Webmaster: Erasmo "Doc" Riojas email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send me your SEAL/BSU photos
1935 - 2017
We served Layton as instructors at USNaval Station Key West FL., Underwater Swimmers School (UWSS) along with West Coast Frogmen; Al Hale, Sam Huston, Sol Atkinson, and Steve Nash plus other East Coast Frogmen.
Layton Beall Bassett age 81
went home to be with the Lord at 4:15 am April 20 2017 at Hospice of Marion
County Florida. As a true Navy SEAL, Layton fought to stay alive to the last
minute. Born November 6, 1935 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. He resided in The
Villages Florida, for the past 16 years.
Layton retired as Master Chief Electricians Mate (SEAL) from the U.S Navy after serving a distinguished 30 year career, 26 years as a Navy SEAL. Layton joined the Navy, attended RTC/EM "A" school, at NTC San Diego in1953, served on USS Wiltsie (DD-716) 1953-55, USS Courier (DD-700) 1955-57, Graduated from UDTRA Class 18W 1957. Served in UDT-12, 1957-63 UWSS Key West, 1963-66, SEAL Team ONE (ST-1), 1966-68, MOSTU Danang, VN 1967-68, UWSS 1968-70, ST-1 1970-77 (CMC) during this time frame. NCSC Panama City FL. 1977-79 (CMC) , NSWG-2 DET Caribbean PR, (CMC) 1979-1980. Finishing his career at Naval Coastal System Command in Panama City, FL from 1980-82.
Top Row: Lt-Rt: Lt. Pierson, Bobby J. Atkingon, Robert Carruthers, Frank R. Wahon, Robert P. Hayes, Lt. Kinney ; Middle Row: Frank Perry , Joe Thrift, McCluski, Mel Weiner, Beave, Lloyd Cobb, FRONT ROW: Layton Bassett, Kenneth Holland, Delmar Fredrickson, Martin Mades, Paul McNally, Deaver Cunningham Photo provided by : Todd Ricahrdson
From :Nick Nickelson
To: Doc Rio
subj: SEAL/SPECOPS INK
A big thanks to all who assisted in this effort!
From: Green, Richard F CIV USSOCOM HQ Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 4:04 PM To: maynardweyers verizon.net; Cabel, Daniel J CIV NSWC Crane, QXP <daniel.j.cabel navy.mil> Cc: 'Runt324 aol.com' <Runt324 aol.com>
Subject: list of NSW casualties
from Caribbean, Central and South America ; May
each SEAL Rest in Peace
Maynard, Dan, if you think appropriate could you send this email out to the community. This is the results of an effort started two years ago to find all NSW casualties who died in the SOUTHCOM AOR. Since you both were kind enough to forward the original request for info and probably a hundred or more emails from the NSW community came in to help on this, I hoped we could send out the end result in case it proved helpful to others.
We are grateful to the Museum for providing us with the original info they had. It was the most accurate data available but did have a few gaps. We used everyone's help along with a resourceful Special Forces at SOCSOUTH to fill the holes. Some of the most notable accomplishments of this effort was finally locating CM2 Fleming's date of death in 1965, which was obtained from newspaper records. Also this effort resolved some confusion between LTJG Gibson (killed by the shark in St. Thomas) and ENS Chester (killed in a demo accident at LCRK). On that second point, I thank all the team guys who were there for those two events and not only clarified which one died where, but also provided details on those events are accurately captured for frogman history. Also, I'd like to thank Group 4 and the Boat Unit folks who provided info on their casualties.
This list has UDT/SEALs and Special Boat Unit folks, includes both on duty and off duty casualties, and also includes one boat unit support person, ET3 Davis who died during a training event in Panama. Also the location listed is where we understand the man actually passed away. For example, while SN Fauls collapsed during a run on Vieques Island, he was in a hospital in Puerto Rico when he died. Lastly all information came from open sources and we used the terminology in the Museum records for which unit the man was assigned to at the time of death unless we had a correction.
Rank, Name, Service, Unit, Date of Death, Location, Cause.
ATN2 JOHN CUNNINGHAM, USN, UDT 21, 22-Mar-60, ST. THOMAS, Drowned during dive.
GMG1 THOMAS MCALLISTER, USN, UDT 21, 22-Mar-60, ST. THOMAS, Drowned during dive.
LTJG JOHN GIBSON, USN, UDT 22, 20-Apr-63, ST. THOMAS, Shark attack during off duty swim.
SN RAYMOND FAULS JR., USN, UDT 22, 17-Sep-63, PUERTO RICO, Collapsed after run.
CM2 ROBERT FLEMING, USN, UDT 22, 13-Apr-65, ST. THOMAS, MK6 dive. GMG2 JOSEPH MCCARTHY, USN, SEAL TEAM TWO, 9-Feb-81, PUERTO RICO, Fell off truck.
LCDR ALBERT SCHAUFELBERGER, USN, USMILGRP, 25-Mar-83, EL SALVADOR, Assassinated.
STG2 DANIEL LANGELIER, USN, SDV TEAM TWO, 13-Oct-83, PUERTO RICO, MK15 dive.
MM1 KENNETH BUTCHER, USN, SEAL TEAM SIX, 24-Oct-83, GRENADA, Combat.
QM1 KEVIN LUNDBERG, USN, SEAL TEAM SIX, 24-Oct-83, GRENADA, Combat
. HT1 STEPHEN MORRIS, USN, SEAL TEAM SIX, 24-Oct-83, GRENADA, Combat.
ENCS ROBERT SCHAMBERGER, USN, SEAL TEAM SIX, 24-Oct-83, GRENADA, Combat
. QM3 ARTHUR FUSCO, USN, SEAL TEAM FOUR, 12-Dec-84, HONDURAS, Demo accident.
EN2 MICHAEL UYEDA, USN, SBU 24, 12-Dec-84, HONDURAS, Demo accident.
LTJG JOHN CONNORS, USN, SEAL TEAM FOUR, 20-Dec-89, PANAMA, Combat
. ENC DONALD MCFAUL, USN, SEAL TEAM FOUR, 20-Dec-89, PANAMA, Combat.
TM2 ISAAC RODRIGUEZ III, USN, SEAL TEAM FOUR, 20-Dec-89, PANAMA, Combat.
BM1 CHRIS TILGHMAN, USN, SEAL TEAM FOUR, 20-Dec-89, PANAMA, Combat.
ET1 DANIEL PARRAMORE, USN, SBU 26, 25-Feb-90, PANAMA, Fell from cliff.
ET3 LEROY DAVIS, USN, SBU 26, 27-Mar-93, PANAMA, Drowned during helo cast training
. BM2 JASON PRUITT, USN, SEAL TEAM FOUR, 15-Apr-96, VENEZUELA, Drowned during river crossing.
TM1 JOHN YOUNGERMAN, USN, SEAL TEAM FOUR, 27-Apr-96, PANAMA, Fell from building off duty.
HM1 BRAD TUCKER, USN, SEAL TEAM FOUR, 9-Mar-00, BAHAMAS, Helo cast during exercise.
CDR PETER OSWALD, USN, NSWU-4, 27-Aug-02, EL SALVADOR, FAST Rope accident.
Anyway, I wanted to thank everyone again for all the help on this.
Richard Green Historian USSOCOM History and Research Office
7701 Tampa Point Boulevard MacDill AFB, FL 33621-5323
(813) 826-2284 / DSN 299-2284 Scampi 299-6180 richard.green1 [at] socom.mil
Master Chief Madison, Thank you for this
email asking about "Jocko" ST-2's pet monkey.
How can anyone that was
at the team ever forget Jocko and his keeper, Frank Scollise RIP.
< jockoST2.jpg> Jocko Drinking a P.B.R. beer ? Please note the guys that i included on this email and perhaps save them for future reference. Those are the only emails that i have of the old ST-2 team members that were at the team when Jocko was alive. Jim Finley is probably right about McClure taking him home and his and the other guys that lived there house burned down. I remember a story that those men that lived there assumed that Jocko was the one that caused the fire with a cigarrette lighter that he may have found laying around.
The think is that Jocko, when ANYONE ( and a lot of the guys took him home) took him home for the weekends. Frank Moncrief I remember took him home one time.
I talked to Frank and "Eagle" Gallagher trying to find out WHO brought him back from 'nam. FOR SURE, it was not Frank Scollise, he was the designated care giver at the team and so we all called Jocko Frank's monkey.
Here is what is true and fact. "Eagle" and I and the origional 7th plt. deployed to 'nam in 1967. Jocko was already dead. SO, I asked Frank Moncrief if he remembered who brought Jocko back to the team from 'nam and he does not remember but stated that Lenny Waugh may remember who brought him back to CONUS.
Jocko was not burned up. He died of Smoke inhalation. He was intact. Frank remembers when the guys brought him to the team they sat him in front of the team bldg and put a cigarrette in his mouth and a white hat (like Freddy the Frog) and also a sign : "This is what happens when you smoke in bed."
Then the guys moved jocko out to the sand dunes and mangroves on the way to were we ran to the beach every morning. They sat Jocko there, this i witnessed, with the white hat and a CIGAR and the same sign.
Capt. Bill Earley saw Jocko and stopped the beach run and asked RUdy to find out who put Jocko there and bring him/them to his office. Nobody was caught, ask Rudy, if you ever go to the nursing home where he lives. I wanted to telephone rudy and ask him who brought Jocko back from 'nam, but i don't even know where he lives.
That monkey went to hell and back many times before he died. LT Macione "Black Jack" brought back a Rock Python, about 8 ft. long, and they used to tease Jocko by bringing him to the snake. As you know, they only eat live prey and only once a month, so Jocko was quite safe.
I remember going to Camp Perry in a truck for training and Scollise was the driver. He had Jocko in the cab of the truck tied with a long rope. He would put Jocko outside the cab and Jocko would go to the front of the hook and hang on while the truck was moving.
A little ole lady got next to the truck, tooting her auto's horn and shouting to the truck driver that a Monkey was hanging on to the front of the truck. Frank did all kinds of weird shit with Jocko. Took him the CPO club and Jock would bite a bunch of the Chief's and Rudy would call me to bring tetanus shots over and immunize the chiefs that got bitten.
Jocko had about a six by six foot ten foot tall chicken wire cage in the quarterdeck. One morning when i arrived i remember there were A LOT of the guys in their swim trucks ready for the beach run/swim. TOO MANY ! but i was not suspecious of what was going on there. Rudy comes over to me and asked me to check Jocko as jocko is asking like he is sick or something wrong with him.
I was dressing kahki, black tie, etc. So i walk over real close to the chicken wire cage and jocko reaching out with his little paw, JET FAST!, and grabs me by my tie and got me pulled face to the wire !
Every one was cracking up!
SO I hung around and waited to see if somebody else was going to fall for that same trick. Sure enough, some officer came in and JOCKO got him too.
Jim, I hope some of the guys respond to this email and answer your questions. Frank Moncrief said over the phone that he thinks Lenny Waugh got allt he answers.
Buena Suerte ! BacSi Rio
On Sep 10, 2016, at 13:26, Rick Woolard <rtpw [at] cox.net> wrote:
Jocko was at ST 2 in late December 1967 when I checked in from UDT 21. (The Team was then located where Scott Hall now stands, across the street and a bit north of where UDT 21 and 22 once stood. This was ST 2’s second location. Rudy told me the first was on the UDT compound, and the third was where the Navy Lodge is now.)
Anyhow, Jocko died of smoke inhalation in Jerry McClure’s house when it burned down in the late summer or fall of 1968. McClure was in 3rd Platoon with me in Vietnam when it happened and I sent him home to look after his now-homeless family. Check with Bill Garnett, Bo Burwell, Jerry Todd, Al McCoy, and Chuck Detmer (all on Cc line) as they were also in that platoon and will remember Jocko.
My recollections of Jocko are in the book Hunters and Shooters. I wrote that in 1994 or 1995 when my memory was fresher and some of them are pretty funny. If you don’t have a copy, I’ll drop mine off at the SHC tomorrow.
Peter Wentworth <peter [at] musicalsaw.com> Attachments12:03 PM (3 hours ago) Reply to me Here is a rescan of Chief Boisvert
Once again, Here are some links that may connect you with him. Try clicking on them, One of them is bound to work! I believe he is married (living with) Teri Saisho so I've included her contact info as well
https://www.facebook.com/louis688 https://www.facebook.com/louis.boisvert.58 https://www.facebook.com/marie.boisvert.923?pnref=friends.search https://www.facebook.com/marie.boisvert.585?pnref=friends.search https://www.facebook.com/doug.saisho?pnref=friends.search https://www.facebook.com/teri.saisho?pnref=friends.search https://www.pinterest.com/tksaisho/
Possible addresses: Louis Boisvert / Teri Saicho
6743 Blue Point Carlsbad, CA 92009
Louis Boisvert c/o Teri Saischo
1991 Rachele Escondido, CA 92025 Possible email: louisboi [at] roadrunner.com
Hometown Hero: First African-American Navy SEAL hails from Lockland
Cameron Knight, 1:47 p.m. EDT July 4, 2016 Cincinnati.com
Segregation may have kept retired Master Chief William Goines from using Lockland's only public pool, but it didn't stop him from learning to swim and eventually joining the first teams of Navy SEALs.
Goines was a junior at Lockland Wayne High School when he saw a film that depicted Navy frogmen, who performed underwater demolition operations during World War II.
"My fate was sealed right there. That's exactly what I wanted to do," Goines said. Soon after, he headed to a Navy recruiter, who said he should graduate before he enlisted. Goines said this was fine because he knew his mother would never let him drop out of school.
After receiving his diploma, Goines enlisted in the Navy in 1955. The list of his achievements while serving the country for 32 years includes the Bronze Star, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon and the Presidential Unit Citation.
However, Goines' life had humble beginnings. Born in 1936 in Dayton, he moved with his family to Lockland as a young child.
"My mother was strictly a home wife," Goines said. "My father worked in the automobile industry. He worked in Oldsmobile doing menial jobs. He didn't have any engineering skills, but my father could pass for white."
His father also worked in a pool hall as a second job and at one point was co-owner of a gas station, but Goines said he often got fired from jobs.
"Not because they thought he was black, but he was married to a black woman with three children," Goines said.
Despite this, Goines said his father was an excellent provider, especially for a man born in 1897 about 30 years after the end of the Civil War. During the era of his childhood, Goines said the war still echoed through the country and segregation was the norm.
"When I was growing up, I never knew there was a public swimming pool in Lockland. ... We were never allowed to swim in that pool," he recalled. "When integration came to the area, the way I understand it, they filled the pool in with rocks and gravel so nobody could swim in it."
Goines learned to swim — a skill that would be crucial when he joined the Navy — in a nearby creek and the Little Miami River. However, he did remember occasionally traveling with his family to a pool in Hartwell.
"They allowed black kids to swim there on Saturdays only from 8 o'clock to 12 o'clock," he said. "At 12 o'clock the whistle blew, and we were out of the pool, and they would drain it and get it ready for the white kids."
Goines said he found a more-even playing field in the Navy, but race still held many African-Americans back.
"They tracked all African-Americans to go into the steward rating, which was waiting on officers, cooking for officers," he said. "They tried to track me into that, but I had a guy in my hometown in Lockland who said, 'Whatever you do, don't accept a school for stewards because all you're going to be is a servant for officers.'"
With that advice, Goines took a different path, and he said once he started serving in the Navy, his skills were recognized and rewarded.
After being promised training in his dream field of underwater demolition, Goines' plans were changed by his superiors and he was sent to Malta. After 11 months in what he called "a paradise," he was sent back to begin the hardest training of his life.
Goines began frogman training with five Army Rangers, two foreign Naval officers, four U.S. Navy officers and 85 other Navy enlisted men. After three weeks, Goines said all the Rangers and one of the foreign officers had dropped out. By the end, he was one of the 13 men left standing.
After graduating in 1957, President John F. Kennedy had begun to form the first two SEAL teams: SEAL Team One on the West Coast and SEAL Team Two on the East Coast. After individual interviews with superiors, Goines was one of 40 men chosen to join SEAL Team Two. He was the only African-American on either team.
It's worth noting that Fred "Tiz" Morrison is often also given the honor of being the first African-American Navy SEAL. According to Navy records, Morrison served on the Navy's underwater demolition teams during World War II. While Morrison's service pre-dates Goines, it appears that he wasn't actually a part of the first official SEAL teams in 1957.
"It was so secret back then, they wouldn't even tell us what we were going to do," Goines said, but he decided to join what was destined to become one of the most well-known special forces teams in the world.
In the infancy of the SEALs, Goines said the emphasis was on combining all the best training from all the branches of the military. He completed 43 different training schools.
From the Air Force, SEALs learned Judo, Aikido, and skills for escape and evasion. From the Army, they learned jungle warfare, kitchen table demolition, skydiving and weapons training. The Marines taught them reconnaissance, how to capture enemies and how to rescue fellow seamen. The Coast Guard showed them how to escape from plane and helicopter crashes over water. SEALs attended the Ranger School, as well.
Then, Goines said, the work continued. After attending a school, they returned with their new knowledge and formed lesson plans for their fellow SEALs. Now, Goines said, SEALs have the benefit of learning their skills in-house, but in the early days, they pulled knowledge from wherever they could.
"SEAL Team was formed to collect information, then act on it itself," Goines explained.
Once in action, Goines' story makes Forrest Gump look lazy. In the early '60s, he found himself in the middle of the Cold War.
"I was selected to be one of the first to go into Cuba during the Cuban Crisis," Goines said. "We were on ships just sailing around the Cuban country waiting to make a landing there."
A full-scale invasion never took place, which Goines said he thought was the right choice.
"I spent three tours in Vietnam with SEAL teams. I went twice with platoons," he said.
Goines explained SEAL platoons were made up of 14 men but didn't go into the specifics of their missions there.
"I went one time by myself where I was in charge of gun-carrying Vietnamese. Some of them had deserted from the VietCong," he said. "All I had around me were Vietnamese and translators."
Though fluent in French and Spanish, Goines said the combat situations made it hard to learn Vietnamese.
"But, I did teach some of my Vietnamese interpreters how to speak Spanish so we could talk over the radio and, hopefully, none of the Vietnamese communists could understand Spanish," he said.
As Goines was preparing to go on a fourth tour in Vietnam, he was pulled off by his superiors.
"I was yanked out of the platoon at the last minute because they needed a Spanish-speaking person to go to a different country that spoke Spanish," he said, leaving out the name of the country and any other details about what happened next.
During all of his missions, Goines was never seriously injured; however, his doctors have said Agent Orange may be responsible for the prostate cancer he endured. He said he also contracted some diseases in Vietnam.
"I had a fungus on one of my fingers and they thought they were going to have to take one of my fingers off during my first trip to Vietnam," he said. "I was blessed and got back safely from all of those."
The worst injury Goines suffered was in the United States. In 1976, he was selected to become part of the Chuting Stars, a U.S. Navy Parachute Demonstration Team. He performed 640 jumps during his five years on the team. During one jump in Pennsylvania, he landed wrong on a hill and "smashed all the cartilage" in his knees.
Goines found his love for parachuting earlier in his career. He attended HALO training, which stands for high altitude, low opening. He said in those days there was a lot of experimentation. He and his fellow SEALs jumped from dozens of planes that soared as high as 30,000 feet and flew as fast as 300 mph.
"We jumped out of everything," he said. "We even jumped out of balloons in France and Belgium, just experimenting."
In 1987, Goines retired from the Navy as a Master Chief Petty Officer.
"I got out of the Navy after 32 years. I could have stayed longer, but I couldn't really keep up with everybody else," he said. "They didn't really expect me to keep up since I was Master Chief, but peer pressure will make you hurt yourself."
After leaving the Navy, he went on to become the chief of police for the school system of Portsmouth, Virginia, where he now lives. He said this job was a harder than combat.
"I tried to get some SEALs that were retiring to come and work for me and most of them said, 'If you're carrying a weapon or a billy club or handcuffs or pepper spray, I'm not coming over there,'" he said. "It was interesting work, though."
After another 14 years, Goines retired from that job and began doing recruiting for the SEALs to attempt to improve diversity. He said few minorities go in the Navy, and few try out for the SEALs.
At 79 years old, Goines is now the oldest member of his family. This Memorial Day, he returned to Lockland with his wife of 44 years, Marie Davis. He was joined by nearly 170 family members, though he has no children of his own.
Looking forward, Goines is excited about opening Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
On Sept. 24, two weeks after his 80th birthday, Goines will be honored at the museum on the day it opens. He said President Barack Obama is scheduled to cut the ribbon. The museum has been in the planning and construction process for 13 years. Goines was told he would be honored two years ago.
"I'm excited to go up and celebrate the opening. I've enjoyed my life immensely," he said. "Of all the things that I've been through, I don't regret anything."
The date for the first SEAL Teams is hosed up in article.
Doc Riojas: Below is a link to a large number of photos taken by an active duty photographer at the west coast reunion. His mentor is Chip Maury. He has offered up the photos to share with our teammates and classmates. By the way, we missed you at the reunion.
