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Other Souls
Shipmates Naval Facility, Ramey AFB

Decommissioned 1972

I had the pleasure of serving with these folks, among others:
CDR Bob Nelson
CDR C.G. Gilchrist
LCDR Hitch
LT J. Stroh
EM3 Ron Brown
EM3 Howard Cade
EM3 Leon Czech
EM3 Fred Walton
ET2 D. Green
RM1 D. Rhoads
RM2 C. Applewhite
RM2 Gene Lacy
RM2 Ted Mans
RM2 W. Padfield
RM2 R. Richardson
RM3 John Chenier
RM3 Bruce Gilbert
RMSN S. Stuart
OT2 D. Vorhies
OT3 D. Ackerson
OTSN Bob Stanton
AM Terry Graham

US Navy Radio: Ramey AFB Puerto Rico

Updated 25 July 2004

Carlos the Seahorse patch from NAVFAC RameyThe flight from Dayton, Ohio to New York City takes about an hour. From New York to Puerto Rico is another four. And once you get to San Juan, unless you know the terrain or are bilingual, you're on your own.
    I managed to find a flight that went to Mayagüez, which I had been told, was near to Ramey Air Force Base . . . if near is another two hours on the road. By the time I got to the Navy barracks on the base, it was nearly 2 a.m. By the time I got my gear stowed & found a bed, it was nearly reveille. And despite all best intentions, I had showed up at least four hours UA. My orders told me to arrive at or before midnight, local time. My plane ticket from New York got me to San Juan barely an hour before that.
    Lucky for me, I had kept all my paperwork. But that moment, that lack of sleep & that bureaucratic screw up were a neat start.
    One of the first things I learned was that almost everything I'd been taught about naval communications back in Norfolk Me, Rich Richardson & Bruce Gilbert, watch section IIwas wrong & out of date. This and my neurosis about being somewhere doing something that I had once considered unthinkable (given the philosophy of the hippies I knew) & I was flat screwed.
    It took me at least four months to get the hang of just breathing salt air. During that time I also learned about all the crypto stuff they'd mentioned but had not gotten into specifics about in "A" school. I learned how to type again. I learned about teletype paper, chadless tape, receivers, transmitters and patch work. And I got reasonably good at handling traffic.
    But it took me four months.
    After that, things improved immensely. I took and passed the tests for AN/URC32a transceiver: 500W of SSB/CW power & joyRM3, got qualified on a bunch of equipment and survived my first "Operational Readiness Inspection." The dreaded "ORI." As time went on & I got used to the uniform and the responsibilities that came with it, I got better at my assigned job. I got a lot of help from the people with whom I worked, not the least of which was my supervisor, Rich Richardson.
   Rich was a good teacher. He had as good a sense of humor as he was sure about what he was doing. I often wonder what happened to him.
    Somewhere along the line between just doing my job & discovering that I enjoyed it, NAVFAC Ramey, ca 1970I got interested in shortwave radio and eventually ham radio. CDR Bob Nelson, the CO, let me put my antenna on the roof of the barracks 760. The command MAA, BM1 Bob Franson, gave me access to the roof. Ron Brown, EM3 and Howard "Cass" Cade, EM3 helped me put the poles & wires on the roof. And everyone else tolerated my wrecking havoc on their carefully tended high-fi sets.
    So in the end, my re-entry into radio madness ain't my fault completely, you understand. The ubiquitous "they" made me do it! Even aboard ship. . . which leads to the next page.

Copyright 2004 Nils R. Bull Young