Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The GITMO wrap-up

Did you  ever have a boss who was a micromanager? My last Master Chief in Gitmo was just that. I had repaired all the machines and ran both Civilian and Military payrolls for 3 years. No one missed check or a payday. No time was lost due to down time on machines. But still two days before a payroll was to be processed he would stop by my desk to say, “Payroll in two days, we can’t be late.”  It was like that for every routine job.

Funny, I smiled the first couple times, then I started giving my stock answer, “Been doing this 3 years Master Chief, ain’t missed one yet and never had to be told.”

GITMO 2 scan0005

It never phased him, still the same. So I talked it over with Sherry and decided to cut my tour short, I could do that. So I put in for early transfer.  Unbeknown to me the Master chief was doing the same. I could have stayed and let him go.  But the paperwork was already started.

old pic stuff  scan0011

Daddy, Mama, Kat, Shirl and Me

One of the worst thing in my life up until then happened. My Dad passed away while we were in GITMO. The USN sent me home in time for the funeral, Sherry and the boys came a couple days later. We spent a couple weeks with mama before we headed back to Cuba. Shirl was home and lived near, watching over mama.

old pic stuff  scan0016old pic stuff  scan0017

We can never forget dad’s words when he learned we were going to Cuba, “You will take those boys to Cuba and I will never see them again.”

But he did see them again, as this picture shows. Those two boys, with our permission, by themselves, left Cuba, landed in Norfolk, took a taxi to the Bus station and took a bus to Grandpa’s house, 300 miles away! That was an adventure for them they have never forgotten….


So we were leaving Gitmo bay after 3 1/2 years. The whole family agrees that this was absolutely the best tour of duty of our career.  Chatty mentioned my jobs seemed to be fun, I have seldom had a job I disliked. I have never hated Mondays it is not my nature. Master Chief Montoya could not help the fact he was insecure, but he was the least liked of all my bosses in life.

Even under him, I still liked my job. Funny isn’t it, the USN considered this duty so isolated, I had my choice of duty again. I chose Albany, Georgia, and  NIPSTRAFAC (acronym for: Naval Intelligence Processing Training Facility). I had never attended this school, but this was the facility that trained sailors and officers for the Intelligence Center on the Ships. I had worked this system aboard the Independence, and liked that job.

GITMO 2 scan0004

Leaving Gitmo we were financially better off than we had been in our lives. After Sherry came to Gitmo and took a job, we lived off her salary and saved mine. We were taking a ten day leave between duty stations. Boarding that plane for Norfolk, we all had mixed feelings. We had fell in love with the tropics…

Nite Shipslog


We had all heard of Albany, NY, but had not heard of Albany, Georgia.



1972 Automobiles

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Not every thing went perfectly!

School kids in the military are no different than other kids. So Jack Jr. and a couple boys figured it would be fun if they rigged the door to their class room with a smoke bomb. When the teacher opened the door the next day he set off a green smoke bomb.

Embarrassing? Yes! Jack was grounded for life. Well, we all got over that. That was one big bump.

GITMO 2 scan0003

Santa at the MOto Cross track


Remember the tinsel Christmas trees?

Son Mark (above on the left) had the worse timing. He was sick several Christmases.


Our taxi in and out of GITMO and below the boys inside our last home in GITMO.

GITMO 2 scan0015gtmoa scan0004

Outside our last house on Gitmo.

gtmoa scan0001

All the married guys knew this feeling. I caught this guy when he met his wife coming aboard GITMO after his long wait for housing. What a feeling.

gtmoa scan0005

Clowning by the president of the Moto Cross Club before giving out trophies


My main man Wayne Hodge, He worked for me in Gitmo, and when I got to a paygrade I could request someone to worked for me, he is the one I asked for. Good guy Wayne Hodge.


Below, Sherry with Les and Gail Maifield, still friends (Christmas cards with family updates)


One never knew what to expect on the roads in Gitmo.

And yes, there was the BARREL BOAT.


Let me tell you my sad story!!!

