March 22, 2017
My home for three and a half years, the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61). I believe this photograph was shot in Pusan harbor, South Korea during our WestPac of 1979. The first time you hear a twenty ton aircraft land just a few feet above your head, your first thought is oh my gawd, how will I ever be able to sleep through this?
When I first reported for duty aboard the carrier, our berthing compartment was under the third or fourth arresting cable, meaning we heard every plane land. Nothing could be worse, right? Wrong. While in drydock for a year in Bremerton, Washington, OA Division (weather guessers) lost our private berthing compartment, as we were moved up to the bow of the ship, to a much larger compartment. Up front, you heard the catapults building up steam to launch each plane, which left the ship with a very loud thud.
I hated my time in the Navy, especially that year spent in drydock, however looking back now, it was probably the most exciting time of my life. Not to mention the great friendships I developed with my Navy brothers. It also gave me the opportunity to buy my first real camera, a 35mm, fully manual Canon AT-1, various lenses and filters plus a rather huge stereo while overseas.
The Navy was also indirectly responsible for my marriage as well, because after serving I had a year’s worth of free dental and met my future wife who was working at a local dentist office as a chair-side assistant. Though the marriage ended on a very sour note and in divorce, my ex-wife did give me two precious, beautiful babies.
My Naval experience also enabled me to get a free college degree from The Ohio State University via the G.I. Bill. I can honestly say that my four years of service in the mid to late ‘70s changed my life for the better.
Steven H. Spring