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Hello Shipmates.  I attended AFUNP school and aviation electronics A school after San Diego boot camp the summer of 1970.  I recall the thousands of sailors and marines there and settling into a routine of duty and school.  It was odd as I didn't ask for this schooling, but somehow ended up in aviation and electronics.  I soon found my niche, and I guess the Navy somehow knew my destiny.  I enjoyed the challenge and the less restrictive life at NATTC.  I still recall that getting off base required a blood chit or some company commander willing to provide a liberty pass.  I received my rating as an AX, and didn't have clue what it was.  I graduated A school as an AXAN and received my orders to VP30 training squadron and then VP24 my permanent sea duty station in PAX river MD.  After several C schools, I was promptly sent to mess cooking while on deployment to Keflivik Iceland.  After 5 months deployment we changed home ports to JAX FL.  I made PO3 and finally got out of the Leading chief's duty and started the work I was trained for.  After three more deployments to Kef, making PO1 in my first four years and then shipping over for 5 more years, I was ready for shore duty.  There were billets open at NATTC Jax so I asked the detailer to line me up for instructor duty at Jax (sure was dream sheet request!)  intending to stay at JAX and teaching the maintenance and equipment troubleshooting that I had gained 5 years of experience and knowledge.  Well, I got instructor NATTC Memphis A school where it all started 5 years previous.  It was a good tour, but odd training methods of computerized self pace study, unlike the instructor training I received.  The ironic thing was that when I returned to NATTC, there were Marine and Navy instructors that I had as instructors in A school. Some were my teaching partners or members of my same learning group.  I spent 4 years there and went to school, shopped my resume and got a job with GTE in hometown PA, developing integrated circuit test specifications for the Trident Sub program.  15 years there and then to Lockheed Martin Orlando working as a staff product quality assurance engineer in supplier quality for 8 years.  The Navy did good for me.  I am now retired.  My wife and I took a road trip back to Millington just out of curiosity to see the base.  I tried to get a visitor pass on base, but the civilian guard at the gate said that was not possible.  The North side was not gated and we traveled a few roads there.  It has all changed, and from the Navy road view, most all of the barracks that I stayed in and also stood MAA duty are all gone.  It would have been great to get on base. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Richard do you by chance remember a Marine Staff Sgt Sadler who was on instructor duty at NATTC around the time you were there?  I went through AT  A School there in late 1974 and was there till the summer of 75 when I shipped out on CV-43 Westpac cruise.  SSgt Sadler was a great character I really remember him fondly he must have made a big impression on the 18 year old just discovering how cheap booze was at the EM Club kid  I was.  He had been awarded the Navy Cross in Vietnam. I really enjoyed  reading your post thanks for sharing.

Andy Earnest

Hi Andy,

Thanks.  Writing it brought back some fond memories, both as a 18 year old student and a more seasoned Navy instructor.  The name sounds very familiar.

I was an instructor at the A school from 1976 to 1979.  I worked with several Marine instructors, since I often changed shifts and lab's to learning centers.  So I had the opportunity to meet many good Navy and Marine teaching partners.  Of course, I did meet a few real a-hole instructors that shouldn't have been there in that role.  My learning group A supervisor was Gunny Sgt. Bearup.  He was a Marine's Marine.  I also met hundreds of students and again, both good and bad.  

Thanks for responding.

Richard, AX1


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