Carl Swepston https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0ByA2keLBDNaNdG1DN3NoUWhHb00&usp=sharing
Louis J. DeLara R.I.P.
1926 - 2015
Louis J. DeLara, 89, passed away Oct. 31, 1926 - Jan. 29, 2015
Returned to USN in 1950 for the Korean War and served on the USS Delta (AR9) before beginning Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) training. Lou was in UDT class 6 and was proud to carry the title of UDT/Frogman/Navy SEAL. He deployed three times to the Korean War as part of UDT. During his first Korean deployment Lou realized he had found a career and a home.
Assignments: UDT 1, UDT 11, Beach Jumper Unit 1, and graduated from Salvage Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Lou also served in the Vietnam War. Lou Retired in 1971 with the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer.
FATAL ATTACK BY THE SHARK
CARCHARHINUS GALAPAGENSIS AT ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS
FATAL ATTACK BY THE SHARK
JOHN E. RANDALL
Institute of Marine Biology,
University of Puerto Rico, Mayagdez, P. R.
ABSTRACT: On April 20, 1963 a
10-foot ridge-back carcharhinid shark attacked and killed Lt. John Gibson, USN
who was swimming at the surface in Magens Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
without swim mask or flippers. The shark was caught the following day in the bay
with the right hand and other remains of the man in its stomach. The shark was
examined by the author and ultimately identified as Carcharhinus galapagensis by
J. A. F. Garrick who is revising the genus. This is apparently the first
authenticated shark attack in the Virgin Islands and the first record of
galapagensis from the western Atlantic.
WHILE IN residence for nearly
three years on St. John, U. S. Virgin Islands in 1958-1961, the author made many
inquiries of maritime people, doctors, government employees, etc., concerning
possible shark incidents in the area. Although the Virgin Islands has long been
a popular resort region, frequented by many bathers and divers, no one could
recall any shark attack resulting in injury or death to man. One fatality off
Reef Bay. St. John which occurred about 20 years ago was attributed by some to a
shark; however, upon investigation, it appears to have resulted accidentally
from the whirling propeller of an inboard motorboat.
The seemingly unblemished
record of the Virgin Islands with respect to shark attacks was resoundingly
broken on April 20, 1963 when Lt. (jg) John Gibson. USN of the Underwater Demolition Team was killed by a 10 foot shark in
Magens Bay on the north shore of St. Thomas, the most popular bathing site on
the island. The shark was caught on the following day, and the remains of the
man were removed from its stomach. The identity of the shark was variously
reported in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico newspapers and news broadcasts as
a blacktip shark, hammerhead shark, and thresher shark.
A phone call on April 22 to
UDT headquarters on St. Thomas revealed that the shark was still on hand at the
morgue of the Knud-Hansen Memorial Hospital in Charlotte Amalie, although in
such poor condition that its disposal had been requested by hospital
authorities. The author flew the next day to St. Thomas to examine the shark. It
proved to be a male specimen of a ridge-back species of Carcharhinus Blainville.
The assistance of various
members of the hospital staff and of the Underwater Demolition Team of the U. S.
Navy is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are due Lt. George W. Kirby, Jr., USN
who was assigned the duty of investigating officer of the tragic incident. and
who made the information of his investigation available to the author and
provided prints of photographs of the shark. of the body of the
When examined, the shark was
partially desiccated externally, the flesh nearly liquefied medially in the
body, and most internal organs were removed. The total length was taken at 9
feet 7 inches without bending the upper lobe of the caudal fin downward to the
mid-line. The St. Thomas Daily News reported the length as 10 feet I inch, a
measurement made when the shark was fresh and hence probably greater than when
the shark was somewhat dried. No accurate measurement could be made of the
greatest body depth or girth by the author. The body seemed slender in spite of
desiccation and removal of viscera. The newspaper reported the girth when fresh
as 45 '/~ inches. The snout was fairly short and bluntly rounded. The pectoral
fins were relatively thin. The origin of the second dorsal fin was slightly
anterior to that of the anal fin. The jaws and teeth (Fig. 2), second dorsal and
anal fins, one nostril, and a section of skin across the ridge on the back
between the dorsal fins were taken from the specimen and brought to the
University of Puerto Rico at Mayagiiez where they are deposited under UPR number
Counts of the teeth and
vertebrae and measurement data from the specimen are given in Table 1.
The precaudal vertebral count
of 104 was made by dissection. The caudal fin was Xrayed at the hospital to
provide a count of the caudal vertebrae; however, it was learned after the
carcass of the shark was dumped at sea that one of the two overlapping X rays
did not include all of the basal caudal vertebrae. The incomplete caudal
vertebral count was 90.
Utilizing the most recent
published papers that provide for the identification of western Atlantic
Carcharhinus (Bigelow and Schroeder, 1948; Springer, 1950), the shark was
tentatively labelled as C. springeri Bigelow and Schroeder. There were
differences, however, between the specimen and the descriptions of springeri.
The jaws, other pieces saved from the shark, and measurement and meristic data
were then sent to 1. A. F. Garrick who is working on a revision of the difficult
genus Carcharhinus at the Division of Fishes, U. S. National Museum.
Garrick identified the
specimen as C. galapagensis (Snodgrass and Heller), a species recorded only from
oceanic islands of the eastern Pacific (Rosenblatt and Baldwin, 1958).
Previously Garrick had seen specimens of galapagensis from St. Helena, Ascension
and Bermuda in the Atlantic. The occurrence of galapagensis in the Virgin
Islands is therefore not so surprising. The St. Thomas specimen reported here
does, however, represents the first published record from the western Atlantic.
According to Garrick,
springeri and galapagensis may be distinguished principally by the number of
teeth (springeri has 24 to 26 teeth in the outer row of the upper jaw, not
counting the small symphyseals, and 22 to 24 teeth in the lower jaw, while
galapagensis has 28 to 30 upper and 26 to 30 lower teeth), vertical height of
the second dorsal fin (2.9 to 3.2 percent of total length in springeri and 2.4
to 2.8 percent of total length in galapagensis) and the shape of the upper teeth
(narrower and notched on both margins in springeri; noticeably concave to
notched only on the lateral margins of galapagensis).
The precaudal vertebral count
of 104 in the St. Thomas specimen does not provide for separation from springeri
which seems to have approximately the
range in the number of vertebrae as -alapagensis, nor would this one count
distin-uish the species from C. falciformis (Miiller and Henle), but it does
from all other known western Atlantic Carcharhinus (counts from Garrick, MS).
The St. Thomas shark has a
shorter pectoral fin and slightly different shaped teeth than typical
galapagensis; however Garrick believes that these differences will be shown to
be within the range of variability of the species when more specimens of diverse
size and locality are available for examination.
Magens Bay, the site of the
attack, is "Upshaped, 1.7 miles long and 0.7 miles wide and opens to the
northwest. With the usual easterly tradewind it is ordinarily calm and
relatively clear, and April 20 was no exception in this re-, ard. The water
temperature, judging from readings made in Lameshur Bay, St. John in April of
1960 and 1961 (Randall, 1962) probably approximated 280 C.
Gibson arrived at the beach at
the head of the bay with a companion, Donna Waugh. He suggested a swim from the
beach near the southwest end across to the rocky northeast shore. She declined
and said that she would walk along the shore and meet him on the other side. He
entered the water and began swimming at the surface without face mask or swim
fins. He was well tanned and was wearing swim trunks of a plaid pattern of deep
red. Later, as Miss Waugh paused to talk with someone on the beach, she thought
she heard a scream from the water. Looking out toward Gibson, who was then some
distance from shore, she saw no evidence of a struggle but noted that he had
switched from a crawl to what seemed to be a sidestroke. When she reached the
northeast shore it became apparent to her that Gibson was in serious trouble,
for he rolled to one side, and she saw that one of his hands was missing.
Heroically, she swam to him in spite of his warning to her to get out of the
water, for the shark was still molesting him. She aided him as he swam for
shore. For her bravery Miss Waugh was later awarded the U. S. Treasury gold life
saving medal. When they neared shore, she perceived that a man (Teddy Miller)
had come to their aid, and she left Gibson and ran to two fishermen, Paul and
Aubry Bryn, who were standing near their 15-foot outboard motor boat at the
northeast corner of the bay. The shark continued to menace Gibson, and Miller
threw rocks at it, while standing in the shallow water, to try to frighten it
away. The boat containing the fishermen and Miss Waugh maneuvered in the bloody
water between the shark and the injured man. As Gibson was brought into the boat
he was dead or nearly so, and it was noted that very little blood escaped from
his massive wounds into the boat. He was pronounced dead at 2 p.m.
In addition to the loss of the
right hand, there were enormous bites taken from the left shoulder area and the
right thigh and hip. The left foot was bitten, but no flesh was removed. One of
the UDT men theorized that Gibson may have been bitten first on the foot and
that he subsequently lost his right hand fending the shark off. The huge bite on
his thigh severed the femoral artery, and as indicated later by a doctor, the
man could not have lived more than about 15 seconds after this wound was
inflicted. The wound must therefore have Occurred when the man was near the
rocky shore, probably either while Miss Waugh was still swimming with him or
Miller was trying to assist him. The first attack on Gibson, which Miss Waugh
presumes to have taken place when she heard the scream, occurred at about 1:30
p.m. or slightly before. The depth of the water in which Gibson swam probably
did not exceed 40 feet at any place.
Beginning at 8 a.m. the
following day, approximately 15 UDT men in two of their vessels set shark hooks
from six 55-gallon drums in Magens Bay. The hooks were baited with goat meat.
Shortly after 4: 30 p.m. one of the drums was observed
in the water. As the men rushed to the scene ' a large shark was observed to be
hooked. It was killed with a shotgun and transported to the UDT base. The right
hand of a man plus other human remains were removed from the stomach. Several of
the UDT men remarked that the hand showed little signs of digestion, and this is
evident from the photograph. The hand was preserved in formalin and sent to the
Navy Pathology Laboratory at Bethesda, Maryland.
It is not known whether
galapagensis will prove to be a rare species in the West Indian region or
whether it is relatively common and has been recorded previously under some
other name or names. It is the author's o!)inion from limited observations that
the ciosely related C. springeri, which was not described until 1944, will prove
to be the most abundant inshore species of shark other than the nurse shark,
Ginglymostoma cirratum (Bonnaterre), in the West Indies.
On March 17, 1961 the author
was frightened by an aggressive carcharhinid of at least 8 feet in length
believed at the time to be springeri, but which could have been galapagensis.
The shark, which was lacking the outer part of the upper lobe of its caudal fin,
passed nearby at a depth of 90 feet in the clear water on the north shore of
Tobago, British Virgin Islands. It made a broad circle as the author rose in the
water toward the safety of a vessel overhead, and then it rushed upward. Acting
on the belief that the usual first rea~ction of an animal which is attacked is
to retreat, an overt movement was made in the direction of the shark, and it
veered off. The boat was reached before the shark returned.
BIGELOW, H. B., and W.
C. SCHROEDER. 1948. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Part 1.
Lancelets, Cyclostomes, Sharks. Mem. Sears Found. Mar. Res., no. 1, xv +
5716 pp., 106 figs. RANDALL, J. E. 1962. Tagging reef fishes in the Virgin
Islands. Proc. Gulf & Carib. Fish. Inst. (14th Ann. Ses., Nov. 1961):
201-241, 8 figs. ROSENBLATT, R. H., and W. J. BALDWIN. 1958. A review of
the Eastern Pacific sharks of the genus Carcharhinus, with a redescription
of C. malpe- loensis (Fowler) and California records of C. remotus
(Dum6ril). Calif. Fish & Game, 44 (2): 137-159, 8 figs. SPRINGER, S.
1950. A revision of North American sharks allied to the genus Carcharhinus.
Amer. Mus. Novit., no. 1451, 13 pp. TABLE 1. Counts and measurements (in
millimeters) of specimen of Carcharhinus galapagensis responsible for
fatal attack in Virgin Islands: Total length Length to precauda-1 pit
Greatest width of head Horizontal length of snout Snout to front of mouth
(along snout) Width of mouth Distance between medial edges of nostrils
Length of nostril Diameter of eye Height of first gill slit
CDR George M. "Sandy" McMillan
1951 - 2016
Calvin Ray Warner R.I.P.
1925 - 2016
Served during WW II, Korean War, and Vietnam War.
Slator C. Blackiston
1946 - 1984
Out To Sea With No Shore In Sight - The story of a US Navy SEAL daughter
Posted by Spencer Walker on June 06, 2014
Slator Blackiston was born on January 25, 1946, in Charlotte, North Carolina. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on February 1, 1967, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in April 1967. Petty Officer Blackiston next completed Quartermaster school before attending Underwater Demolition Team Replacement training with Class 040 (East Coast) at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Virginia, where he graduated in August 1967. He served with UDT-21 at NAB Little Creek from August 1967 to April 1968, followed by service with SEAL Team TWO at Little Creek from April 1968 until being appointed a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Navy on June 4, 1975. After completing his bachelor's degree at Virginia Wesleyan College, Blackiston was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in June 1976. He later served with Naval Special Warfare Group TWO at NAB Little Creek before going to France as an Exchange Officer with the French Navy in Toulon, France, in August 1982. LT BLackiston was killed in a parachute training accident in San Rafael, France, on April 12, 1984.
July 1968 USS SEALION (APSS-315)
Top: Lt-Rt: CO of boat J.V. Markoskie, John Muckle, Ltjg Ron Yeaw, Jim Wallace, Fred toothman, Ltjg Schutzman, Pete Girard, Joe Silva, Ron Rogers, Dr. R. Lee MD (UDT-22) Sitting: Lt-Rt: Erasmo Riojas, Mike McQuillis, Slater Blackiston, Jerry Waters.
John W. "Jack" Rowell R.I.P.
Jack, graduated with UDTR Training Class 028 in Little Creek on 07 January 1963 and served with SEAL Team TWO. Jack was dedicated volunteer in the UDT-SEAL Association, coordinating the Horseshoe Tournament during the annual EAST Coast Reunion for many years.
SEAL Team TWO, the original 7th Platoon
ST-2, 7th Plt 1967 'nam: STAND: Lt-Rt: Hook Tuure, Jack Rowell, Curtis Ashton, Mike Boynton, Fred Keener, Roy Dean Matthews SIT: Bob "Eagle" Gallagher, Erasmo"Doc"Riojas, Rinny K-9, Harry Constance, Bob "Pete" Peterson, Chuck Jessi (film developed in 1968) SEAL Team TWO, 7th Platoon in MyTho RVN 1967: missing are Gene Fraley and Charlie Watson, Got Sick and went home. Billy Burbank trained with the 7th, but he went to the PRUs. click HERE to go to see Billy Burbank's web site.
John Winant "Jack" Rowell: of Chesapeake, Virginia, Born: January 01, 1933 Died: March 19, 2016. Jack was born to the late Frank and Janet Rowell, January 1, 1933 in Concord, NH. He was a veteran who began his military career in 1953 and retired as a proud member of Naval Special Warfare in 1979. After retirement, Jack remained active in the local UDT-SEAL community and could often be seen at reunions and community events. Jack was an avid bass fisherman who enjoyed time at local lakes participating in tournaments and fishing with friends. Jack is survived by his wife; Marian S. Rowell; children Debbie Mount; JJ Rowell; and Chris Rowell.
Joseph J. Whalen R.I.P.
1926 - 2016
he served his country as a Frogman for UDT 21 in the U.S. Navy during WWII until 1946
Stephen A. Nave R.I.P.
1961 - 2016
The Virtual Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial www.virtualwall.org
U. S. Navy SEALs Exhibits
2014 Ft. Pierce Muster Pictures HERE !
U.S.A. Veterans are citizens who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America, for an amount up to and including their life. Please remember ALL our VETERANs !
"LONE SURVIVOR" the movie showed an "FNG" reciting SEAL's well known poem: AROUND THE WORLD TWICE but in the film it was edited Here is a LINK to the real one: AROUND THE WORLD TWICE!
“So, You Want to Be A Frogman? . . . . . . . Read this First.”
I always like to say “I was NOT a
Navy SEAL but they are my favorite Team” Now that would make a perfect shirt
for some of us who tried BUD/S and failed. About the 5th week of boot camp
we had to report for work week. Not me I was special, I reported to someone that
I had no idea who he was or how long he had been in the Naval Special Warfare
Community. His name was Master Chief Louis Boisvert
and he was intimidating but always was squinting or smiling as he spoke.
Subj: So Close But No Cigar Inbox From: Quigley, Daniel W.,
I just want you to know that this story is all about my attempt to become a frogman. I was not a SEAL or a frogman….I was always a support guy and a BUDS trainee but I never completed the training ….just so you know….I went to BUDS first/SDV as a support guy/then back to BUDS 141 and disenrolled again then sent to Vieques, PR for a year . I tried my sea legs out In Charleston SC and that’s when I met Ed Jones …he was LT Commander of the USS Santa Barbara (AE-28) and he was the one who pulled me out of a crowd and said “Do you know Joseph Yarburough and I said yes ….he grinned and said I put him thru BUDS.” I wanted to get off that ship and go try BUDS a third time but got out of the NAVY.
So that is what my story is all about. I wanted very much to get thru that training but that is the plight of so many of us and I hope that others have similar stories.
There are even guys who made it to the teams and ran into problems whether disciplinary or otherwise who had that taste of the comradery of BUD/S and or The Teams and feel they can never get it back.
I just want others to know that I know how it feels to fail.
by Dan Quigley
Perhaps the first I ever heard of Navy
Frogman was when I was a kid watching the space race in the late 1960’s on
television. We also watched what
was called the” living room war” and that always seemed like background
noise in our house full of three girls and me and one more girl on the way. My
dad was always interested in anything involving NASA.
I guess when the capsule parachuted into the ocean my focus must have
been on those guys who were there to open the hatch for those Astronauts. They
were the worker bees in my opinion …I was four at the time so I did not know
anything…sometimes I think that I still have much to learn.
It was my friend Billy LaMonica that sold
me on the idea of going into the Navy. He knew a guy named BJ MckInney who said
we could do anything we wanted to. I was a good welder in school and enjoyed
working with wrought iron and enjoyed shop where we learned how to arc weld. I
told the Navy recruiter that I wanted to be a Hull Tech and he said that would
not be a problem but I would have to wait until January or Feb of 1984 to get in
….Well I graduated high school in 83 and I was itching to get out of Denver
and on with my life. B.J McKinney
told me he could get me in as a Gunners Mate Guns and I could go in as early as
September. I asked if I would ever be able to do any welding as a Gunners Mate
and of course he replied “Sure you will…now sign right here”.
Billy got in earlier than me although we were supposed to be on Buddy
system. He went and came back before I went in …he was sent home because when
he marched his feet swole up …he had flat feet and therefore could not serve.
He made a hell of a salesman though. Billy sold cars for a while then went on to
selling everything else that he could.
I was your basic Colorado good old boy…loved to ski, ride bikes and swim and dive off the 1 meter and three meter boards. I did things well but never over the mark on anything. The day I left to join The Navy my baby sister cut off my shoulder length chlorine bleached swimmers hair and left me with a cut over my ears that made me look like a schoolboy. I wore my USA Sweatshirt and my Levis Jeans and my best friend Bryan took me to the MEPS Station in Denver. We spent all day at the MEPs Station and then we were flown to San Diego where even there I was pretty damn scared. They let us go to sleep at a decent hour but woke us up with a bunch of guys screaming at us and throwing trash cans. I was shaking so much that I could barely follow the instructions they were barking at us…We fell out side and lined up and the first thing anyone said to me me was “Where are you from boy? Faggotville” Of course I screamed back No Sir I am from Denver, Colorado. He said you say no Recruit Chief Petty Officer…I said nothing I was thouroughly confused. The next thing was all the Filipino guys that worked there in San Diego. I never even had seen a Fillipino dude and I could not understand a damn word they were saying to me …so I just watched all the other recruits…..IP I tell you to Pee in the bottle …then you Pee in the bottle they barked at us.
I guess one of the guys understood
cause we put our names and socials on the bottle and peed in them as we were
told. Later we were lined up in front of the barber shop. “Do you have a note
from your mother to be here! A guy
asked me….and these were the civilian contractors who cut hair for the Navy. I
said nothing and the he shaved my head and I went to stand in line nut to butt
with all the other bald poopies. Then something happened …a guy tapped me on
my shoulder and said to me. “Grasshopper, as quickly as you can snatch the
pebbles from my hand and then it will be time for you to leave” I laughed so
hard that we were told to shut up and someone
kept saying “Stop your squirming” Never knew how difficult it was
just to stand at attention for so long. Its like your waiting for a plane at the
airport but you are not allowed to speak or move or go to the bathroom or
anything. We then went over to this place that gave us all our kind of goofy
looking sailor uniforms….Really, big bell bottom jeans with blue long sleeve
shirts…It really is the same outfit you get in the prison system.
hated them…but I always had it in the back of my mind that this would only be
temporary. I did not even like the p-coat was made of wool and itched like
crazy. They issued us a wool blanket some sheets and seabag fool of stuff and we
spent all day playing dress-up.
