The Navy Years

The Navy Years

By John R. Vollaro   January 2005

In January 1962 I was 20 years old and recently graduated from junior college. I had a number of options for employment at this point but I decided to take care of my military obligation first. The reasoning behind this decision is discussed in more detail later but at that time every male had a six year military obligation to fulfill. I thought it would be disruptive to be drafted in later years and decided to take care of this obligation to avoid interrupting any future career or family plans. I favored the Navy without any conscious reason and made plans to enlist for four years of active duty in February of 1962.

The Navy years were filled with many significant events for me. My father died only a week after my enlistment. I met my wife to be 4 months later and before being discharged we were married and had two children. I was in two collisions at sea, and my ship recovered two space capsules among many other adventures at sea. The Cuban missile crisis occurred and the beginning of the Vietnam war caused a 4 month extension to my enlistment. I think it is because of the significance of these years to me that the Navy theme song still causes a wave of emotion and when the flag marches by, I often see it through watery eyes.

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