Saturday, November 5, 2011
These three sailors from Pagosa Springs are proud to be called "Veterans". All three eagerly volunteered upon completion of their high school education. Although there are no glorious heroic war stories to be told, each would have gladly laid down their life to protect this country.
Their stories all started in 1953 with Ron and friends enlisting in the Navy. Ron was a natural leader and selected as Honor Man of his training company in San Diego Calif. After completion of his training he attended electrician school and served aboard two wooden hull minesweepers, a tug boat in Guam, and an aircraft carrier "The USS Ranger". After twelve years Ron was forced into early retirement after losing a leg in an accident. Today He is still very much a Navy man as he attends to functions in the Local American Legion Post.
Jerry followed in the footsteps of his older sibling two years later and after completing basic training in Great Lakes, he attended machinist mate school and served the remainder of his enlistment aboard and oil tanker. The USS Caliente participated in "Operation Redwing" in evaluation of Atomic Weapons in the Pacific. Jerry passed away in 2008 after a long battle with COPD.
Billy left high school a year short of completion and followed his older siblings along with an old family friend Richard Walter. Upon completion of basic training in Great Lakes he was assigned duty aboard the USS Reaper where his brother Ron was already stationed. A rare thing for two siblings to be aboard the same ship, this lasted until a crisis in Lebanon forced a separation. Billy attended culinary school in San Diego and became the ships cook, a real delight to the older brother who always had a hefty appetite.
As November 11th rolls around each year the old sailors left will proudly display old glory and stand at attention to salute her, then bow our heads and thank God for the young men and women who have taken our place to defend freedom.