It was only a few days later when our
Company Commander approached us and asked how many of you guys play a musical
instrument? How many have ever been in ROTC and oh yeah how many of you guys
would like to take SEAL PT test. I threw up my hand with only two others that
wanted to take the test. One guy messed up on the swim and the other did not do
enough pull ups. I only weighed 149 lbs so I made it through the passed what
would be my first little taste of what was to come.
I loved boot-camp…it really was the
camp my parents never sent me to. I loved all the PT marching and head games and
I really found a lot of humor in the military way unless of course it was me the
one who was being hammered or corrected for messing up on something stupid like
general order. I remember distinctly seeing a guy who obviously was at the
end of his line and he failed to call last man be pulled aside and was told to
face the wall from about 6 inches away and all he kept repeating was “Last
Man! Last Man! Last Man!” Sometimes you did not even know what the other guy
did but you knew he messed up and he would not make that mistake again. I think
it was about the 5th week of bootcamp we had to report for work week.
Not me I was special, I reported to someone that I had no idea who he was or how
long he had been in the Naval Special Warfare Community. His name was Master
Chief Louis Boisvert and he was intimidating but always was squinting or
smiling as he spoke. He would ask me “So Seaman Quigley…how many push, push
did you do today?” I always answered with the same answer of not enough and he
would just say then lets get started. There
was only about three or four of us out on the grinder in a circle with the
Master Chief bellowing out the count in a most peculiar way. “Ah –wan too ,
tree” ONE we yelled in unison… Ah Won too tree
…two ah wan two tree
Three…but this was all so different…He would talk to us as we were working
out. The Master Chief and a couple of other guys had UDT shorts on . One thing
you had to get used to was that those short really did not conceal a lot on
those tough old frogs and believe me they could care less. We did all they basic
stretches, way backs, back flutter kicks, eight count body builders and chase
the rabbits and then the Master chief when we were doing sit ups in pike
position would reach up grab his boots around his dive sock and hold himself up
there sitting in pike positon on what looked to be a half ass yoga mat. Yeah I
knew Master Chief Louis Boisvert was unique. He had a very visible scar on the
inside of his bicep that you could tell had to be stitched up at one time. I did
not dare ask him what happened . I just told him that I needed to do a lot more
I went to Gun School in Great Lakes, Illinois. In the latter part of school I met a fiend named Joe Quinn and also knew a guy named Bob Hall that also had orders to go to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in June of 1984. So we began a semi strict regiment of running on the beach on Lake Michigan and we considered taking a dip in that cold cold water. Good thing we never did that and In late May we celebrated graduation from A-School and we were then off to BUD/S. Joe and I got there and both of us had that long squidlly hair and mine was still parted down the middle and Joes was flipped to the side with his hand all the time.
We went to the Naval Amphibious Base and
checked in at Personel Support Detachment. They told ud we were at the wrong
place and they called the quarterdeck at BUD/S
and the officer of the day said ”WE don’t have a van to come pick you
guys up. Grab your seabags and hump it over here …better get used to it” Joe
and I could not believe it. So we headed over cross the street and showed up at
the BUD/S Quarterdeck and then you see it. The Frog statue with the sign that
has the statement not the question “So, you want to be a frogman huh.” Then
the Lt. came out and said are you the guys that called. Yes sir we both replied
like Heckle and Jeckle .Well these guys will get you checked in …I don’t
know where you guys came from but both of you need haircuts…now get out of
We were given keys to our rooms and we
hauled all of our stuff up into the barracks. I remember it was a sunny day and
was near four or five and the breeze from the ocean was flowing into my room. I
was reaching for my locker when some real young guy with a blue shirt with
yellow writing on the chest said,
“Hey, you left your key in the door..dont leave them there someone might take them” I fired back without a pause and said “Those are not my Keys” Mine are right here… He said well take them out of the door then. I did so and he said what IS your name? I told him and he said “I will be seeing you around” That was my first run in with GMG 2 Dobstaff. Im not sure which one of the Dobstaff that was cuz there were three of them. So the first day I was there we pissed off a LT Bunnig,a SEAL Instructor named Dobstaff and we were to go get our uniforms somewhere in San Diego after we went and got our hair cut on the Naval Amphibious Base. Joe and I did not just get a regulation cut..we got our heads shaved. Yeah we looked pretty stupid getting on the bus at NAB and getting off at the place where you had to buy your own name tags and an inspection uniform at this dinky little shop in San Diego. On Monday when we proceeded to check in further Senior Chief Tanaka informed us that we missed the start up date of class 130 by two days…that meant we had to wait 30 to 40 days until Class 131 started. They decided to send me a Joe out to San Clemente Island do our pre training. That is when I met Master Chief Roger Sick. He had a gruff voice but he always treated us well. Except for the times when he would wake us up in the with grenade simulators. We all slept in a place called The Swamp right down at the bottom of the hill. At the top of the hill was a big frog. We saw members of Class 128 do flights with steel or wood crates on their backs and they would be smiling all the way up to kiss the frog and come down and ask permission to land from an instructor. We got to take picture when the Class blew up the bay at San Clemente. Master Chief Sick even let us take a boat out with an engine on the back of it. Joe Quinn was driving and one of the Marines that was hanging out with us for the day fell of the edge of the boat and the boat whipped around and the propeller cut him right on his tailbone…Yeah he needed stitches for that one …Master Chief Sick never really got too excited over anything he just said “He will be alright” and left it at that.
We had to help in the chow hall mainly doing clean up…We ate well and we watched the guys doing 15 pull ups and a climb up the rope before each meal at the chow hall These guys were in third phase and one of their Class leaders was a young Ensign named William Sadilek. Ensign Sadilek always had a smile on his face and could run like a deer. Bill was nice to everyone..even us poopie pre-trainees that have not even started training. We all were still in such a state of awe…We were stationed with some of the roll backs that had already been thru Hell week and we even looked up to them.
We had a guy named Graves who was a
trashman from Chicago and Jim Lawson and Joe Quinn and I slept in The swamp each
night as the Navy A-6s used to do touch and goes off the runway which was right
up the hill from the BUD/S Compound. Not much to do on san Clemente but watch
the movie that they offered on the other side of the island and drink as much
beer as we wanted…On duty nights we would stand watches and feed the foxes
that seemed to be everywhere on the island…One night
an Instructor that had rumored to have hundreds of kills in Vietnam came
in the chow hall and put the fear of God in me….he just came over and said
“Stand up…sit down…well ok then.” He was a little intoxicated and I was
shaking in my boots. He was a
great big Hawaiian Dude named David P. The instructors in third phase at the
time did not pay much attention to the pre trainees.
I don’t even remember leaving the
Island that time around. I got to go back to Coronado Class 131 formed and some
of my first memories were the songs the cadence, the runs to the chow hall and
the many days swimming at the NAB pool in the hot sun with our bald ass heads .
“To my left, HEY
To my left Hey!! Hooyah
hey Hooyah hey hooyah Hey
One -31 , get down, be proud, fire up
Motivate Castrate, annailate…then as we were running making sure to give
respect to all the Teams that we ran by on the frontage road of the strand we
would send roadguard out when the light changed and shout.
Crossing over 75!!!! You gotta run like
hell just to stay alive!
Hooyah hey Its an Easy Day …HooYah
hey…I love to double time.
Then as approaching NAB gate we started
I was walking down the beach just the
And the meanest bunch of frogmen were
headed my way
My girlfriend turned and she said to me
Is that what you really want to be?
So I took my hand and slapped her up side
And said I’ll be a frogman or I’ll be
After getting thru the gate and running
down past PSD we would start with
Black shoe black shoe don’t be
blue…you could have been a frogman too
Hooyah hey its an easy day!!!
Then we would go in the chow hall that
always seemed full of people from NAB that were checking us out…Perhaps they
were placing bets on who would make it or not…but they were watching us
because we were the new Class. We
would fall out and form up outside the chow hall and bust into song again
Lift you head and hold it high 131 is
running on by!!
Hooyah hey easy day…. hooyah hey..I
love to double time.
I remember going to the pool and sittin
gin the bleachers. Going over drown proofing and underwater swims 25 meters then
50 meters. Everything was explained to us by the instructors in a matter of fact
way. Sometimes using humor sometimes with that old Instructor expression. You
people are pissing me off. We would swim in the NAB pool all day and if we did
not have enough sun screen on our heads would swell up and we looked like
aliens. We got little sympathy if we did not use enough sun screen. The bay
swims that followed were not much fun…the San Diego bay always had a bunch of
fuel from the ships…I guess the taste in our mouths would go away but the
instructors would always reming us that if we were getting to cold or
uncomfortable we could go and be on one of those ships in no time at all…We
were still in the first part of autumn in California . I mean how cold could it
get? Well we were about to find out.
After weeks of drownproofing, underwater
knot tying, and obstacle courses and log pt we were about to start Hell Week.
Well I remember starting off watching a movie with about 80 guys. And
then we all got to get our stuff together and go out to the tents they set up
for us and we waited…and waited and Waited. We might here distant voices
and people scuttering around outside the tents but nothing can prepare you for
breakout of Hell week at BUD/S.
And then it starts …Get out of
there!!!!…fall out you bunch of maggots!!!!….they are blank rounds but it is
the noise that the M-60 makes when it is blasting away….grenade simulators are
going off all around you and all this smoke everywhere and some guy with
a hose focuses on the class and then an Instructor Demands a muster from
your Class leader Mr Moss Mr Olson we need a count. That is the lull before they
ask again are you sure you have all your people Sir…you cant lead from behind
Sir Where are your people…..You People are pissing me off…Now go get dry
uniforms on you got 60 seconds to get back here we are all yelling hooyah and we
are tripping over each other to get our uniforms changed and we head back out of
the tent while the guy with the hose gets us with the water again.And we pop
tall on the PT grinder in the compound and the Instructor says I told you people
to get dry uniforms on now get back there and get dry greens on you got 60
seconds …mr Olson do you have all your people??? Then we run back to get our
last pair of greens on and we return to grenade simulators smoke and that damn
hose that is on you and everyone else around you and then you here that dreaded
bell. The one that you promised yourself that you would never ring so you keep
moving on to the next evolution.
The next thing I vividly remember lining
up facing the surf and the water and to lock arms with your classmate and hit
the surf. We walked out and the Instructors said about face and all you could
see was the sillouete of the Instrictors and the parachute flares that were
lighting up the sky and swaying back and fourth as they came down and then I
looked over and saw a guy I never thought would leave us stand up and say I cant
take this cold water Im out of here….He was a black guy all Muscle and we all
were shocked especially when we heard that bell ring on the first night of hell
week and it rand a lot more time throughout the evening.
We did all the other what seemed crazy evolutions through out the night and through out the week. Around the worlds in the IBS. Surf Passage, rock portage right in front of the Hotel del Coronado. There was a trainee that broke his leg during rock portage. There were guys that broke their arms during rock portage…but I never remember anyone quitting during rock portage…It terrified me every time we went in….at day and at night. On of the most rigorous and frustrating parts of heel week was running under that IBS on the way to the chow hall at the Naval Amphibious Base. The Instructors would have us circl the chow hall at least once and then make us do what was called up boats on the side of the chow hall where we left out boats. We got hammered a lot right outside of the chow hall….Then we would get permission to go inside and certain seats were roped off for because we were soaking wet…and all the eyes were upon us…and the Instructors would walk around the table and tell us you better eat up your gonna need it …Its agonna be a long night. Then before you know it you would here “131, fall out!!!” and we were back outside and under that damn boat.
Then we were off to either the pool or
the pier…Either one and we were not going to like it a bit. We went to the
pier one night right near the special Boat Units and across from where the Navy
Divers were in training. This pier was not a fun evolution. I can remember being
in the water and I had my uniform and my boots on then we were told to get out
of the water. Then we stripped down and back in the water we went. Then we were
told to get out and lay on the steel pier. We had a big light on us and the
Instructor said “You know psychologically when the light is on you it seems
warmer than when you are sitting in the darkness” And out of nowhere we heard
that bell ring three times and then again and once again. Amazing how that works
if you want to be a frogman. “Ok
so we need one more quitter and we will secure this evolution…just one more”
No one got up this time and shortly after we were allowed to get our wet greens
back on…We had green back then not cammies .One had to earn their cammies and
here lies the rub that I will express later in this chapter.
The NAB pool seemed much better…we were
allowed to jump or flip or dive off a platform for the whole Class…but we were
there all night…Most of the time we were there standing nut to Butt and we
were naked as Jaybirds. It seemed to me we also did a lot of just laying around
the pool and then that damn dude with the hose was there…spraying us down as
if we were little flowers not getting enough water. There was also a time when
we went back to BUD/S compound and we were all told to go in a Classroom and
write a letter on why we wanted to be Navy Seals…then they put on some nice
classical music and dimmed the lights and the heads started dropping. I don’t
know how long I lasted but I woke to an Instructor tapping me on the shoulder
with about half the Class in with their heads down and then we were told to go
to the grinder where everyone was already doing jumping jacks and the usual pt
stuff. I wonder if they keep the letters with all the chicken scratch on
them…all the aspirations of all these young guys that really want to be
someone special….The Question is how bad do you want it?
We reached a night that we called So
Solly night. Thurs day night of Hell week that you might think you got it
licked until you still here that damn bell ring three times. I remember bits and
pieces about that night. We had to use our paddles to dig a pit earlier in the
day. We had to get in and out of the surf zone many times during that day. We
lined up on the surf zone facing the horizon and the Instructor said" Say good
bye to you friend the sun” You people isn't gonna like what's next its gonna suck!" And
it did After setting up our boats as shields from the drizzle we were invitee by
the instructors to come over by the fire and warm up. What is this are they
gonna let us get dry …is this it? Well for a bit they ask qustions about us
…We get fooled into believing that we are accepted for a bit then the hammer
falls ….Mr Olson do you have a full muster. No why not take your people out to
the surf zone and then we get hammered again. I don’t rmenmber if we were
clothed or naked then …I just know that I made myself just in the mind set to
get to the next evolution.After a while being surf tortured we got to go up near
our boats and we had to try to keep time and have someone say it is 1400 hours
and 15 minutes and all is well at Camp Surf by the Sea, But not all was well
…I had lost a dive sock and had my boot on my left foot with no sock on….My
heel was ribbed raw with a blister that covered my hole heel. I remember at one
point one of my classmates who always looked out for us came around to our boat
and checked on us he saew me shivering and put his arm around my shoulder and
said “hang in there Quig” He became our class leader because the other
leading enlisted guys did not have their shit together…he was asked if he
could lead the class and he stepped forward and said I can do it and those of
you that know Don Shipley know that he can do what he says he will do.
After the blister opened up on the back
of my heel I really started to slow my boat crew down. My buddy Randy Roush was
a roll back that was an asshole to me in pre-training but he carried me thru
Hell week. Up until an Instructor who I think was dave chapman said “ Hey Put
that man down” Randy had me on his shoulders and was running thru the soft
sand until we reached that check point. That is a part of Hell week that I felt
ashamed about…literally being carried thru hell week was not something I was
proud of. Then we were at the demo pits and those rope that go over that nasty
ass water that has the bugs that bite at your crotch and your legs are sandy and
chaffed from the saltwater. But now we had to face someone on the ropes…All I
could think was please please don’t call my name and a couple guys get up
there and start going at each other and the Instructors are swinging the ropes
and laughing and then kerplunk another tadpole drops down in that nasty ass
water…Smoke flares are going off and an occasional grenade simulator and then
I here it. “Lets get Quigley on there up against Mr. Somebody who was a Naval
Academy wrestler and a mean SOB. It started civilized until he brought his feet
up around my waist and my feet went up around his waist
and then he started punching me to try to make ME fall down in the water. Well
my sisters taught me well…if you are losing a fight and you feel all is lost
grab the persons hand and bite it as hard as you can. So I did….broke the skin
and everything and he fell right down in the water. Damn cake eater…I bet to
this day that frogman has a scar on his right hand where Dan Quigley Bit him
during hell week on the ropes over the Demo pits.
The mud flats really seemed like a blur
to me as well. Yes we rolled around in the mud for what seemed like hours but by
then we were on autopilot and there was not much more you could do to us….I
remember going to the chow hall one last time and then after the chow hall we
would go right there by the enlisted mans club in the bay to do our business.
Yes that s right. We would lock arms go out in the bay about face and then we
got the dreaded order “Take Shits” and if you had to go you would let it out
and there was no sense in being squeamish about the turds that might be floating
toward you. We were locked arm in
arm and we were forming a strange bond that was different than any other you
might have had in your life. Then we got out of the water and went to the other
side of the NAB Armory and we were told that we were soup sandwiches and
that we were gonna get surf torture and this was Friday right after chow and we
waited and waited in the bay and then we heard the call….Class about face and
we see what seem to be about 30 or 40 dignitaries brass and the head of BUD/S
come out and say Class 131…you are now secured from Hell Week. Well done” At
this point you turned to the classmate next to you some hugged some high fives
some hand shakes and some cried but we had made it thru Hell Week . We did it
and we knew we were someone special.
The officers went back to the BOQ and
crashed. The enlisted married dudes went to their apartments and slept. The
single guys crashed out in the barracks and we slept until noon the next day .I
remember being so groggy for the rest of the day Saturday and Sunday and Monday
we were in Classes studying Cartography something I had never heard of. We also
were planning to get ready to do something all tadpoles love to do. Get wet. No
really we were getting ready for cast and recovery. The Special Boat Unit came
into play during this part of training. They would get an IBS and strap it along
side a boat that was not much bigger than a basic ski boat. We got all decked
out in our UDT life vest and swim shorts with our balls hanging out cuz we all
ahd big balls that made it thru hell week or so we thought we did and we got to
wear our wet suit tops at night but during the day it was just the shorts the
vest and our dive booties and fins. We would begin our training back in the bay
during the day and I remember the day well….In our boat was our Instructor Holloway
who was our first phase instructor who once led PT while Van Halen was blasting
in the background. We all loved Instructor Holloway. Now my heel was still raw
from hell week and when we did our first cast and recovery training I was
feeling a little sandy. Cast and recovery is a blast. You move around the inside
of the big grey boat and move onto the edge of the IBS and when Holloway said go
you put you hand on your goggles and rolled into the water. It was a rush and
then you wait. !5 twenty minute later depending on where you were in line the
boat comes back and it looks like it is coming right at you you just make sure
and put your left arm up and when that rubber circle hits your arm you kick like
a muther to get back up in that IBS and keep crawling into the bigger grey boat
and you are good to go! Holloway said hey Quig you got to get up in the boat
faster you almost made us miss a guy…I told him my heel was bothering me….Surprisingly
he said Ok you want to sit this next one out…I said yeah I think I better as I
sat in the boats and licked my wounds my classmates were ready to go again …So
we dropped them all in the water and it was only me and Holloway on the boat and
he said Quig get over here …”You are gonna have times when you are injured
and you still have to complete the mission. If you want to stay up here on a
boat we can arrange that for you as he looked over to the ships right across the
bay” So what are you gonna do. Hooyah Instructor Holoway I
understand….After picking up the guys I
got back in line shuffled off the grey boat onto the IBS and out into the water
I rolled…When the boat came back to get me I kicked like crazy got into IBS
and then back on boat and looked up and Got a smug hooyah from Instructor
Holloway. Will never forget that day. You might have to work in pain but you
never quit. You keep a going just like the poem says.
Hydrographic reconnaissance cartography
and making maps from dropping a weight with a string on it and then counting the
number of knots on the string to record the depth or the sounding on a plastic
board really was not that great. I have to admit I peed in my wetsuit to keep
warm more than I tried to get an accurate sounding for the person that had to
draw the Cartographic maps we were supposed to present to the instructors. I
really just could not wait until the boat came back around to scoop us up and
get us out of that water that was getting colder as we were heading into Second
Phase which was Dive Phase the first time I attempted BUD/S Training.
It was right after hell week that we
could wear green t-shirts instead of white ones. We also had our own Clas
t—shirts that was mad at the T-shirt shop in Coronado that makes all the Class
Our shirt read
“On the Seventh day God rested, We didn’t “
1984 UDT SEAL Training Fall Class.
We got to wear that shirt with pride. We wore them out in town and we
wore them to the enlisted club on the naval Amphibious Base.
One night we went to the club and at the end of the night we could not
get everybody in the car. I was left out and there was a cute lady in the
parking lot who said I will give you a ride home. I laughed at my classmates as
we rolled out the gate. I told her that she could just drop me off right there
in front of BUD/S and and she said “Well you don’t want to go home right
away do you “ as she put her hands on my left leg as she was driving…I knew
then I had made the right choice and said Well we can go to the beach if you
want. “I know just the place” she smiled.
Ok so this did not happen to me in high
school or when I was in the regular navy in Gun School…but now I was in UDT/SEAL
Training and my life really was different. I felt different. I carried myself
differently I really could lean back and strut…little did I know I had only
begun my long journey with Naval Special Warfare. I did not know what was coming
next but I did not think it was gonna suck. It did . it tore my heart out. It
humiliated me …or I humiliated myself. Poor choices I made dear reader or that
you have made as well in your youth. Or perhaps you are seeking to go down the
path that so many have tried and failed at. Make sure you don’t let your
littlehead do thinking for your big head.
