
Other Memories Some good work hunting RUSSCOMM subs in the Med with CAC-1. Enjoyed flying from NAF Lajes. The best times there were relaxing at the Portuguese Sargeants Club, eating the house special roast beef sandwiches and drinking cold Hienekens.
Really enjoyed side trips with CAC-1 to Naples, Souda Bay Crete, NAS Keflavik Iceland, and NAS Sigonella Sicily. We were able to stay in some better hotels, and enjoy a break from the barracks at Rota.
On one flight to get a laugh, my crew Ordie Greg Liefester, stripped completely buck naked, then put on his his flightboots and LPA. He then methodically walked the length of the plane asking everyone, "Hay! how ya doing? Whats going on?" Priceless!
I try not to think about VP-8 very often. I dont have alot of good memories from that period and my personal contacts with anyone from that time frame are very limited. Nuff said.