What are you doing now: What a long strange trip it's been.
First & foremost I am a Snipe. Though my discharge says SA, I have diesel in my veins & grease under my fingernails.
My first navy experience was as part of the crew of the YSD-72. It was a vintage WWII Seaplane Salvage Barge that left the pier on operations in the Chesapeake Bay.
It was a first, putting a woman aboard anything that actually got underway. There was no "Woman's Head" & no separate berthing. I slept where the guys slept, in a hammock no less.
My first day, they threw me down into the hole expecting me to cry & want to go home. What they didn't count on was the fact that I grew up with three brothers. Getting dirty was nothing new to me.
I also have a stubborn streak, the more you tell me I can't, the harder I will fight to show you I can.
When I got out in '79 I was 5 months pregnant with my daughter. For a while we lived like vagabonds moving wherever his work as a cable installer took him, going from Jacksonville, FL to Jackson, MS, to Dayton, OH to Sioux City, IA to Stockton, CA, all in a little under two years. I convinced him that we didn't move that much when we were in the navy so he re-enlisted.
We spent seven years in Pearl Harbor & nine years on Subase Bangor. We bought a house & settled into the area.
Three years after he retired, we divorced & I ended up down in Florida near my parents.
TWS has changed my life... no really!!! When I joined I started searching for old shipmates. That is where I got in contact with Bill Short. He was also part of the crew on the YSD. We started catching up on where life had taken both of us in the last 30 odd years, never expecting it to lead to a wonderful life I now have with a husband that spoils me rotten, friends I don't get to see often enough and a job I love. It's nice having someone in your life who "knew you when." Life is good. And I have definitely come home.
Since 2010 I have been blessed to be a part of a very small dedicated team of people working for TWS. We work long hours but we do it for the love of the site and the people in it. Where else can you get to talk to so many true heroes?
Other Comments: My USS Laffey Rememberance Profiles
When I was stationed at NSWC in Solomons, MD, the USS Laffey was used as part of the EMPRESS experiments. She was moored in our little harbor with all sorts of sensors attached to her. Usually in the middle of the night an alarm would go off & we would have to go aboard to reset the alarm & make sure nothing was amiss. From the first moment I set foot on her I could feel something powerful. Especially when walking past the Ward Room & the aft turret. And at the time I didn't know her history. I had even had dreams of her getting underway by herself. The ship haunted me. Then I read a book called "The Ship That Wouldn't Die". After reading it, I knew that what I felt was real.
So this is my way of putting names & sometimes faces to my ghosts.
It also honors each of them for their sacrafice.
Please visit one.
Thanks to Rich Hopka, Felix Cervantes & Gary Schreffler for their help & encouragement.