Make sure that you have put all other desires to the side and that you
are focused on training and not all the glory that comes with it even when your
just a little tadpole.
So then we get to second phase and it is
getting colder there in Southern California. We started off doing free accents
in the dive tower. Diving down to the bottom of the dive tower and breathing
compressed air and then stepping out of a bell housing unit and blowing all the
way up to the surface ….and if you were not letting air out during an ascent
the instructors would be on you like white on rice pulling you back down in the
second bell housing unit. Then in the classroom we were studying dive medicine
and diving physics….wait a minute!!!!! …no one told me about the
math….perhaps someone did I just was not listening.
My friend and Classmate from gun school Bob Hall told me that I needed to
study but his wife set me on a blind date with a beautiful brunette from El
Cajon named Annie. Oh my she was lovely. I remember not studying and not
finishing dive problems before we ever had any exams and they were coming.
Before we knew it we had twin 72s on our backs and we were treading water with
them on for two minutes and that seemed like an hour. We practiced ditch and
dawn at day and night with your swim buddy Al Morinaka was my swim Buddy and I
did all I could just to keep up with this California kids that was as tough as
nails and could swim like a fish. I
remember nights at the NAB pool and we were diving and I was humming to the
theme song to James Bond into my regulator. Then came the dreaded day. Dive
physics exam followed by pool Comp and I failed the diving physics miserably. On
the day of pool comp it was getting later in the day it was still sunny out but
the storm was a coming. I got ot the edge of the pool and One of the Instructors
said …I got this one! GMG1 Dobstaff I been waiting for you Quigley”
Prepare to enter the water…ENTER the water….When I first got down
there I was cool…he came down and took off my mask ….I calmly put it back on
…but then came the storm…he ripped off my mask and tore my regulator out of
my mouth I was fine until I ran out of air and reached for my air valve and
tried to put regulator in my mouth…I freaked and tried to get to the surface
as he was kneeing me in the chest for my own good so I did not have an embolism.
I got to the surface all tangled up in my regulator and was told Totally unsat
FAIL . I got another try that day and It was with a different Instructor
but I di the same thing and I ran out of air while trying to ditch my tank on
the botton of pool. The ride home in the cattle car began my deep humiliation. I
looked over at Mike Freishlag who had a time with pool comp but he passed and he
always would read a book during down time .The next day we were pulled aside as
well if we failed the dive physics exam …I was given one more chance to pass
pool comp by then I was so freaked out that I did not know which way to go but I
came up to the surface again and they said fail.
I was devastated. I was always comfortable in the water
as long as I was able to breath what was on the surface. So I suggest to
you dear reader that if you want to hang out with the brave and the bold you
might want to take a basic scuba course. Get comfortable in that water and trust
your equipment. The good air is down there. The sharks and Instructors are at
the surface and they are just waiting for you to show a little weakness. So I
did not quit…I never rang the bell but I knew that I was going to be dis
enrolled or rolled back to another Class …I did not get lucky this time…I
was on my way out and I went be sent somewhere I never felt I should be sent to.
The quitters barracks…Yeah such harsh words…for guys that in a moment of
weakness let their thoughts get the best of then and they rang that bell. It
wont allow then to be frogmen but they are tough or fast or smart as hell but
this really messes with your head ..I had been with some of these guys just
weeks earlier at the middle of hell week…Joe Quinn broke his ankle in hell
week at had to ring out (but that was only first try for Joe) He was already
haze gray and underway by the time I got to the barracks….I stayed away as
much as I could….I resented the fact I had to muster with the quitters and I
stayed off base as much as possible. Annie was my savior….She took me to La
Jolla to try to surf she took me to Disneyland. She was awesome…She did not
care that I had washed out of BUD/S, But I was awaiting orders then they came in
.My orders were to SDV Team One NAB Coronado and believe me I was confused as
hell. I get to SDV Team one and
they ask me in personnel “Are you a frog or a tech” I said to the guy Come
again He said Are you an operator or a technician and I replied that I really
did not know . “Oh you failed
out of BUD/S but they sent you here anyway. Iwas then sent to see Joseph
Yarburough the acting CO of SDV team one and he said why in the hell are they
sending me dropouts from BUD/S well you here but I don’t like it a bit.
That about says it all Welcome to the Teams kid but you don’t deserve
to be here. Well lets go get your
gear. What gear Im just a technician yeah but you need uniforms and we need to
get you a room in the barracks. Even when I got all my gear I felt guilty….I
did not earn this stuff …The Parachute back the camouflage blanket, three sets
of cammies brand spanking new and black boots not boon Dockers. The only part of
that damn uniform I felt I had earned was the green t-shirt but I really
was embarrassed to be seen in my cammies around the Naval Amphibious
Base. I went to the chow hall and then my Class came in I was too embarrassed to
speak with them and some may have even asked hey what's up with the
uniform…where did they send you. Hell I had not realized that I was sent to
the Teams even though I should have been sent to the fleet like everyone said I
would be. I avoided the chow hall like the plague and the e-club was now my
lunch place and mc Donald was my kind of place too I think I had a filet of fish
every week for over a year. After I went home for Christmas in 1984 my life was
rapidly changing. My parents were going thru a divorce and I was stationed with
a bunch of guys that earned their way to the Teams and I felt like an imposter.
My first roommate on SDV Team One was Greg Flores. He was in Class 128 with Bill
Sadilek the nice Ensign I wrote about. Petty Officer Kregger was the First Class
in charge of the Armory where I was assigned …he was not too enthused about me
being there either but It did not stop them from taking me to the shooting range
in Imperial Beach . This was 1985 and we used to load up a van with a box for
weapons and a box for ammo. they were locked and I remember thinking that
I would hate toi be the dumb as that tried to rob this van. Petty Officer
Kregger was a guy very sure of himself and he was very willing to teach you a
thing or two at the range as long as you knew to be safe and shut up and listen.
We had shotguns, Heckler and Koch MP-5s, and
MAC 10s that we could shoot as many rounds as we had .
It was all so informal. But even so these guys were safe so don’t t do
anything stupid or you wont be coming to the range. Hey Quig…put this flash
suppressor on this 9mm bareeta and shoot ittry to push with your right and pull
with you r left don’t pull the trigger squeeze it so I did….and I was a
pretty good shot. Hell I had great teachers and they were not yelling at
tme they were just explain what they already knew..
I am not sure if I volunteered for the
change of command ceremony in 1985. I know that Petty Officer Klein was in
middle with the us flag and we had Navy colors and then two riflemen….I was
one of the riflemen. We wore chrome helmets and I was proud to be a part of the
ceremony. Thing is…it still did not change that I was just a tech on SDV-TEAM
One. My depression got worse…During upcoming Fourth of July ceremonies I was
told that I would be working the weekend when all the operators do their
demonstration in the Coronado Ship Harbor across from the high rises. Everyone
in the Spec War Community would be there. I just thought of it as another time I
would run into old Classmates of mine that I really felt dead to….I was not
planning to go to the “celebration “ I was planning to fly to Denver for the
weekend” Or so I said I was. So I decided there was no other alternative but
to go AWOL. That’s right Absent without leave. Big offense!!! I started in
Coronado and planed my escape from a place I used to alwys go and get the best
tuna salads…I rode up over the Coronado Bridge and onto the highway and in a
few hours I was in Riverside, California.
I spent the night in a hotel up there and the next morning I woke up and
knew the die had been cast the ball was already rolling it was 0930 and we were
supposed to muster at 0730 everyday. Well not today I had a long ride ahead of
me. I knew I would not have any problems with my new Yamaha 400 Maxim. The thing
is I had never been on a long trip on a motorcycle before and I was ill equipped
and probably mentally ill. I rode all the way to Las Vegas Nevada and I was so
stupid in downtown Vegas people kept pointing to my head and I did not
understand they were just trying to let me know that you have to have a helmet
on in Nevada….Nobody could tell me anything…it was like I had this self
defense wall up so high that I
would not let anyone in. I stayed in Elk right outside of LasVegas and started
to think of the severity of my actions but there was no way I was going back to
SDV Team One to be a water boy as I looked at it. So I continued on from Nevada
and then all day across Utah and then to Grand Junction in Colorado. I was home
with only four hours to go…Well I forgot that going over The Vail pass even in
June can get quite chilly….I had my wife beater t-shirt and regulation shirt
with Levis Jean jacket on. I froze my ass off going over the continental divide
and I stopped at rest area just to go to the restrooms to use the blow dryers to
heat up my hands and warm up. I got down into town and decided that I would
spend the night at my high school buddies house. The next day we went to my
house and my father was home. He just said, “Well, Dan Im glad you made it
safe and your alive but you have to go back” There has been a Chief Boward
calling for you. You have to go back Dan …this is not something you can
runaway from. If you get a parking violation or a traffic ticket they will send
you to jail and then the military will send you to jail.” You have to go back.
So I called senior chief Boward and he said Quig you got to get on a plane and
come back right away. My dad drove me to the airport and that was that. I
remember landing in San Diego and Senior Chief Boward was there in his civilian
clothes and I was only an e-3 and we had Liberty Cards then and I dug mine out
of my wallet and told the chief”I don’t guess I will be needing this for a
while” He just smirked looked toward the ground and said “ No you wont”
when we go to the car he asked What happened Quig. I just feel like Im the water
boy and Im not really on the TEAM . I knew I was right…I knew most off the
operators fresh out of BUD/S looked down on the techs…the more seasoned
operators realized that the technicians are an integral part of the mission
especially when deployed …the problem is I was assigned to the armory and
would not be deployed on a platoon…I would finish out my time right there at
SDV-Team one in Coronado and sometime I think if I had been wise I would have
finished my time right there in sunny California and left all that frogman stuff
to the brave and the bold. But I was young and dumb and I was determined to get
back to BUD/S .Even with my AWOL I had to go to my first Captains Mast and
Commander Ray Smith was the Commanding Officer. He asked me the same thing
“Why did you take off like this Seaman Quigley” I told him I went in the
Navy to go to BUD/S not to be a support guy in the TEAMS Commander Smith told me
not to get in trouble for 6 months and he would ensure I got back to training. I
got two weeks of Extra Military Instruction waxing trucks after work and then I
was not allowed to leave the base and I was
not allowed to go out to the E-club on base and I had to check in every
couple of hrs at the QTR deck at SDV-Team One…this is when our building with
the Swimmer Delivery Vehichles were locked up tight. My friend Todd Hansen was
an HT from Santa Barbara, California and he had the unique job of doing bodywork
on the SDV because the frogmen were driving a little aggressively and they might
bump into something once in a while. Todd had a room in the barracks but we got
a place in Coronado with another Navy girl that was stationed at the Naval
Amphibious Base. She was a Engineman 3rd Class and she had a southern
drawl and she had dated quite a few BUD/S trainees and frogmen over the years.
The US Army Rangers have a name for this same type of girl around post …they
are called Rangerettes well we all know what the girls are called that date one
or more frogmen. They are the lovely and talented frog hogs. That sure does not
mean they are fat either. This is when the trouble started and I saw so many
different aspects of what it was like to be a tech on the TEAMs.
Living off base and out of bounds.
I worked with a guy in the armory at
SDV-Team One who told me I could keep my room in the barracks and live off base.
We lived in a house in Chula Vista, California.
I would rely on one of the guys to give me a ride to the base each day.
One day I was walking off base and a girl in a white firebird came rolling by
with her friend and said hey “dan You need a ride or something?”
I should have kept walking but hey It was couple of girls that lived on
base I thought it might get interesting. Well it got more than interesting…It
got so crazy that I really do not know how it all went down. But I told the
girls I lived off base and Layla (I will call her) said she needed to find a
place off base. I told her I had extra rooms at our place and I told my roommates
about it and they agreed to let her move in. Well it was not before long she
asked one of her friends named Linda to move in as well. So as I recall I had my
original roommate and Layla and Linda and me. We drank and had parties quite a
bit. Layla had a guy stop by who was a great big Mexican Dude named Rico. I isn't
using his last name because he is probably still a contractor or a spook or
something. Rico knew Layla for a long time…probably since he went through
BUD/S . He used to always tell me “Dan , you be careful with her she is a man-eater
bro!” I told him I could
handle it. It was not until I stayed up all night one night cuz rico stayed the
night with Layla and I was taking more of
a liking to this Southern Girl.
So it got
to the point that she wanted to go to the e-club every night. So we went.
She would float checks on Thursday before payday and then they were paid by
Friday in her bank …I learned lots of bad habbits from Layla. Before
long she was sleeping in my room . Problem was she still did whatever she wanted
and I was too much of a wus to say wait a minute something is wrong here…I was
more afraid of being alone than I was of being with a chik that could not
stick with just one guy. Girl or guy we have all been thru this
relationship at one time in our lives when we knew that the person we were
dating or sleeping with was seeing someone else or just did not want to be in a
monogamous relationship. Then comes the next move.
We moved to a real nice apartment in
Coronado, California. I gave Layla $1000 out of some savings I had and I never
saw that money again. She said she needed space so we decide on a two bedroom
apartment in which she would go out clubbing I would stay home and then she
would come back and get in bed with me. I got used to it…until she would bring
guys from Class 138 home with her….More sleepless nights for my pitiful ass.
One summer evening I was following her home on my Black Yamaha 400 Maxim and she
was in her Firebird. A big blue F-150 pulled in front of me and I skid into the
back quarter panel and bounced off and hi the ground and laid there in fetal
position. The truck ran over the
rest of my bike crunched it up good and then the truck crossed the rest of the
street and plowed into a parked car. The cops came the ambulance came and then
Layla came down the street and all I heard was the clicking of her heels and the
nag in her voice that said simply… “Dan, What are you doing?” The guy
driving the truck was a sailor from the USS/Kitty hawk and I just wanted to go
home to my apartment where Layla was. I should have gotten into the damn
ambulance. The next day Layla took me to work and I had never been that injured
in my life I was bruised and my back was killing me. I had to go to the
infirmary on the Naval Amphibious Base and they set me up with a chiropractor.
That was only the beginning of my problems. Word may got out that I was living
with a girl that did not have the best reputation on the base. My friend Tom got
popped on a piss test and even some guys on the SDV team asked if I was smoking
it up with Tom. Well, I will neither confirm or deny using any drugs while being
stationed on the Naval Amphibious base. I
knew Operators from the SDV Teams and from SEAL TEAMS across the street that may
have smoked weed after coming back from overseas…others were Jesus freaks and
some were pill poppers and some were very straight laced. Nothing is as I
thought it was supposed to be…I had people that would trust me and say “Hey
Quig, Do I look stoned” Id say yes and that cologne aint fooling anyone
either….Hey Quig do you want to do a bump….”No Man I don’t want to talk
all night and lies to each other about how great we are. Hey Quig…have you
found Jesus and have you accepted him as your personal savior.” Well
lets see, I have been baptized I have been to communion and I have been
confirmed as a Catholic in the Catholic Church …Yeah I am good. But are you a
true Christian Dan . Yeah I do believe that when you tell people that you are
Catholic that you believe in Jesus Christ therefore, you are a Christian.
And we go around and around until the big day.
Hey Quig your orders came in. Your going
back to BUD/S this fall….better start getting ready…You aint gonna like
whats next ….you aint gonna like it a bit!!!
So I was living in Coronado, California
and I was stationed at SDV-Team one and I had my orders to report back to BUD/S.
Some of the same instructors were still there. I think they do a two year
tour as Instructors. Instructor Chapman was there. Lt Commander Keith was the XO
at BUD/S and the CO of Naval Special Warfare Center at the time was None other
than Commander Larry Bailey. Ok so here I am back in BUD/S and I know what is
ahead of us for all of first phase…And I knew it was going to suck. I knew the
o coarse like the back of my hand because I had not been away from it in over a
year and a half. In my mind I could go thru it from the bars to the walls to the
monkey bars to the dirty names to that damn tower that everyone had a different
way of ascending to the uneven logs that led to the slide for life that by the
way I dreaded because I did not descend combat style like the real bad asses. I
did it the hard way and then the weaver that was so hard to do wet and sandy and
that damn cargo net that if you were in front and no one else was on the net
with you was manageable and then the hurdles then the push ups and a big hoo-yah
for the o-coarse…Yeah I forgot the barbed wire and the order might be a little
off but things change …People hate that change.
the first two weeks in Class 141 led by a deep voiced officer named Tom
Wilson. This time around they tell you after the two week phase. “If any of
you want to walk away from training right now …there will be shame in
it…this might not be for you.” This time around I thought long and hard over
it…But you really don’t want that seed to sink in too far with you …too
easy for it to grow…and that one seed of doubt can grow into a weeping willow
tree. As I think it may have for me. I was there because I had a taste of what
it was like being on a team. The thing is I did not want to clean weapons and
count ammo. Most of the good operators did all that themselves and they could
clean any weapon better than I ever could. Back in BUD/S the weeks rolled on of
obstacle courses, log pt and run swim runs, surf passage and rock portage.
Before you knew it we were lined up in the compound the Friday before Hell week
and the Instructors were walking thru the ranks of our class and commenting on
weather or not any of us would make it through the week. There was an Instructor
that used to run our dicks in the dirt on the soft sand and then at the end of
the run he would be enjoying a cigarette. Instructor Ninno walked in front of me
and said “ Quigley, you got about a snowballs chance in Hell of making it thru
this week” I replied that I did it one and I will do it again. He said
“Well, we’ll see about that” Im glad he forgot about me and my smart mouth
during the week.
I had learned the expression in Class 131
from my classmate Randy Roush “If you aint cheating you aint trying” well I
never learned the other side of that expression….Just don’t get caught…If
you get caught in real life your dead if you get caught in BUD/S you will just
wish you were dead. This time around during Hell Week I was prepared for all the
mind games and noise and everything that came with it. I wore panty hose cut off
at the knee this time around instead of underwear to prevent chaffing. I had a
couple dry sets of greens to change into but this time around I had a different
plan…I was not gonna get into the dry greens every time they said go change on
Sunday night…I stayed in the same pair of greens the whole night during
Breakout of Hell week. It worked so well that I used the same pair of greens and
panty hose and I wore my dive socks inside out in my boots so my heels would not
blister. I ate more candy this time around and I hallucinated like crazy on the
long paddling adventures Around the World they called it. I even had a trick in
the chow hall that may have back fired on me a bit….I was drinking a lot of
hot water and hot juices in the chow hall…the problem is that the hot juice
was an apple cider and I would drink a whole bunch. The apple juice did a number
on me and I begged…begged an Instructor to let me use the toilet in the chow
hall cuz I had diarrhea sooo bad and I could not wait to get to the bay. Belive
it or not he let me go to the toilet and when I sat on that seat I thought I was
gonna pass like Elvis right then and ther.Then he told me to hurry up cus my
Class was falling out. I could here Mr Wilsons deep voice….141 Fall out…And
then we headed over to the bay to do our business. Once again we headed to the
steel pier where this time fewer guys quit during the night than when I went
thru in Class 131. We went over to the NAB pool and got to do our dives and lay
out at night around the pool and then there he was again that damn dude with the
hose making sure that we all had plenty of water, in us around us above us and
below us. We would make it thru the night and have breakfast the next morning at
the chow hall if we were lucky. Oh yeah when we headed out to Camp Surf by the
sea again we got to take our lunches with us and we were gonna have a nice lunch
on the beach…And then it happened the wind kicked up and the Instructors
yelled take cover we got a sand storm gentleman…And it happened a big plop of
the Silver Strand just went all over you nice bologna sandwhich and really we
had no choice but to eat it any way. Yeah that really sucked…I didn’t like
it a bit but I really did not look forward to the night ahead either. The sun
started going down and like I had gone back in time I heard the Instructors
say” Wave goodbye to your friend” The sun was going down over the
horizon and it was gonna be a long night…”Mr Wilson!!! Do you have all your
People…just take your Class to the surf zone.
You people are pissing me off…I heard
probly a thousand times and then that haunting So Solly .Laying in the surf zone
locked arm in arm with your buddies that you have been through so much with and
then they start having doubts. I even remember a guy named Miller saying Quig Im
done how bout you ..if they make us get back in the water again Im out of here
….Surprisingly I said yeah me too to him and sure enough I heard Mr Wilson hit
the surf and if your Class leader hits the surf the whole Class does. I heard
Miller rind that dreaded bell three times as we were headed out for some more
surf torture. I felt bad for him but secretly I felt a little stronger myself
and that nothing could stop me and nothing could make me quit. It was not going
to happen that way. Shortly after that those Instructors took a bunch of Pallets
and made a bonfire for us. This time I allowed myself to get close to the fire.
As I had been with my lifestyle for the past year on SDV-Team One. One of the Instructors
said Where is Quigley…Quig get up here and just show us what you got…Your
always out and about with all the ladies what is your secret …Just pull it
out…well I was not gonna be bashful so I dropped my pants and my panty hose
and they all just died laughing. I guess they had never heard of shrinkage yet
either. Then they were on to the next guy…a half hour later we were back in
the water. Next day demo pits and then the mud flats and once again those days
seemed like a blur to me. I do remember during the IBS Around the World tour I
di hallucinate and looked up at the beach and I saw a long line of drive in
Movie screens. When I looked toward the lights on hwy 75 and when looking out to
the water sometimes we would hallucinate and I saw fireball coming at me and you
could reach out and they would dissolve because after all they were not
real. They were only in your head …or were they? Would see them again
years later after being sleep deprived for days. But making it a second time
thru Hell Week was good and a real confidence builder but my personal life and
living situation was not conducive to a BUD/S candidates need to be focused
driven and level headed. I wish I would have kept my drama at the curb. I was 21
about to be twenty two in November of that year. I had earned another Hell Week
t- shirt to wear and this one had a frog with tennis shoes on it on the front
with Class 141 Born to Run. I did mention that we were the first tennis
shoe class and man did we catch shit for that…On the back was a picture of a
Frog Leaning against a wall holding a round bomb with a fuze with the
inscription…Lets Play My Way on the back of the t-shirt…We were a Fall
class…just like 131 and we had to do Hydrographic Reconnaissance the next week
and cast and recovery. This time around I had no injuries from hell week, I was
top five on the O course and my buddy Rusty Strickland held the record for
doing the obstacle course faster than any of us. Greg Hubley was my swim
buddy and underwater knot tying was kicking his butt. However in the end he
excelled. My friend Chance Hughs who’s daddy was a frogman from way back had a
hell of a time with tendonitis in his arms that killed him doing pull-ups and
going up that damn rope. We all had our aches and pains. We had to do Surf
reports and one time an officer put an example of the surf report he did on a
bulletin board and said if any of you do not understand these surf report look
at mine I posted them on the board in the first floor lounge. I decided to copy
the reports and there were two of them and be done with them without actually
sitting and observing the surf and the wave for about an hour and recording each
wave and then do a bit of math. Well I wanted to get home to Layla as always
although we had been fighting and she had been talking about moving in with some
dude who had just got out of the Navy and inherited a bunch of money. I told her
to go but my heart and head wanted her to stay.
My real trouble were about to begin the
next day when we were in Class and Instructor Woolard came in and was
practically running over where I was with two pieces of paper and yelling about
“The one thing we hate here is someone who is a cheater and today that cheater
is you right Quigley Where's Quigley Drop down what the hell is this not only
did you cheat but you copied the wrong paper to each surf report” Yeah
that If you aint cheating you aint trying came back and bit me right in the
ass!!! You have to remember the part about Just don’t get caught!!! I crab
walked out of the class room and the was told to hi the surf and make a sugar
cookie and then I came back to class wet and sandy. I still remember looking
over at my swim buddy greg Hubley who had a big dip of coppenhagen in and he
could sleep with his eyes open. During our down time Gregg pulled me aside and
said I want to tell you a story.
My story is about a little puppy down at
the railroad tracks in new Orleans. You see this little puppy love to run
along the tracks and he would watch the trains speed by. This little puppy used
to love to run across the track just before the train would speed by. It gave
this little puppy a rush and made him feel alive. One day the big dog sitting on
the side of the track warned the little puppy and said” You keep messing
around like that and your gonna wish you had not” Poor little puppy just
didn’t listen …he kept up running across that track right before the train
sped by. One day that little puppy did not get across that track because the
train came by and cut off his tail. He says to the big dog “Man .what am I to
do big dog I lost my tail and I want it back. Big Dog says you better not worry
bout that tail and stop messing round with those tracks
”Well Little Pup just could not listen and the train was coming and the
pup went to get his tail and the train came by and chopped his head off this
time. Now Dan, what is the morale of the story…its obvious. Never lose your
head over a little piece of tail. I will never forget that story however at the
time I was too far gone to stay away from the track.
In Class 141 we were all ready to start
second phase which was no longer Dive phase it was land warfare phase. We got
trained in rappelling on the wall near the obstacle coarse using what we called
a Swiss swing. Very Uncomfortable nut scratching piece of rope that you looped
around your legs and pulled up through your groin area and tied it off around
your waist with a square knot. Good thing that was one of the knots I knew how
to do. Then we hooked a carabineer on the Swiss swing and used some GI type
green rope to rappel with. This was fun as long as you did not do anything
stupid and have to do it wet and sandy. I managed to stay dry until I got to the
hell hole at the top of the wall. I jump thru that hole and threw the rope out
problem is my gloves were too big for my girlie hands and I let go of the rope
when I threw it out the second time and I went straight on my back to the
ground. I was not sure of the names of any of the Second Phase instructors
during that time but one pulled me to the side and filled my shirt with ice
water and I got to watch the rest of the rappelling off the wall. I think I was
more embarrassed than hurt.
We geared up to go to Miramar for
rappelling with full gear M-16 and ruck sack , river crossing , and patrolling
tactics and land navigation. This week was a pretty tough week. The name of the
game was to try to stay dry as possible. We had long runs and at the end of the
run was a rope you had to stay on …I remember that my hand were freezing and
it was such a bitch just to hold on to that rope at the until the end of the
course. Before we knew it we were getting ready to go spend 30 days on San
Clemente the Island of Romance. There were good and bad times out there. We ate
good…we did fifteen pull ups and 15 dips and we had to climb the rope before
each meal. We crammed up one night and crawled up into small Black Helicopters
and practiced insertion and extraction. The instructors had bags of flower that
they would throw down upon any squad that was not being stealthy enough. and
they would drop the flour on the back of your legs. The air from the helo blades
felt like the skids were landing right on you but we knew not to move. If you
came back with flour on your greens your squad hit the surf. We did runs on San
Clemente that seemed to take forever but the one thing that really stays with
you is the 5 mile swim around from the research pier and back around to BUD/S
compound. I had never seen so much kelp in my life and that damn water was not
toasty warm it was fricking cold. This is really bad but I can not remember who
my swim buddy was out at the Island. I can see his face but cant remember his
name. I just remember finnaly getting to the end of the swim and stumbling up on
the beach and I had to pea soo bad that instead of pissing on the beach I pissed
all over my hand that were freezing. My hands always gave me problems in
training .Perhaps they would have in Dive Phase as well if I ever made it back
to pool comp that I was still dreading down the road.
We did on line fire during the day at San
Clemente. We shot M-14s, M-16s andM-60s. I don’t even remember the hand guns
we used. We got to do on line fire at night. This was a rush. The thing is when
you get done at 10 that night you have to stay up late and clean your
weapon…during that time your supposed to be studying every aspect of that
weapon…muzzle velocity, weight type of round it fires and the weight of the
weapon. We were told to clean our weapon and know our weapon. Most of the guys
in Class 141 listened. A couple of us did not. I remember having to hit the surf
cuz my m-16 was dirty but I just figured that with a white q-tip a few of us
would get called out anyway. Well I did not bank on the test we were about to go
through that I never thought any of us would fail. But then the Instructors
started talking about safety violations and blank rounds being in some of the
automatic weapons….Now I knew all these procedures…Always when you approach
a weapon ensure you look down the barrel to see if any rounds are in the
chamber. The Instructors would be asking you questions while you brake down the
weapon if you got that far. You were allowed two safety violations but if you
stuttered and showed weakness or answered in the form of a question you might
attract attention to your self…I approached the M-60 and lifted the cover and
the slide went forward and the blank round in the chamber popped “That’s
One” and then the barrage of questions what is the muzzle velocity of the M-60
rifle? Dye dye dye and that’s two get out of here crab walked out of that
building on san Clemente only to find my friend Scott Abbett standing out there
next to me. Now Scotts father was a frogman too. He had a lot of pressure on him
to get through training hell we all did. But they told Scott and I to pack our
shit we were going back to Coronado to see if they were going to roll us back to
Clas 142 or disenroll us from training. That flight back to Coronado was
humiliation all over again. The next day or so we dressed in our inspection
uniform and stood tall infront of Commander Keith at different times I was
rolled back into Class 142 but I later found out that Scott was disenrolled from
training and I know he was devastated his father Art Abbet came and picked him
up at BUD/S and I will never forget the disappointment on not Mr Abbets face but
on my buddy Scotts. I would not find out until years later what Scott went on to
accomplish. But I knew I was a roll back on thin Ice and I would have to start
second phase over with a winter clas that was lean and mean and led by a young
Officer named Tom Dietz…I don’t remember the leading Petty Officers but I
knew That my old Buddy from Gun School and Class 131 was going to be finishing
Hydrographic Recon soon and we would be back in business. I remember a Chief
Horner coming up one day and saying Oh my Quigley and Quinn back together again
just like old Times eh. Well I was off to a rocky start.
During my down time Layla and I had split
up and she moved in with a guy that had just got off the Teams. I went on leave
for a couple of weeks and I came back and I noticed things were different and I
was talking with my buddy Randy Roush and I was arguing with him about Layla
because he was saying shes no good for you etc etc and I said Hey she is just
moving in with that dude its not like she is marrying him…he quickly retorted
with “She already did Quig!” My heart sank I felt he had punched me in the
stomache. It was terrible it was awful I lost all hope of us getting back
together.I lost hope of that crazy girl coming back to me. I hated her because I
had been in lust with her I thought it was love but it was lust that’s all.
Weeks went by and she did not contact me but then it happened …we met between
The end of Coronado and imperial beach starts. It was there that she tried to
hide the big rock that that ex frogman bought her. It was
a $4000 ring that I could not stand to look at. The thing is Layla was
crazy and she still wanted to see me. Like the fool I was with nothing better to
do I met her at my place in Coronado, I met her at my friends place in Imperial
Beach, I went to the house she was staying in and jumped off a balcony to get
away like a theif in the night. Yeah I was a creep with no self-esteem or couth.
I went as far as to tell her that I hated to see her with that wedding ring and
to take it off…when she did I slid it in my coin pocket of my Levis and when
she accused me of stealing it I told her to check my pockets in wwhich she
didand found nothing. She said Joe is gonna kill me when he sees it gone. Good I
thought cuz your killing me Lady!
The first day I was to start up with
Class 142 I was late to an inspection. I had gone out the night before and I was
drinking too much and I stayed out late with a “friend” of mine who said she
would wake me in the morning. I got back up to the BUD/S Compound when I saw Mr.
Dietz and the boys crossing over 75 on there way to the chow hall. I once again
had messed up while on thin ice. Being late for the inspection was somehow swept
under the rug but it was definitely not forgotten. We went thru the rappelling
training at BUD/S again and jumping thru the hell hole on the wall and then we
were off to Miramar again for the river crossing ,patrolling training and land
navigation. It was out at Miramar that I was pulled aside by Lt. William
Koenig. “Quigley, get over here!
Do you know a guy named Soto. I said yes I did…”well he said that you been
seeing his wife and that you stole her wedding rings “ Is that true? No sir he
does not know what hes talking about….there was a long pause as he looked me
dead in the eyes and he leaned forward to me and said” You don’t like
yourself too much do you Quig” I did not know how to respond before I did he
said” Get out of my sight”. I did not redeem my self much until a day
later when we were learning patrolling and hand signals and we started receiving
over whelming fire. the officer wanted to keep us down in the water but I was keeling
at everyone to get out and run out of there I was rear security and I felt like
I took charge. Lt Koenig noticed and said :Who is rear security on this
squad?... good job getting everyone up out of there. That was a very rare time
in BUD/S that I really felt I was doing things right. I lasted until the end of
the week where when I returned to Coronado I took the wedding rings to my
friends apartment and I told them to tell her they found them in one of the
plants near the night stand that she set the rings on. Yeah I dodged that bullet
but then I was pulled aside by our proctor a guy named Frank Bosia and he
basically told me look if you have these problems here in BUD/S you are going to
bring these problems to the Teams and we really don’t need this kind of shit
so pull your head out of your ass and get your shit together…I still was
arguing with him Oh well she was my girlfriend first before she was his wife and
she's the one who kept wanting to see me. Yak talk about letting all your cards
show I was bawling and Instructor Bosia was having none of it.” pull yourself
together go wash your face or something ..I don’t know what but I knew That
was strike three and the day before we were going back out to San Clemente
Island I was called to put on my inspection Greens and report to the
Quarterdeck. I knew I was not gonna like what was coming up …it was gonna suck
and I was not gonna like it one bit. I was led into a room with Lt Koenig,
Commander Keith, Petty Officer Bosnia and a few others I cant recall. Commander
Keith began the meeting with it has come to our attention that you have been
having problems in training therefore we are desenrolling you from training and
you will be sent to the fleet and perhaps you will have matured a bit by
then…or something to that effect. ‘Do you have anything that you would like
to say on your behalf” Yes sir I would. “I Have been in The special Warfare
Community for over two years and I never quit this training I never gave up and
I want everyone in here to know that” Ok your dismissed I did a left face
walked to the door opened it up swiftly and I slammed it as hard as I could . I
heard someone yell Hey!!! And then I ducked down into the janitors closet as I
saw three or four frogmen jogging out into the compound looking for me..After I
saw they were gone I ran to the barracks and grabbed my hemet and painted it all
red….nobody was gonna put my hemut under that damn bell I did not ring it .
And then I finally went to the infirmary a little office outside of the old
barracks and I sat on a bed in there and I was crying uncontrollably telling one
of the Cheifs how I never quit this training and there must be something wrong
with me I just couldn’t and would not accept it.So they agreed to send me to
North Island to talk to a therapist and he said there is nothing wrong with you
young man you are just distraught about being kicked out of BUD/S. The following
day I pleaded with Commander Keith not to send me to the quitters barracks I
just could not handle that. He agreed to send me to the Transient Personnel Unit
and I got to work for a guy at the Naval Amphibious Base Armory. I was cutting
the lawn at the Armory and I noticed a ceremony going on up the beach a ways
when I realized that it was Class 141 Graduating from BUD/S and I had to tell
the Armour that I just could not stay I had to get out of there right
away. he understood and I did not have to return to work until the next
day. I got on the phone with a Master Chief in DC and I was telling him I though
it was crazy for the to send me to the fleet after I had been in the Spec War
Community for so long. Well he disagreed and said we will send you where the
Navy needs you ..I knew I was back in the black shoe navy and I better get used
to it….I never did. I thought I was too cool for school. I hung up on the
Master Chief after he told me I was going to a ship he said you will go there
and I said we will see about that and I hung up on a Master Chief…I should
have Thrown in the brig for that as well. But he had better plans for me.
Vieques, Puerto Rico
That’s what my orders read. In the
meantime Layla got in trouble with the US Navy and was busted from an E-4
Engineman to an E-3. She also was
confined to the base for a while until she was processed out of the Navy. Being
the broken man that I was I still wanted to take her with me to Georgia. The
Plan was that we would go to Colorado and pick up my motorcycle and stop in
Kentucky to see her folks and then go to Georgia for Layla to meet my sister and
my Mother. Then she wa going to drive back to California with the truck that I
was making payments on. I remember driving across the Rockies with a woman that
hated the mountains and hated being on the road just as much. I remember in
Denver my buddies were wondering what the hell I was doing with a girl like her.
They did not approve. I picked up
my bike in Denver and rode to Kentucky to meet her Mom…it was all so
uneventful….seemed like they did not even hug when they saw each other and
then we went to Grammas and Grandpas house kind of like we were going to see her
neighbors or something….oh and her dad…nowhere to be found…talk about
dating a woman that did not get enough of her daddy's attention…There you go.
And then for the final straw. We headed to Georgia where my sister Mary had her
figured out in within 30 minutes of meeting her. I really don’t remember my
Mothers introduction to Layla only in that it was awkward to see this woman that
I had loved and hated for a few years of my life meet this lady that I had loved
and respected all of my life. A few days later my Mom asked me to walk down to
the mailbox with her. Now my Mom lived in a house down
a dirt road off the highway and usually she drove out to get the mail.
Today she said “Come and walk with me” and I knew something was up .
Halfway down the drive my Mother said “Dan I have never told you to do
anything this way or thatbut I will tell you one thing….if you let that woman
take your truck back to California you might never see her or your truck ever
again” I said Mom you have never given me bad advice before so I will fly her
back to San Diego tomorrow. The next day we loaded up her suitcase in total
silence and we drove from Athens Georgia to Atlanta Airport in total silence.
When she got out at the airport she did not hug me or anything she just said Dan
maybe when you get to Puerto Rico you will grow up some. She slammed the door
and just like that she was out of my life.
I went back to my Moms and parked my
truck in the carport and my Motorcycle was there too the same bike I road when I
went AWOL. Before you knew it I was flying out of Atlanta myself. This time I
was heading somewhere I had never been before. San Juan Puerto Rico…well
flying it it was pretty enough…could see the beaches from the plane and then
we landed in San Juan right when the sun was going down …I took a shuttle from
the airport to Rosey Roads and I checked into P.S.D. and they said well we can
set up up for the night but this is not
your final destination…You are stationed on the island of Vijues and so you
wont go there until the morning…so I waited for the YFU as they called it and
a first class black shoe sailor with his gut hanging out over his belt came to
greet me and asked if I was Quigley. I said yes he introduced himself and I
still don’t remember his name…was a nice enough fellow but I was checking it
all out taking it all in …. We got on the ferry is what I call it with
civilian and military vehichles alike. I saw this guy in greens and he was
smoking a Marlboro Red and I said Hey Man can I get one of those from you…he
fumbled at his pocket and produced the pack and leaned over to give me a
ciggarrete and I said whats your name . Ed Hill he said …Where you from Ed?
“Isle of Palms South Carolina…Where is that …Right near Chareston …I
should have asked him “Where is Charleston?” I really probly did not know at
the time….I just knew I was headed into the great unknown.
When I got to Naval Ammunition Supply
Depot Vieques I really thought my life was over. Thing is my life was about to
influence two peoples lives significantly. I was an E-3 and I was assigned to a
room with four guys in it…We lived in one long barracks and we had a chow hall
and a mini ex-change and our admin and security was all in one building. The
Seabees (Ed Being one of them ) had a place to gas up the vehichles and work on
trucks and fork lifts. We also had a little enlisted mens club that all the
local Puerto Rican Girls would come to and dance and drink and have fun. I was
so gun shy that I pretty much swore off woman for a couple months. I remember
how great I slept by myself for the first time in years on the La Isla Bonita (Vijques).
There are two main towns on Vieques. Isabelle Segunda and Esperanza. We had a
daily excursion to Isabella Segunda and Esperanza and at first the Island is
quite lovely. That is until you get the vibe that all the locals really does not
want the Navy There and they only tolerate us for the time being. I got that
vibe real quick and pretty much stayed on base and went to the enlisted men's
club to drink Jack and coke and eat shrimp scampi and talk to Carmen who was the
One day while I was down getting one of
the trucks fueled up I ran into Ed Hill again. He had told me that he did some
underwater welding at a school in Europe and how cold the water was but he had
to do it because he paid so much to go to the school. I asked Ed If he really
like being a Seabee and he said it was pretty boring especially where we were
stationed at the time. I asked Ed if he ever considered going to SEAL training
…I don’t even remember what he said but I told him that if he ever did I
would help him to get in shape before he went if He was interested. Ed would get
nervous and beads of sweat would form above his upper lip. And I knew all along
that Ed was a bad ass and so I told him “The First thing you need to do is to
grow a mustache” “a Mustache he yelled what the hell do I want to do that
for. I said “Don’t ever let
them see you sweat the load” and with Ed they didn’t. We ran. Did push ups,
chase the rabbits, eight count body builders and we ran and did jump jacks and
tons of back flutter kicks and sit upsand dips and pull ups. I was only 155 lbs
Ed was 185. He slimmed down real quick. I was a running fool…Ed had a lot more
weight to carry…so I ran his dick in the dirt. Ed and I were the best of
friends. He had a girl named Winnie in Isle of Palms that he would call
religiously. She even came out to see him for a week or so. I had to go to
Roosevelt Roads to the Navy Exchange to get some uniforms and supplies. I did
not have much regular Navy clothes so I had to stock up and I was bout to be
frocked as an E-4. That’s right third class Gunners Mate in the United States
Navy and I still had it made in the shade I was not on a ship I was on an
Island. Kind of like San Clementes beautiful twin. It really was exactly
opposite of san Clemente but I dreamt of both of them often . I was at the Navy
Exchange and that is where I got in line and grabbed a magazine and started filliping
through it. I really noticed the white uniforms that this lady was purchasing in
front of me before I noticed her. Remember I had sworn off women for some time
because I was very gun shy from Layla. Well lets just say that did not last long
when I first saw this beautifully tan 5 foot five brown eyed beauty that stood
before me…I looked up once at her and she smiled at me. I quickly looked back
at the magazine only to look up again and ask her…are you in the Navy?
“Yes she said’ Wow I thought you were a local or something. Thanks I
think she replied…You not stationed here on Rosey Roads are you …No Im over
on the Island of Vieques … Oh yeah she said” I heard about you guys over
there” Then we were both flirting yeah what did you here knowing that I was
just another blackshoe on an Island of Misfits that really did not want to be in
the Navy anymore of just got sent there by bad luck ….or was it good. Maybe if
you come back for a few days I can show you around the Island. That sounds
good…then there I was again. And I don’t even remember getting her name.
The next time I saw her she was there at
the Baskin Robbins getting some ice cream. Yeah I tried to play it cool and
prtend I did not see her but before I knew it we were engaged in a conversation
that she asked if I could come over to the mainland for the weekend and she
would take me to El Yunque and the beach in Luquillo. I was all for it..so
Friday rolled around and she picked me up in Fajardo. She had a two or three
year old girl in the car with her and I asked is this your girl and she goes no
its just a friend of mines girl…do you like kids and I probably answered with
the usual smart as answer of “Yeah, sure as long as they are someone elses”
Gail was gorgeous. She was charming and she would look at you when she spoke to
you and she always seemed generally interested in what you were saying. The
first place I remembered going was to El Yunque and then Playa Azul in Luquillo
Puerto Rico. Gail lived at 2103 playa Azul right on the beach in a high rise.
Yeah I had died and gone to heaven. I remember opening the drapes in her
apartment and the ocean breeze came in off the beach and you could hear the
ocean and the waves rolling up on the beach. We basically hung ou thte first
night and I remember her giving me the couch. The next day we walked around the
market in Luquillo and I got a few things. That night we got ready to go to a
club right off base and Gail wore
a dress that I will never forget. She was short and curvy and tan and she wore a
red dress with two holes on each side that shoed her perfectly toned sides. Yeah
she was all that and we drank and we danced and had a great time. When we got
home I still go the couch. I was intrigued though …The next day out of all the
things we had to go to a wediing reception and I rememeber meeting a few a Gails
friends. Later that evening she took me to Fjardo so I could catch the YFU to go
back to Vieques. Then I was back in the barracks and I went to talk to Ed Hill
and I told him …Hey man, I think Im in trouble. You see I met this girl on
base and so on and so fourth and then Im back in the thick of it all. Well this
time I was gonna be smart about things. That is not what happened. I wnet back
to Rosey Roads on a weekend to get frocked as a third Class Gunners Mate and I
was in the barracks right there by the bay on base….Little did I know there
was a Special Warfare Detachment right there at Rosey Roads. I was at the
barracks one evening and I heard a familiar voice from the past. It was like the
first Sprinsteen song I ever heard coming from the mouth of my old Class 141
swim buddy Greg Hubley. “What in the hell are you doing here” No the
question is what are you doing here Quigs…Im stationed on the Island of
Vieques. ‘Greg said he was right down here doing some training on Rosey
Roads….He didn’t say Special Warfare Detachment or Seal Team 4 he just said
im down here doing some training. We talked for a while and talked about old
times and how things were so different since we had got out of BUDS and I
expressed that I really hated the regular Navy but It could be worse I could
have been sent to a ship. Greg just said Hey Quig, being on the TEAMS is great
and all but one thing is you are still in the Navy. Now I have heard from others
that Greg Hubley was a good operator but he just was not that hip about being in
the Navy. He had other things in mind. Brian Schadd was also there that night. I
did not know Brian that well and I only remember talking to Greg for what seemed
only about a half hour…he had to get some zzs because they had to get up early
…I didn’t have to get up early …I just had to go to a frocking ceremony
get my crow and head back to Vieques the next morning.
So I continued to see Gail and we grew
closer. I went to her apartment one night and she offered me some champagne and
I said sure and popped the cork…I then offered her some and She said no I cant
have any it might hurt the baby…I choked on my champagne and spit most of it
on her carpet and choked down the rest…and I said Baby she said yeah Im having
a baby. I said well you know how I feel about marriage and I know how you feel
about marriage…what are we going to do. Well I'm pregnant and I'm having this
baby and its mine. Ok well I just want you to know that if you need or want
anything just let me know. I just want to have this baby. Ok .
When I went back to Vieques the next day
I told my good buddy Ed Hill what happened. He was talking about child support
and all and I explained that she did not want my help. She wanted to have a
baby. I did not know the half of it then but that is a part of my story that
leads to the much bigger picture that I have been searching for throughout my
life. Sometimes we really need to take ourselves out of the story and just look
at the many ways or lives touch other lives.
Gail waited to do most of this on her own so she only called me if she
had questions about my family history with mental health alcoholism what my
blood type was etc. I gave her any info willingly. I remember being on watch one
night and Gail called and asked me lots of questions about my family history. I
answered all of them as she went thru the questionnaire. After the conversation
was winding down she said “ I really did not think you were going to answer
all the questions” I basically told her “That’s because you really don’t
know me that well…I meant what I said that if you ever need anything let me
know.” I tried to go over and
see Gail a couple of times during her pregnancy but one time at work she
wasn’t feeling well and asked me to not come by her work…and to top things
off I showed up one day at 2103 Playa Azul in Luquillo and one of her
“friends” asked who I was when I asked if Gail was there and she quickly
came out and said Dan you cant be here you really need to leave.
It was all too familiar …the rejection
the assuming that things are like this in your head but in reality things are
different. I went back to Vieques and I put things together in my head and once
again I was back down in the pit. I am pretty sure I drank everyday and I must
have gained ten to fifteen pounds drinking beer and Jack and cokes. On Vieques
we worked in the bunkers counting outdated ammo and then load it on a truck and
move it to another bunker using trucks and forklifts….So I had become a
proficient forklift operator…The funny thing is I remember a lot of operators
on SDV Team one saying to people they meet “Im a forklift driver” but they
were using that as a cover… I really had taken on the roll. We had a two week
period in which we were really humping and bumping to get some ammunition off
the Island and onto a few ships. We would load the ammunition over cargo nets
wrap them up and then a long pole extended to the belly of a helicopter would
come in a scoop it up and fly it to the nearby ship. I was only a third class
Gunners Mate then so I did a lot of banding up the ammo on pallets and getting
it ready but this one Second Class Gunners Mate stole the fun of hooking the
ammo onto the helo. I wanted to do that…little did I know that I would get my
wish soon enough.
In Vieques I did get to lead PT in the
morning. I loved that but these were a ragtag bunch of guys that were really
ready to be out of the Navy or off the Island of Vieques so PT was always short
and sweet with them. I still made sure I smoked them on the runs and rub it in a
little bit by being back at the finish line smoking a Marlboro when all my
Island Buddies got back from their walk /runs. I continued to work out with Ed
Hill and before you know it he had got his order to go to BUD/S . NOW, this is
one thing I am really proud of. I had talked Ed Hill into ditching his Sea Bee
outfit and go try something that I knew beyond any doubt that he would succeed
I went over to Rosey Roads at the
Hospitol to give blood. While standing in the foyer I saw a short pretty girl
pushing a stroller up into the doors of the Hospitol. I was leaning on the wall
and I froze and my knees went weak and then she saw me and I saw her.
It was Gail and she said simply “Hey,
Dan! You want to come over and see the baby “ I said Yeah sure if you want me
to…and she said of course. I knelt down and she said this is Alexis Renne. I
was speechless but manged to say she has the most beautiful blue eyes I have
ever seen.Gail said without a delay “Yeah, she got them from her daddy”
Ok so Im not a smart man but I was
totally confused …before you know it she said ..well we got an appointment and
my van was leaving to go back to the YFU and over to Vieques. I had about three
more months and I was getting just a bit too comfortable on Vieques. I could
have extended a year there and finished my Navy tour there . But I remember I
joined the Navy because I wanted to serve my country and travel around the world
and learn about different cultures .How was I going to do that if I stayed
there. So, I made a decision that I was going to face my fears of going to the
regular Navy and go on board one of those ships and before I knew it I had
orders to Charleston SC. When I was processing out I had run into Gail again at
PSD. She and I got copies of our orders hers to Brunswick Main and Mine to the
USS Santa Barbara( The Patron Saint of Storms) and there was a storm coming.
Gail and I went to the Naval Exchange where we met and had lunch. She talked
somuch about how Alexis had features so much like mine. “She has long fingers
and long toes and she is growing so fast etc and I was so full of emotion with
all she was telling me trying to keep my poker face or lack thereof and then we
exchanged copies of our order to get in touch if need be. And just as she had
picked me up 9 months earlier in Fajardo she dropped me off on base to go back
over to Vieques. I was about to go see what it was like to be a real Sailor.
The USS Santa Barbara AE-28
So just as I started in Puerto Rico at
Rosey Roads and was in the wrong place the same thing happened in Chareleston. I
had to wait a couple of weeks for my ship to come in and I was told that my ship
could not pull into Charelston Harbor and that I would be meeting up with my
ship at Monks Corner, SC. Ok so I don’t know much about the regular Navy and I
was wondering why my ship could not come into the Charleston harbor and then I
just reasoned that it had lots of ammunition on it that would not be safe to
bring into port near a metropolitan area. So I hung out in Charleston with all
the other lonely squids and I frequented the strip clubs their. I was convinced
that a stripper downtown was in love with me…I just could not figure out why
she kept wanting me to buy a 100 dollar bottle of champagne and go to the back
room. I found out later in life that there is no sex in the champagne room.
Before long I was ready to report to my ship.
The first guy I met on the pier that day
was a dumpy looking dude named Wyatt. Yeah I have a memory with
names…unfortunately so do others I have run into during my experiences in the
United States Navy. One thing you don’t want to hear too often while in the
service is your name …try to stay as low profile as you can. I checked on
board the ship and the guys in personeel did not know what to think of me.All
they saw on personell records was BUD/S…SDV TEAM ONE….BUD/S ..Roosevelt
Roads then The Santa Barbara? They did not know what to think but scuttlebutt
goes around a ship faster than fire in the engineroom. I knew better than to
claim to be a SEAL because that was beat in our heads at BUD/S not to claim to
be something you were not. Even at SDVTEAM ONE they issued windbrekers with a
Trident on them that I refused to wear because I never earned that trident. Some
of the techs wore them and I looked at them with disdain and probly even said a
snide remark or too.
My new shipmates did not know what to
think of me. I was a third class Gunners Mate with no Maritime experience. I did
volunteer to form a color guard and that came in handy when we finally deployed.
Most of June and July we spent loading stuff on the USS Santa Barbara. We had
get to gethers before we deployed but they all seemed geared toward the guys
with families that were deploying…I felt I had little in common with most of
the guys I was about to do a 6 month cruise with. It was 1988 and I was on the
back of a ship with a hole bunch of ammo on the back and they gave me a gun …a
barcode reader that they told me don’t look at the infrareds light
and don’t point this into anyone's eyes. Every palet full of bombs
ammunition ordnance etc We ant you to scan…Easy enough right. Never been so
bored in my life and I was out there from 9am until 8 pm loading pallets…All I
had to do was scan them and that song came back to me” I want to be in the
frogman Navy don’t want to be in the black shoe Navy I got balls and Im much
to crazy black shoes are much much to lazy” Ok so not in this case. The guys
on my ship worked their asses off and did not get a lot of credit for their hard
work…Not that my inexperienced Sailors eye saw at first. There were other guys
that drove the forklifts which I never cared for that much. They would drive
them from the helo pad thru the bay doors and to the middle part of the ship.
Then one of the guys would open up the cargo doors and load the ammo…pull
across a safely wire and then yell something to a second class that was waiting
down in the hold for the pallets to come down, Then they would unload the
pallets and put all things in like a puzzle securing them with aluminum
There was so much more going on on the
USS Santa Barbara that I did not know about. But I found out very fast that it
is better to get along and go along than to try to be an individual on board a
ship that’s about to go on deployment.
I had so much to learn before our Med
cruise (AS they called it) and that’s what I thought it would be like…I was
in for a rude awakening. I tried to carry around a tablet with pen and take
notes when I saw a certain type of drill going on unless it was general
quarters. I took notes while watching a division doing a fire drill and I took
notes when I watched the security team break out shotguns and forty five during
security alert drills. Thing is people started making comment like I was Naval
Investigative Service…Almost got in a fight with a young E-3 and he said “I
aint afraid of no SEAL pussy!” So basically I had guys thinking I was a SEAL
and an NIS agent and I really did
not tell many of the guys my story. But on a ship scuttlebutt travels like wild
fire and loose lips sink ships and mine was about to go down …that is after I
got to visit some places in the Med. The trip over took 15 long days. We left
out of Monks Corner and near Charleston under the Cooper River Bridge and we
were off. Yeah, Haze grey and underway and I was wondering what the hell I had
got myself into this time. I had been frocked as an E-5 weeks before we deployed
so I did not have to stand too many watches on duty days. There was only one day
on the way over to the Med that we hit rough sees and so I tried to get to the
middle of the ship face forward and ride it out. After a while the seas calmed
and I felt fine stuck my head outside and got some fresh air. One of the signal
men told me about going on the top of the ship above the Signal mans Shack at
night and check out the stars. I Had never fell so small in my life looking up
at all the stars and I had never been able to see the stars so vividly in my
life. It was one of the few things that helped me keep my sanity on that ship of
fools that I felt I was on and I was the jester…especially after what happened
I was put in charge of the ordinance
handling crew. These were basic
wires and cables and cargo nets that we would wrap around bombs or crates of
ammo and fly off the back of our ship by helo and transferred to another ship. I
had four guys working with me three third class Petty Officers and one seaman. I
found out I could take University Class while out at sea so I was taking an
American history class. On a
calm day out at sea somewhere we stopped out in the middle of nowhere and we had
a crableg fiest on the back of the ship. One of the Chief allowed us to get the
shotguns out and we were shooting skeet of the back of this ship. Ok so my black shoe
views are beginning to change just a bit…Ok so its not a MAC 10 but I am no
longer in Kansas but I'm okay. for now that is.
We went thru the Straights of Gibraltar
and everything seemed a bit calmer on board. The water was turning seemed to be
turning a more bluish green and it was not as windy. Then we were going to our
first port. Aplace called Bandol, France. Then we went to San Remo, Italy. I did
not understand why we had to anchor out in a harbor and take a Liberty Boat from
the ship to the dock. I did not know what we may or may not have on board out
vessel….No really I was in the dark again. I volunteered to be a part of a
Color Guard and this was a privledge . So one thing I learned from SDV_TEAM ONE
I took with me here. We Used two M-14s American Flag and a Navy Flag and I
insisted on being one of the rifleman because I got to teach this other young
sailor how to have sling the rifle around from order arms to right shoulder
arms… you kick the rifle down at your side kick it with your heel on the butt
of the rifle causing it to swing back and then with momentum of it going forward
and the help of you left hand you swing the rifle up to right shoulder
arms…The two outer rifleman are doing this maneuver simultaneously and looks
very sharp. We had to form our Color Guard once and March down the streets in
San Remo I think it was and people were lined up on both sides of the street and
they were clapping and saying things in English like welcome Americans…this
was surreal this was like a fourth of July celebration in October. We marched
all the way to a Ctholic Church where we lowered our rifles and went into the
church and lowered our flags and went to port arms. And a semi parade rest
during the Mass…ok so this was all very familiar to me and the other Gunner
Gonzales because we made the sign of the cross even though we felt strange about
having the flags and guns inside the church during this mass. When the Mass was
over we went out the same way and the same thing people lined the side of the
streets while the Color Guard and selected member of our shipmates marched
behind us back to the Liberty Boat and then we went back to the ship.
Another night we were in Naples Italy and we went to a place that had a
live joust and then someone came by and asked if we wanted our picture taken and
they would ask and even if you said no they would take it anyway. I don’t
remember if I had learned something in BUDS about not letting people take your
picture overseas. but I remember being very uncomfortable with it. I think it
was a night out in San Remo where things once again went sour.
I decided it might be ok to get to know some of my shipmates better and
go out for a few drinks at a local
squid hang out….one thing led to another and an Older Salty Dog Hull
Technitian didn’t seem too like my conversation came up to me and my friend
that I was talking to and He had his long ass skinny finger around my throat and
was telling me he was gonna kill me”. Now,
I have been known to piss off some frogmen in my past and I got lucky that I did
not get my ass kicked then. Well lady luck saved me again and a black guy that I
did not even know came to my rescue and got the Salty Dog to release my skinny
ass and I feel to the floor probly starting back into my rant about how much I
hated the regular navy and black shoes. Thing that I did not realize then is
that I was a black shoe now and I did hate myself for letting that happen…If I
only would have not been such a wise ass , If I only would hve been more of a
team player than an individual ….If I only would have only stayed in the
barracks at BUD/S and studied instead of chasing the girls on and off base.
Ended up we all had to go to Captain Mast in the next week…well I was two for
two One Color Guard and now a Captains Mast …I was very familiar with this.
The thing is this time the Captain asked what I had to do with this and I just
told the Captain that the salty dog grabbed me around the neck and choked me and
said that he was gonna kill my nigger ass.” Yeah we were all confused as well
but we were sure that he was yelling at me and choking me but directing the
racist comment to the Brothers that I was smoking the Newport's with. The guys
on the ship could not believe that I repeated verbatim to the Captain exactly
what the Salty Dog Hull Tech had said to me. Our Captain was not having none of
this and he took a stripe away from that Second Class Hull Tech.
One day I was in the break room and I was
smoking a cigarette. A voice came
up behind me and it was that Executive Officer LTCMDR Ed Jones and he leaned in
and asked me with his big Grinch smile. Hey there Petty Officer Quigley where do
you plan to put those ashes?” I slowly sat up in more of an attention position
and I tapped the ash into my palm and looked up at him” He just shook his head
back and forth and said “Carry On then” On Sundays we had mass on the Ship
and Ed Jones always attended mass…however he was not to hip on singing….I
always sat next to the Senior Chief of First Division and proudly sang with him.
LT CMDR Jones had run into me once during an Ammunition moved and asked me if I
wanted to be on the Personal Reliability Program and I told him I did not know
what that was and he smiled with his Grinch smile and said it is the program
that allows you access to all of the cargo holds on our ships and being that we
may or may not have had nuclear weapons on board I knew what he was asking of
me. No really I never knew whether or not we had that on bored. But I found out
that I was put on the PRP program by Ed Jones but I did not know that until
We had a lot of characters on board the
USS Santa Barbara that I loved and I hated. We had the Wise brothers, a Senior
Chief Boatswains mate and his son were onboard. A Second Class signal man that
was a conscientious objector. I even wrote a letter for hin to get out of the
Navy because I figured if he was fighting with me and was not willing to shoot
anyone I really don’t want him on my six if you know what I mean. We had guys
that may have been alcoholics and guys that probably were. Hell I went to a few
AA meetings myself until I realized that I was an Adult Child of an Alcoholic so
I stopped going to the meetijgs and let myself go on that technicality however I
did stop, drinking, smoking and I was dipping for a short time until I gave that
up as well.
I really started to make a change…I
started to iron my shirts…polish my boots…set the example for my guys…I
started studying a lot in my history books from class and my Bible and I started
reading into all the songs I had sang in church and I really started to look at
everything in more of a literal sense….No this is not the part of the book
where I say I found Jesus and I think you should too but this is the beginning
of the end of my short stay on the USS Santa Barbara.
My friend Noche kept on telling me “Quig all I really want is a six
coarse meal” Everything and anything that anyone said to me seemed to be like
something I needed to remember or was intended to be a hint or a a guide to what
I was about to go thru. I was not sleeping much and I was finding work to do all
over the ship. I would work out constantly and I was sleeping very little. I had
Quarterdeck watch one night in Cartegena Spain. I had on my dress blues and some
boots that I had worn with my cammies at SDV Team one that were broken in just
right. I had my pants tucked into my boots for some strange reason and I did not
have my p-coat on. I had a shotgun slung over my right shoulder while on watch.
It was the midwatch and I was on high alert…I was cold as hell but I was dry
so I knew that I could handle it. I kept on looking out at the harbor and seeing
these small boats in front of the ship in the harbor and I refused to believe
that they were fisherman. For some reason I started to think that they were
there on purpose and perhaps they were watching us .Then something strange
happened… I was so cold and could not go back to the berthing area to get my
p-coat so I started praying on watch…Come Holy spirit fill the Hearts of you
faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love …before you know
it my prayers were answered. Some people might say heightned awareness some
might say spiritual emergency but
I will just say that I prayed and got instant gratification and I was no longer
cold. I felt as if electricity was flowing from my lungs to my feet and I cried
because for me that was justification and proff that there is a God that some of
us seek for …No this is still not the part where I ask have you found Jesus
yet .Thats is your business…The profound effect it caused me to cry because
all along I had belived in God and now I had a lttle more to believe in. I
wasn’t out of the woods yet or off that watch because an old
EOD/SEAL that just happened to be on watch that night with me asked me if
I was alright I proudly wiped my eyes and said Senior Chief I have never been
better. I pulled my self together and then about 4 in the morning when my mid
watch was nearing its end I saw a sunrise that forever changed my life…no I
wasn’t the born again Christian…no everything has not gotten easier since
that moment but it was at that moment I realized that I better keep believing
that I can be someone special. I just have to find out what my mission will
be…First I had to drag myself away from that sunrise and that total euphoria I
was feeling and try to get a couple hours of sleep.
So the next day or so were kind of
blurry. My guys let me take it easy on a day we were supposed to be doing
Preventive maintenance on the Ordinance Handling Gear and Noche made me sit
relax and listen to some music with his headphones…I sat and I wept and they
all just did their work and guarded the door and let me cry.
I blew it when I took my briefcase which was really a cassette holder
full of notes that I had been taking on the ship to the Weapons Officer and told
him to please hide all my note for me and I would explain it to him some other
time. Well just as Instructor Bosia did at BUD/S when I lost it this Lt had to
let the new XO know that there was something definitely wrong. I was informed by
the Master at Arms that I was to report to the XO's office and wow this was all
too familiar. The XO, the first Division Dept Head, the EOD/SEAL Senior Chief
and the Weapons Officer and the Chief Corpman were all up in the XO office.
TheXO said Please have a seat Petty Officer Quigley…so what's been going on
the last couple of days the Weaps is saying you want some of your notes locked
away and the Senior Chief saw you really upset on watch the other night …is
there anything we need to know about? And being the young energetic young man I
was I was eager to tell someone what happened. “I was praying on watch the
other night because I was so cold and I prayed that the Lord would warm me up
and then it happened…What happened replied the XO…I was warmed up …TOTAL
silence in the room Is there anything else Petty Officer Quigley you want to
tell us. Yes, There is a God and he is
coming again soon…Well that is all he needed to hear and he calmly said Petty
Officer Quigley we would like you to go and talk to someone about this
experience . We need you to get all your things together and bring it to the
infirmary tonight and tomorrow we will send you to talk to someone about this.
So the Master at Arms came with me helped
me get all my stuff together all my uniforms civies everything and bring it to
the infirmary where I would have to spend the night in a room with a Corpsman
whose name was Loupe… we sang about Loupe in SEAL Training … Ok so at this
point nothing is coincidental…everything is for a reason.
When I first met Loupe that sweet girl of
She swung to and fro from the Old Garden
The crossbar flew open the upright went
And ever since
then shes a welcher of sin
So I had not been sleeping at all why
would I be able to sleep tonight especially
since Loupe was in the room. The thing is the Three first classes that worked in
Weapons Division were to spend three hour watches with me. It was Clark and Pendergras
that I remember. Randy was worried about me He did not know what I was going
thru but I knew that this was Hell Night and I had to stay awake to make sure
Loupe did not try to kill me or something…I was a bit paranoid. During the
middle of the night I found a box of choc covered cherries underneath my bed.
Well…nothing is coincidence and just as we ate lots of candy in hell week I
decided that I better eat the candy that happened to be under the bed in the infirmary
under the bed on board that ship that may or may not have had nuclear weapons on
board. I ate all the candy and stayed awake all night. I realized that Loupe in
the song is only there to derail you from your studies and keep you from your
dreams. Sweet cherry pie must be the reward but I'm still trying to figure out
how it fits into the grand scheme of things. When I made it thru the night and
woke in the morning to take a warm shower I got out of the head and walked by
Loupe and asked him “Why are you here Bro?” He just looked up at me didn’t
say a word and walked out….that dude always freaked me out.
So then my Chief tells me I have to go
get on a helicopter and go talk to someone and I was too paranoid to
get on the helo…. I thought someone was going to put a grenade on it and we
were gonna crash etc etc until we got in the air I was fine and I heard the
angels singing was probably Christmas music in the helicopter but this was all
so surreal. I looked around the helicopter and others were on the helicopter
even that scarey little alcoholic Chaplain that was on our ship….I guess that
skint headed bastard was going for some counseling too.
The Gig is Up!
When I first got to Rota Hospital
everyone was nicey-spicey. I remember a doctor asking a lot of crazy questions
like “So Mr Quigley what is going on with you?” I tell my crazy story and
tell them about the glow I feel in my chest and yes I am totally up in the ether
so I kind of figured it was their job to bring me back down to solid ground.
They asked me what time it was and I told the guy I had no Idea he told me the
time and then ten minutes later he would ask me again Mr. Quigley so what time
is it now…I answered again with a smile I have no Idea. So I was put in a room
where I was told to lay down and relax and then they came in and said they had
to give me some shots…Foe some reason I was like sure no problem and I got two
shots one on each cheek right on my buttocks…That’s when the fun
started…they said now we are gonna lock this door is that alright with you Mr.
Quigley. Sure I was a feeling good and really wasn’t feeling too scared of
anything. So I ws lying there noticing the hole in the ceiling tile and a pipe
going through the other side of the drop down ceiling that’s when I saw the
tiny little red dots in the dark where the pipe was…I was a little concerned
but somehow I knew that they must have been monitoring me to see how I would
react. Then I feel a gust of air
come at me and I saw what looked like a fireball come at me and I reached out at
it and It dissipated ….just like in HELL week when we hallucinated on the boat
we just reached out to the apparition if you will and it would disapate….So
then I said “Whooo, that was real scarey” And I was laughing or chuckling by
then and I wanted them to know that I was not scared. Then to top it all off a
young African American nurse came in and she was so pretty and she had a gap
between her teeth that you could drive a truck thru. The other thing is that I
noticed a redish glow coming from two spots
on each side of her head that gave off a glow like she had
horns…That’s when I basically said Man You guys are really tripping me
out now but I was still relaxed and laughing…She asked me again if I wanted to
contact anyone in my family and I told her that I really needed to handle this
on my own, Yeah I had lost it a bit I thought it was some kind of
mission….some kind of test ….some kind of evolution that I just had to push
thru so I kept going.
The next stop was my very own room with
my own bed, bathroom, shower and a little bell that they explained I could use
if I needed anything. Well the first visitor was a very tall Doctor with a
Spanish name who really seemed interested in exactly what happened on board the
ship. He had Two nurses with him One was friendly one was not….Must have been
the good cop bad cop routine. Anyways. I remember explain my story again and one
of the Male nurses had a tear rolling down his face. The other nurse would
hardly look at me. When they left they mentioned the bell and that if I needed
anything…someone to make my bed….someone to get my ice for my water all I
had to do was ring that bell.
I was able to order the type of food I wanted and There was a part where you has to circle M for mustard K for ketchup …S for salt and P for pepper etc…Well remember I was still out in the ether a bit so they had to continue to bring me back to earth. I was asked if I wanted to shower and I mistakenly said yes. Now strange bathrooms have never been a favorite of mine but I could not for the life of me get the room temp water coming out of the shower head to get any warmer and wouldn’t you know I basically had to take a cold shower and I think I used lotion on my hair instead of shampoo…When I got out of the shower I took a good look in the mirror. I had a two day shadow and then I looked up at my eyes and that is when it happened. I heard a sound and the mirror seemed to come out at me a bit…So I was not really ready for that one….I avoided the mirror the rest of the time I was in the bathroom. When I went to go pee another drippy thing happened. I hit the toilet ok but the rim seemed to move away from my feet. So the bathroom was not a pleasant experience. Then I dried off and went out to my bed to eat and I remember feeling like everything I did was being watched …like there was particular order in everything I was supposed to be doing including the order in which I ate…I was never taught proper etiquette…but I do remember my buddy Noche on the ship saying…”Quig, All I want is a seven course meal.” So I thought there must be order in eating everything. I ate meat, starches then vegetables last….I had a nice slice of tomato in which I sprinkled salt on and ate and I swore I felt stoned as a jellyfish after that.
To top it off a nurse came in my room and
he started to talk to me really fast and before long I was laughing and then I
was cracking up….man what was in those brownies I had for desert!!! He left
and then I noticed that my bed was still unmade so I have to admit .I rang the
bell one time …And the male nurse that was not very friendly came in and said
Plain as day…”Yeah, you just ring that bell” and that is when I figured it
out. This was all about making it to the next step…not giving up and letting
everyone do everything for you this was about getting myself better and doing
exactly what these people said in order for me to get out the funny Farm…and
no It aint funny one bit….I took the bell and put it in the corner…and I was
saying I aint ringing that damn bell again. Then when I needed some ice water I
went tout and asked the nurse if I could get some ice for myself …she said
sure and told me where to get it and I helped myself…The Lord helps those who
help themselves…I had always heard…Then there was a some young kids in the
other room playing a board game and I sat with them and played and when they
left there was a guy behind the curtain who did something to his knee and the
Doctor came in and did something that made this guy howl like a wounded Elk and
I felt sooo bad for this guy…I call this Compassion therapy…Then back to the
dillusional Billy Squire like Everybody Wants Me and there is a really pretty
nurse outside my room for the night…She kept saying out loud he better get
some rest tonight he is really gonna need it. I'm thinking this nurse is gonna
visit me in the night etc and so goes my mind. But I go to sleep with
a kickstand and wake up in the morn with the same. Then the good male
nurse comes to get me and says today I am bringing you to some different
showers…Now I want you to take your time in there especially if anything comes
UP… take care of it. So I did…that warm water hit me and It was like I was
15 years old and with all the time
in the world. I took care of things got out of the shower and the guy was still
there and he handed me a twin
blade razor. He said I have to be here while you shave…I was like suit
yourself and then I got all dried off and they gave me some really cool hospital
jammies and a real nice robe and they said well we are gonna send you back to
the states but first you go to Frankfurt, Germany. I stayed the night there and
then they sent me to Ft Gordon, Georgia. It is an Army post right near Augusta.
That is where my story continues…
The next few months would be a blur to
me. There are some things that are crystal clear and others are as murky as the
water in Lake Hartwell in the
summer. There was a certain nurse that greeted us that looked so familiar like
if I had seen her before in a cartoon type strip that I had read before …where
I do not know but I just said to myself do as your told and all will be fine and
for the most part it was ….There was group therapy in the morning and
occupational therapy in the afternoon….After a while they even let us go to
the mall and walk around in the morning before the damn stores opened….Now I
wanted to be special but not this special. We also got to go bowling…to this
day I bitch about going bowling for my sanity….We also played volleyball and I
was so out of it I thought the guys that were doing maintenance on the gym were
there to watch over us…Might have been for all I know.
We ate good at Ft Gordon. Three squares a day and that must have been a
part of the healing process although I did not know it a t the time. I ran into
a girl I knew in the Navy whose boyfriend was in BUD/S around the same time I
was there. He was dis-enrolled after pool comp at a 120 foot bounce
dive where he could not clear and sustained ear squeezes. This guy was well
liked by his classmates and just could not clear. The question is how did he go
on after that? I would like to know. I made a phone call to Gail and a guy
answered the phone…Oh yeah I knew it was coming ….I asked who was that
….Oh that was my fiancé John…Oh well I just wanted to call and let you know
I was stateside ….Look I don’t want to take up your time I better go …Ok
well I will talk to you soon….Ok so I am in here and she is out there so who
is supposed to be the crazy one….Well only time will tell on that one…That
was probably the day I started dipping again …I wasn’t going to drink …I
really wanted to see if the drugs the military was giving me would help me out.
We had some crazy times in the hospital…played lots of pool and we
never missed a meal …It really was the best food Ive had in the military.
There were even times when I could leave the post…my friend Dawn took me out a
couple of times for pizza…I knew I was getting better when a guy came in fresh
to the ward and he was forgiving everyone for their sin when he approached me I
told him to get the hell away from me…I guess I had no compassion for the
recently blasted people…One of my favorites was a guy who told me about a trip
in which he took and the ground opened up before him and Satan revealed so many
numerological truths to him. The first was the usual barcode…”Check this out
Quig…all of the stuff is already marked by the number of the beast because all
the barcodes contain the number 666 in them” Ok so that’s not all he started
comparing New York to Babylon showing that they had same amount of letters in
the name…Yeah he was pretty out there but he was so convinced of all he saw in
the Bible and he saw that coming about. I don’t know what he was there for but
if you are in the military and you have a spiritual emergency, a psychotic
episode try to keep your wits about you and keep it to yourself.
I even got to take a cab to Bush Field
near Augusta and fly to Athens Georgia where my mother was living at the time.
Now nothing will bring you back to earth faster than being around family. I ran
into my cousin Carl and he was convinced that I was faking and I just wanted out
of the military…The thing is I did not know what I was faking …I just knew
that I wanted to go back to the ship and then put in my request to go back to
BUD/S. Well I was in for a big disappointment. The doctors had finally figured
out that I had manic depression…now called bipolar disorder. I think the
hardest thing for me to accept was that I really wasn’t normal. I was
different and now I had papers to say that I was. I was put on a temporary
disability list and was sent to Jacksonville, Florida to get processed out of
the Navy. Ok so BUD/S once BUD/S twice now the United States Navy was dis-enrolling
me from service. I spent a month in Transient Personnel Unit and work at the
hospital on base in Jacksonville until they sent me home to Athens, Georgia to
live with my mama.
So I got a letter from the Physical
Evaluation Board that told me I was rated as a 50% disabled veteran and a few
weeks later I got a letter from the department of the navy for 15,000 something
dollars. Ok, so what do I do next. I
sat around a lot …thinking..watching tv …smoking cigarettes …drinking beer
the usual suspects. I got bored with that and I started working for a temporary
service in Athens….They sent me to work the night shift with the Certainteed
Demolition Crew. Finally I got a job working in demolition. WAIT….The truth is
they gave me a sledge hammer and said we want you to go over there to that
furnace made of the thickest glass I had ever seen and we want you to bust it up
the best you can…After that we want you to load that into the wheel barrow and
roll it over to the dock over there and dump that in a dumpster…That should
keep you busy for a while ..Well I did that job every night for two weeks. My
hands swelled up my knees swelled up and I had never had to work so hard in my
life. I finally told the temp service I needed to find something else…Well
lets see Mr Quigley…what are you qualified for …what did you do in The
Navy….Uh I counted ammunition…ok great we will send you to a store to do
inventory or set up…well it was set up and it just kept getting worse Until
finally they found something that I really gave me a rush…working for Tilitski
Tree service in Athens. When I first got to the job site, I met Steve Tilitski
who was a soft talking good ole boy who happened to be a marriage counselor as
well. Never really felt too
comfortable around him but his foreman out in the field was a Vietnam Veteran
named Dale Norman. This guy was one tough and mean son of a bitch and we also
had a guy that drove the grapple truck whose name was Alan. Don’t remember his
last name but I remember he was a great big African American that showed up to
work everyday unless it was snowing and I don’t belive that it snowed one
during my short tenure at Tilitski tree. I started off like everyone on the
ground crew and we had to pile it up and Alan would load up all the limbs and
put in grapple truck and haul limbs away. The thicker parts of the pine were
left for a guy named Pulpwood Joe….He would always ask me what the hell I was
doing cutting on trees and why was I not in college…I said I never wanted to
go to college and he would say “Well, do you want to do this for the rest of
your life” My foreman Dale taught me a pressix not and how to get up in a tree
and cut your way down…He also taught me how to top a tree out in
tree that was coming down completely this was a rush. Tree work was good
as long as you had work …but like many other jobs the guy making the dinero is
the guy who owns the company.
I finally had my own place that I was
renting out on the Jackson County line right near the Goat BBQ place and the
railroad tracks. I had pulled an older 1970s Model Cobia boat out of a pond and
I had it on a trailer a guy let me borrow. I had plans of fixing that thing up
…it did not even have a motor on it but it had the windshield and a steering wheel
and a cable that ran back to a lack of an engine that I had…It seemed my life
was running like that as well. I wanted to get back to the ocean. My Uncle gene
lived in Myrtle Beach and that was probably one of the better moves I ever made.
I packed up my truck with not very much stuff just a sea bag full of clothes and
another parachute bag full of stuff. I think I traveled light in case my truck
broke down I could leave it and take my stuff with me.
I think I was out in South Carolina only
a couple of weeks before my Uncle suggested that we ride down to check out the
campus at Coastal Carolina University. I told him that I did not think I could
get into college because I never took the ACT s or any other college entrance
exams. After going down to the campus I found out that I had been out of school
long enough and I only had to register and I was in like Flynn. I came back a
week or so later and told them I wanted to study Political science because back
then I had big ideas about going to law school to study environmental law…oh
and I wanted to study Spanish because I thought I was fluent in Spanish …I
came to find out that I am not even fluent in English but I signed up for all
the core classes that I needed to and I attended every class my first semester
at Coastal…One of my worst decisions was to try to stay in the barracks my
first semester. That really did not go over well…however I did meet Ana Maria
from Peru…She was a hot Peruvian who was engaged to an El Salvadorian dude
that was not in the same school. We
were really just running buddies and we came close to crossing the line of
friendship but we did not. I needed to get some work at school and I got a job
working at the foreign language lab with a girl named Kristi Steinbrecher…another
hottie I had the pleasure of working with but we remained good friends probably
because we never tried to cross any friendship lines.
We had the best Spanish teacher in the
world. Professor Faye Taylor was loved or hated by many a student. Those of us
who applied ourselves excelled in her classes and those who did not we would
have to teach in the foreign language lab. The language lab had albums from the
60s with old Spanish songs on them Cielito Lindo
and Los Colores and their were also short stories from Spanish writers as
obscure as Horacio Quiroga who wrote the haunted short story “A La Deriva”
or Adrift…Quiroga was a writer from Uruguay…He was considered the Edgar
Allen Poe of Spanish literature due to his haunting short stories he had
written.Professor Taylor was studying Spanish literature since before I was
born…She came in the room and Said” You are the future…In this room I see
Ambassadors and Diplomats I see the future of my country”
I sat up a little straighter in her class…I dug a little deeper in her
class. I participated more in her class.
The Other Professor that was so
influential on my education was Professor James Hendersen. He was also one who
had studied Latin America and also was a professor at the University of Bogotá
in Colombia. He had very liberal
attitudes on legalization of drugs and he meant all of them. Another influential
Professor was a history Professor named Marco Denevi. Possibly one of the most
brilliant story tellers I ever met. He wrote everything down for you and then
you would write it down and regurgitate it on a test and boom-you got an A.
Might have seemed easy but the trick seemed to me in college was just to show up
to class…If you were listening and even got most of it you could apply
yourself and pass…So that is what I did. I took philosophy classes and
political theory classes and did well in them because I showed up to class. I
even took some Politics thru film classes in which I started to look at
everything much more analytically than as black and white as I did when I was in
the Navy. Most things are not black and white they are gray and it is often
difficult to find out and sometimes too late when you do find out what side you
think you are on. Perhaps I am still in the black and white frame of thinking.
But I’m a work in progress. I almost forgot to mention my class on
Constitutional Law which was a pretty touch class full of baby sharks that
wanted to be lawyers and they did not care whose feelings or grade was on the
line …they simply wanted to look their best for the Professor who was from
Highpoint, North Carolina. He had been at Coastal for a very long time. He set
up a mock court room in his class and you would have students acting as a Judge
and two opposing lawyers. They would argue cases like Plessy Vs Fergussen and
roe vs. Wade. Figures that I got Roe vs Wade and of course with my Catholic
upbringing I had to argue that a
fetus had a right to life liberty and happiness at the point of conception…The
Judge didn’t by it and I froze like a frightened young man that was about to
be chewed up by a colleague. .We even took a trip to Washington DC and saw a
proceeding of the Supreme Court. But my law school dreams had dissipated after
my encounter with the mock Judge.
So after college I was at a loss again. I
did not know what to do so I ran home to Mama again. But Mama had a new man in
her life that really did not want me hanging around…I spent some time back in
Madison County painting my mom’s house until I got a call from my sister Mary
who suggested I load up my truck and return to Colorado….So I did. It was Fall
of 1995…eleven years after my Navy Experience…I thought that once I
graduated from college all the dreams about BUD/S would go away…they did
not…same dream me standing there and watching my training class running from
the dive tower to the obstacle course and someone saying “Wave good bye to
your friends they are dead to you now” Or the repetitive dream about trying to
hold your breath during pool comp. Then waking up when you come up for air and
you wake up to the reality that you failed. It’s a hard pill to swallow. BUT
you have to move on ….Where is my success I wondered and how is success
measured I thought. Well I moved to Boulder, Colorado and I worked for a number
of different companies with a temp service. I did everything from clean the
tobacco stains and coffee spills off of audio books that truckers listened to to
working at a place that made ankle bracelets for parolees and people on house
arrest. I also taught Spanish classes while in Boulder County and I worked in
Louisville as well. Now Boulder is a college town and if you aint teaching
school or in school or brewing your own beer it may be a little difficult to fit
in. I had a buddy that had his own business in Denver so I moved down there. I
applied for a job as a teacher for a Charter School in Denver and I got the
job…perhaps this was the new avenue for me. Maybe this was it. Something to
define who I was. Or so I thought…I got a job at Wyatt-Edison Charter School
and taught basic elementary Spanish to inner city kids. I had a minor in
Spanish. I was teaching letters day of the week, months, songs, and poems to
kindergarten thru 6th grade students. I lasted one year teaching and
one day during lunch we were watching CNN and we saw a bunch of students running
out of a Jefferson County school. This was Columbine High school that I was
watching on the news…I used to swim against that school and now some young
kids with guns are shooting it up along with a number of their classmates….Our
school went immediately on lock down and we were in downtown Denver Public
schools and Columbine was out in Littleton. After that the whole idea of
teaching lost its flavor….Perhaps teaching was for the brave and the bold as
well….So I am gonna look around
again. I started to work for my landlord and he employed me doing everything
from painting the fences around the house to painting his office to doing mail outs
for his company and babysitting his son. I did it all. Then I applied to
graduate school at the University of Colorado at Denver and I was accepted. I
also got a job at the local grocery store and started as a bag boy and in a
month or so I was a cashier making about 14 dollars an hour. Hey things were
looking good!!!! I took most of my
classes at night and studied, Urban Politics, Communal Living, European Union,
China The Awakened Dragon, Hospice,
and a number of other classes that I don’t recall as well as my undergraduate
studies. I became involved with a group of people that met on a regular basis
and liked to dance salsa and speak Spanish neither of which I did very well but
I loved to try. I had friends that were undergraduates, PHD candidates and
others that already had jobs working for companies like US West/Q-West in
Denver. There were two friend in particular that I thought were either married
or a couple. One is my wife Nohra and the other was Carlos. Ended up Carlos was
just a good friend of Nohras’ . I grew tired of working at Safeway and I had
all the core credits I needed at grad school I just needed to write a thesis. I
guess you could say that is a work in progress but I knew change was coming …I
was 38 years old and I was living by myself and I hated it. I had so much free
time and I did not know what to do with myself. I quit my job at the store and
started working for a friend refurbishing houses. Yeah I was painting
fool…again. I got a call one night from a friend that I met thru our group
called Los Tigres and she told me that she understood what I was going thru and
that she was going thru a similar ordeal. So before she could say well I gotta
go I asked her if she would like to go to dinner….She said she was bored not
crazy…I responded with .Well does that mean yes” I suggested we meet down at
my apartment in Denver. She came down and we went to a South American food place
called Piscos. She ordered a mojito and I did the same and we had a great dinner
…or so I thought it was going great until we started talking about bipolar
disorder. Should be my favorite subject I live it every damn day. We took a walk
after dinner and I was pointing out all the Constellations I knew. Then we went
back to my place and we talked until three in the morning. The next day I
remember calling my mother and saying Mom. “I am in love” and I knew she was
the ONE that I had been looking for…waiting for…hoping for and I was not
going to let go
We started hanging out together on a
regular basis. My friend had thought I dropped off the planet. Brian and Randi
Driscoll had us over for dinner before they headed back to California. My best
friend Bryan Chik had been working at Midas as a mechanic. I had complained to
him about something and work and he stopped me and said” Dan , I understand
that you have a disability but what makes you think that you don’t have to
work like the rest of us” The money that you get each month is not going to
pay the bills …you need to get a full time job” I replied that I was
thinking about selling cars and he said ”You don’t know a damn thing about
cars…and I replied that don’t matter I love cars …especially new ones you
know with that new car smell …Maybe I can get a different car to drive home
every night…So I go to 38th and Wadsworth in Wheatridge, Colorado
and meet with a guy named Joe Aragon whose real name happened to be Danny. He
asked me …”So what makes you think you can sell cars …you say you don’t
have any experience…just selling door to door subscriptions to the Rocky
Mountain News. I told him that I knew about commitment, showing up on time,
working long hours and never giving up….I told him that I never sold anything
and I have no bad habbits like some of the other salesman that he might
hire….he walked out of the room and whispered something to some guy in another
room and came back and said”Im gonna give you a chance” But if you aint
cutting it Im gonna have to let you go. I would not FAIL.
I thought that joining the service I met
some real characters…that was until I got into sales. Talk about some boys and
girls that can tell some sea stories. We had Retired Army, college students,
high school dropouts and Young guys that just got their citizenship selling
cars. We had managers that used to sell cars in the 80s during the heyday of the
car business and they had all their stories about tripping over each other to
get to customers and having three car deals in a day. That’s called a hat
trick and if you plan it right it can still happen today. After getting into the
car business life really started coming at me fast .
I moved from my one bedroom apartment in Denver and moved back to where I
had started so many years ago sanding cars after school and then selling hotdogs
at the baseball field. I moved in with Nohra because we were spending so much
time together anyway we justified it and I was happy to be out of Denver and be
living with her. We had romantic dinners in her back patio with tiki torches and
we took trips down to New Mexico for her test she had to take to become an
interpreter and we went to Utah as well. We traveled together well and I always
heard that is a good sign . I was working at the car dealership when one night
about three in the morn we got a call from Colombia. Nohra was crying and she
said my brother is dead. We did not have details just that he had been involved
in a traffic accident and it was under investigation. It was heart wrenching. It
was surreal it was awful …there was nothing to do but plan our trip to
Colombia…I had not even met the family ….that meant I had to go meet thte
family during their time of grief. They were so welcoming to me….Nohras other
brother said I lost a brother but I gain a brother…Yes he was intoxicated but
he had just lost his brother. I have never had a brother …I would not know how
that feels. Nohras mother welcomed me with open arms as well. They took me out
of Bogota to the countryside. Colombia is nothing like you think it might be
.The people are friendly and beautiful and I do mean beautiful. We had a
Colombian BBQ that I will never forget . Nohra has about three other Aunts that
were helping getting a fire going to cook the Carne Asada …They were grabbing
cardboard and paper plates to fan the lack of flames we had to cook the meat
….We finally got it going…One thing I noticed about Colombian culture the
kids are not out of the loop when entertaining….the grownups sit around in a
group and the kids bring by hourderves …ours was red potatoes rolled in rock
salt and cut in half and served with guacamole and ahi (A Colombian hot sauce)
…Everything was soo delicious. I got the tour of Bogota and I got to see the
city at Night and went to the Candelaria distict during the day. We also went
downtown to the Gold Museum. We had to head back to Colrado for work and that
Christmas in Colorado was very tough on Nohra.
She thought of her brother a lot…she cried quite a bit…But we made it thru
those tough times because that is what you do with relationships….you never
quit on them either….you might think you can justify it but really if you are
committed to someone then you don’t quit. I remember we went to a wedding that
summer…Our friends Carlos and gaby pulled us to the side and handed the
bouquet of flowers to us…We know that you will be next and we did too…Not
until the summer of hell was over…
Gayle was having her own problems with
Lexy and decided that she should spend some time out here in Colorado with her
Bio dad as Alexis referred to me as. So I told her to come out before I
consulted Nohra. That was my first mistake. The next was to think I could leave
a then 16 year old daughter at apartment during my four hour shift at the
grocery store. Knowing that this girl was the female version of myself I knew
that I was gonna have problems. She stayed for a couple of weeks and then went
back to Florida. I would not see Alexis again until 10 years later.
I soon sold all my things at my apartment
and moved in with Nohra full time. It did not make sense to have my place and
always be at hers so she took me in. I had my 40th birthday and Nohra
really surprised me….she got all my family member to hide in the basement and
they came up one at a time to wish me a happy birthday…It was like This is
Your Life with Guy Smiley from Sesame street….That night after everyone left I
told Nohra I wanted one more thing for my birthday and that was her hand in
marriage. She said yes.
In August of 2006 I went to Bogota, Colombia to get married. It was like going to the Emerald city and we really got the treatment. I got a manicure, pedicure and a coif that you could barely tell I had gotten a haircut. I was married in a Catholic church in Bogota and after the wedding we were paraded around in a 1928 Model A Ford Convertible. It was surreal. People were waving and making comments about the gringo riding with my new wife thru the streets of North Bogotá. At the wedding reception we danced to the sond by Anne Murray “Could I have this dance for the reat of my life” . To this day that song makes me cry …something I have never been afraid to do in front of friends and family. After the wedding we went to Antigua for a week or so. I knew I was a lucky man then and I feel the same now. In May 2007 Sofia Marie came into our world and a year later Isabella Grace came early into our world….She spent 30 days in the ICU at St Josephs in Denver. I continued to sell cars until February 28th 2009 and that is when I quit…that’s right I finally realized that it was ok to quit trying to do something that I was only pretty good at.
I searched for three months to find suitable employment. I applied as a mail clerk with the VA Health Services In Cherry Creek and they turned me down after my horrendous interview. I then applied as a mail clerk for the Veterans Administration Regional Office right her ein Lakewood Colorado and that is when I met my new sansei Jason Rasmussen. He was in Ranger Battalion in Georgia and was injured before his Ranger training began. During our interview we did not talk about anything to do with the job…we talked about relationships and selling cars. Luckilly Jason used to love just to go to the dealership to test drive cars and not buying them . We used to refer to those people that came to the dealership as strokes….because they would lead you on to believe they were interested in buying a new vehicle but they just wanted to get out of the house for the day and come to the dealership to ruin yours. Jason hired me as a mail clerk and I worked with a young Texan named Joel Rizo. I thought Joel was a Cholo that was probably local until I learned his real story. Turns out that Joel was a combat Veteran that recently got back from Iraq. Joel and I worked in the mailroom together for a year. We understood each other pretty well. We both knew we would be moving on to greener pastures and we did. He was in college studying accounting and I was just looking for a way to move up. An old guy retired and I got a job in supply. I went from a GS-4 to GS-6 .
A year later I got a job as a Record
Management Technician and this was an substantial increase in pay to a GS-9
Level. In this job I collect the documents that are in the shred bins at
employees desk and I check and make sure no original documents are
unintentionally discarded from the veterans claim file. All these jobs that I
have had at the Veterans Administration have given me a sense of purpose. Yes
anyone could be trained to do this job but I am proud that I am doing this job.
I ensure that nothing important from a veterans claim file gets discarded. I
also continue to help out in the mailroom opening mail, metering mail, sending
out UPS boxes to Veterans. While selling cars I learned an expression from an
old car guy that used to say to the boss…Just tell me where to stand.
There is a lot of power in these words. It lets the people you work with
know that you are willing to do whatever job …no matter how tedious the task,
no matter how much it might bore you, or no matter how repetitive it might be.
The bottom line is that anything I do here at the Veterans administration gives
me a sense of pride that I have not felt at any other job that I have done since
I got discharged from the Navy in 1991.
I have done many jobs from a tree trimmer
to a cashier…a painter to a salesman from an inventory specialist to a life
guard and water safety instructor …and a teacher to a student. I am still a
devout student and worker. I still look much deeper than the average Joe into
things that others may find tedious or boring. I read poetry in Spanish although
I don’t know all the words I like the way they sound….I still try to go to
church with my wife and kids. I want my children to believe as I do that there
is a higher power that will assist you in your time of need. I pay attention to
the strange people that others might find odd. I like striking up conversations
with people at a party that no one else is speaking to. I believe that each of
us have so much to offer in this world and many of us do not realize that our
true potential is never realized. We all have to strive to survive and we should
all realize that we are all someone special… with so much to offer.
On Behalf Of Erasmo Riojas
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 2:17 PM
To: dillard blancett
Subject: RE: Louis boisvert
Louis Boisvert and I were in
the same boat crew through class # 35 in Tommy Nelson's boat crew, went to jump
school together in Okinawa , were only six of us that went up there from Subic,
was on the same jump where he got his arm hung up in his static cord. I've asked
but hadn't found anyone that knows what happened to him. I saw where you had
been training LDNN's with Loui.
hEY Dillard ! I worked with Loui in CamRanhBay, Vietnam we were LDNN advisors at the training camp. He is one of the greatest guys I have ever met from UDT west coast. Is he still around? How can I get ahold of him. I have one picture of him on www.sealtwo.org
Send me some of you from the old days and now that you are retired. thanks a million
BTW: I do not go into the LINKEDIN much, only to steal photos for my web site.
Doc Rio Erasmo Riojas HMC ret ST-2
to: Doc Riojas
Thanks for the quick response,
Louie was one of the best athelites ever, he was my swim buddy at san clemete Is. Also paddle man on rt. Side of front of boat., I was on left side, coming back to compound on last hell week paddle from mud flats we were all falling asleep, having illusions, falling out of the IBS, Louie didn’t have those problems , he got pissed at the rest of us-he just wanted to go home-He said in his French accent-you all don’t know how to paddle-watch me stroke , stroke, stroke – we all straigtened up and paddled like everything and laughed the rest of the way.
On the obstical course, Louie didn’t muscle his self up to the next level of the tower with three levels, he could swing his self up- I asked how do you do that? Louis used to be in a circus, he could do all kinds of acrobatics. You probably saw some of it.---
Coming down Colorado river, we were caught very first day, they took all our sea rations- when we got down to Needles Louie went to town and started knocking on doors-the first one he knocked on was the Sheriff’s wife- he told her we were starving, the instructors took all our food
She gave him money , food , beer, we thought we were doing good until we got captured by the enemy “Barry Enoch, Fredrickson etc-asked us silly questions “what are you doing on my river you Yankee Pig.
Never forget the experience. You too—Love those guys—Funny: Gardner” a class mate, when asked what’s your name? He said god “GOD” All of us laying on those sharp rocks all night were miserable, but we sure laughed out loud about that—Poor old Gardner sure didn’t wish to go through that experience again.
You can imagine the adjustment he experienced.
Patrick K. "Pat" Hugues
All Hands Magazine http://www.navyh.mil/ah_online/archpdf/ah198504.pdf
The Navy SEAL
The ultimate warrior
Zulu Platoon’s Final Fight in Vietnam
6/12/2006 • Vietnam ‘It was a dumb operation,’ said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Grant Telfer. ‘We had gone through the entire six-month deployment without having anyone wounded.’ Yet at the last minute, shortly before the members of Telfer’s Zulu Platoon of SEAL (sea-air-land) commandos were due to return home in January 1971, disaster struck. For five of the SEALs, the trip home would be delayed. Three of them, in fact, would be alive only through medical miracles. Telfer himself would be one of those miracle stories.
J. Chakeres R.I.P.
Michael J. Chakeres, 93, Mike was an early graduate of
training at Fort Pierce, Florida, and served with NCDU-9 during WWII.
Edward "Doc" Byers MOH
SEAL recounts actions leading to Medal of Honor Official Citation
http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/moh/byers.html Biography Summary of Action
CHIEF SPECIAL WARFARE OPERATOR (SEA, AIR, AND LAND)
EDWARD C. BYERS, JR. UNITED STATES NAVY For service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Hostage Rescue Force Team Member in Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from 8 to 9 December 2012. As the rescue force approached the target building, an enemy sentry detected them and darted inside to alert his fellow captors. The sentry quickly reemerged, and the lead assaulter attempted to neutralize him. Chief Byers with his team sprinted to the door of the target building. As the primary breacher, Chief Byers stood in the doorway fully exposed to enemy fire while ripping down six layers of heavy blankets fastened to the inside ceiling and walls to clear a path for the rescue force. The first assaulter pushed his way through the blankets, and was mortally wounded by enemy small arms fire from within. Chief Byers, completely aware of the imminent threat, fearlessly rushed into the room and engaged an enemy guard aiming an AK-47 at him. He then tackled another adult male who had darted towards the corner of the room. During the ensuing hand-to-hand struggle, Chief Byers confirmed the man was not the hostage and engaged him. As other rescue team members called out to the hostage, Chief Byers heard a voice respond in English and raced toward it. He jumped atop the American hostage and shielded him from the high volume of fire within the small room. While covering the hostage with his body, Chief Byers immobilized another guard with his bare hands, and restrained the guard until a teammate could eliminate him. His bold and decisive actions under fire saved the lives of the hostage and several of his teammates. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of near certain death, Chief Petty Officer Byers reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Edward C. Byers Jr.
Senior Chief Edward C. Byers Jr. was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1979. He grew up in Grand Rapids, Ohio. In 1997, he graduated from Otsego High School where he played varsity soccer. Byers joined the Navy in September 1998, and subsequently attended Recruit Training and Corpsman “A” School in Great Lakes, Illinois.
Byers started his naval career as a Hospital Corpsman. In 1998, he was assigned to Great Lakes Naval Hospital. In 1999, he served with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard USS AUSTIN (LPD 4). During deployment he earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) badge and Fleet Marine Force (FMF) warfare device.
In 2002, Byers attended Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) training and graduated with Class 242. After graduation, he attended the Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM) course. SOCS Byers has been assigned to East Coast SEAL Teams. He was promoted to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer in January of 2016.
Byers has deployed overseas 11 times with nine combat tours. His personal decorations include the Bronze Star with Valor (five awards), the Purple Heart (two awards), the Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor, the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards, one with Valor), the Combat Action ribbon (two awards), and the Good Conduct Medal (five awards).
Byers holds a National Paramedics License, and has studied Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis at Norwich University. Byers is married and has a daughter.
Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Edward C. Byers Jr.: For actions during Operation Enduring Freedom on Dec. 8, 2012
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Edward C. Byers Jr., United States Navy, distinguished himself by heroic gallantry as an Assault Team Member attached to a Joint Task Force in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 8 December 2012.
Dr. Dilip Joseph is an American citizen, who was abducted with his driver and Afghan interpreter on 5 December 2012. Intelligence reports indicated that Dr. Joseph might be transported to another location as early as 9 December 2012. Dr. Joseph was being held in a small, single-room building.
The target compound was located in a remote area beside a mountain in the Qarghah’i District of Laghman Province, Afghanistan. Chief Byers was part of the rescue team that planned to make entry into the room of guards where the hostage was believed to be located. Success of the rescue operation relied upon surprise, speed, and aggressive action. Trading personal security for speed of action was inherent to the success of this rescue mission. Each assaulter in the rescue force volunteered for this operation with full appreciation for the risks they were to undertake.
With the approval of the Commander of all International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan, the rescue force launched from its forward operating base. The infiltration was an exhaustive patrol across unimproved trails and mountainous terrain. After nearly four hours of patrolling, the rescue force was positioned to make its assault on the target compound.
As the patrol closed to within 25 meters of the target building, a guard became aware of the rescue force. The forward-most assaulter shot at the guard and ran towards the door to make entry as the guard disappeared inside. Chief Byers was the second assaulter in a sprint towards the door. Six layers of blankets securely fastened to the ceiling and walls served as the Afghan door. While Chief Byers tried to rip down the blankets, the first assaulter pushed his way through the doorway and was immediately shot by enemy AK-47 fire. Chief Byers, fully aware of the hostile threat inside the room, boldly entered and immediately engaged a guard pointing an AK-47 towards him. As he was engaging that guard, another adult male darted towards the corner of the room. Chief Byers could not distinguish if the person may have been the hostage scrambling away or a guard attempting to arm himself with an AK-47 that lay in the corner. Chief Byers tackled the unknown male and seized control of him. While in hand-to-hand combat, Chief Byers maintained control of the unknown male with one hand, while adjusting the focus of his night vision goggles (NVGs) with his other. Once his NVGs were focused, he recognized that the male was not the hostage and engaged the struggling armed guard.
By now other team members had entered the room and were calling to Dr. Joseph to identify himself. Chief Byers heard an unknown voice speak English from his right side. He immediately leaped across the room and selflessly flung his body on top of the American hostage, shielding him from the continued rounds being fired across the room. Almost simultaneously, Chief Byers identified an additional enemy fighter directly behind Dr. Joseph. While covering the hostage with his body, Chief Byers was able to pin the enemy combatant to the wall with his hand around the enemy’s throat. Unable to fire any effective rounds into the enemy, Chief Byers was able to restrain the combatant enough to enable his teammate to fire precision shots, eliminating the final threat within the room.
Chief Byers quickly talked to Dr. Joseph, confirming that he was able to move. He and his Team Leader stood Dr. Joseph up, calmed him, and let him know he was safe with American Forces. Once Dr. Joseph was moved to the helicopter-landing zone, Chief Byers, a certified paramedic and 18D medic, assisted with the rendering of medical aid to the urgent surgical assaulter. Chief Byers and others performed CPR during the 40-minute flight to Bagram Airfield where his teammate was declared deceased.
Chief Petty Officer Byers displayed superior gallantry, extraordinary heroism at grave personal risk, dedication to his teammates, and calm tactical leadership while liberating Dr. Dilip Joseph from captivity. He is unquestionably deserving of the Medal of Honor.
Summary of Action
SEARCH Engine ONLY for SEALTWO.ORG
At long last I’ve published the third book in my Indomitable Patriot series, The Indomitable Patriot: the Submariners.
The book takes us back to 1943 and the OSS. The USS Great White (SS-299) has just put an OSS team ashore in the Philippines and has gone hunting for Japanese tonnage to sink. She almost gets more than she bargained for when she tangles with a Japanese battleship with five escorts. Will she survive her assault and live to fight again?
Lieutenant Commander Marcus Spencer, captain of the Great White experiences a number of twists and turns in his career as well, mainly involving the OSS and their covert activities in the Northern Mariana Islands. I’ve also introduced naval aviation into this book to present many thrilling scenes taking place above, as well as below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
As with my previous Patriot books, this book is historically accurate fiction. The book is geared toward submarine warfare and along those lines I read and reviewed dozens of actual patrol reports of USS Wahoo, Tang, and a number of WWII submarines. I lucked out in one additional way however. My technical editor was a retired Navy Command Master Chief who spent his entire naval career aboard diesel and nuclear submarines. His tireless efforts have enabled me to write a book about submarine warfare a reader with no knowledge of the boats will understand and enjoy, and a submarine sailor (also called a “Bubblehead”) will enjoy the realism, jargon and accuracy of the story.
If interested in looking further, just click this link and as-if by magic you will be transported to Amazon and the books listing. It’s available in both print and Kindle formats.
I hope, regardless of your decision to check out the book, everybody is healthy and prosperous.
All Best, Carl McLelland, Vietnam Veteran