I was on a men’s bowling league with a couple of the guys that shared ownership of the Red Snapper (the barrel boat). We were bowling late the night before Thanksgiving. I had invited several guys out for Thanksgiving dinner. As I was leaving Sherry asked me to Turn the oven off at midnight when I got in, the turkey would be done by then.

During the league bowling  Chief Pierce  mentioned going to Leeward point to pick up a friend who was having dinner with them the next day. The ferries did not run after 9pm. So the idea of the Red Snapper came up. So we all headed for the boat. I forgot all about the turkey.

I got home at 4am, and smelled Turkey when I opened the door. OH LORDY, IT IS BURNED AND I AM IN TROUBLE.

Sherry made a nice Thanksgiving meal for the troops. She was very pleasant and sweet to everyone (‘cept me, the one in the dog house). She was more burned than the Turkey, and I knew she had every right to be. I apologized at least 10,213 times.  Begged forgiveness, and she did forgive me (after a year of so). But it was no fun being me for awhile, let me tell you!

But as always, she did forgive, I do have a winner, and I know it.  Even today there are times I am wrong, and know it.  She is still sweet.

Now, I think that is the worst I have ever messed up, but that was bad enough, and I am still sorry for such a stupid thing.

Thanks for stopping by the log and sharing our time in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Nite Shipslog


I don’t know about you, but I have done some things I wish I could undo.




Monday, April 28, 2014

Potpourri of Gitmo

New Folder (2) 055

Sherry had several promotions, she has always received awards as a dedicated worker.

New Folder (2) 059

An awards ceremony at her work area. Below I am holding a Mutton Snapper.

Red  snapper

The Red Snapper on a day we all shared the boat.

Scanoldpic9 011

Below which you cannot see much of was a Bob Hope show. He stopped by on his way back from a tour of Vietnam. He had Charlie Pride, and Neil Armstrong with him.

Scanoldpic9 001 - Copy

My girl on a bike and a score board Mark was proud of, he pitched and allowed only one run.

GITMO 2 scan0001GITMO 2 scan0006

At Ferry landing on one of our trips.

gtmoa scan0003scan0002scan0024

A group of kids from the Chapel, at Kittery Beach for sun and fun teaching. Below was one of my painting story telling times.


Kids from the defense housing neighborhood below.


We moved from Defense Housing to  Regular Housing. after a couple years.


These were our new next door neighbors, this doesn’t give a good shot of the new houses but they were concrete block construction with a lot of jalousie windows.

We spent 3 1/2 years aboard Gitmo Many folks could not understand that, but we understood perfectly, this was family time, IT WAS ALL SEA TIME. I went to GITMO for a 2 yr hitch, but I extended after doing more figuring, I would never have to go to sea again.

The stories are too many of course to list, but suffice to say, this was truly our best tour of duty in the military.

Thanks for staying with me.

Nite Shipslog


It is hard to argue with military duty where you do not have to spend nights away from your wife and family.



1955-‘56 automobiles…..

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Family time in GITMO

Aboard Gitmo there were horses to ride, boats to rent, bowling alley, out door theaters, a golf course, little league, and the thing that took our boys by storm, Moto Cross.  At the time I had a Honda scooter I rode to work sometimes. The boys wanted to enter the moto-cross race for kids, using it. After that,  they were bit by the motorcycle bug.

Fence line GITMO0006

We were scheduled for leave to come home and visit the folks so while home we visited Motorcycle shops. the boys fell in love with the little Yamaha 80, so we bought two; having NO IDEA how we would get them to Gitmo. I also bought a Bultaco bike for me, from Tucker.We headed back a day early to try to find a ship to bum space on for the bikes.

Fortunately I found a supply ship headed for Gitmo for refresher training. I went aboard to talk to the Supply chief. I introduced myself and asked him how he would like a car, full of gas at his disposal while in Gitmo?

Unheard of, he smiled and said what di I have to do? I explained and he said I think I can do that.

He got a crane operator and lifted the bikes aboard and I breathed  a sigh of relief. At that time we had a Bonneville, a 1950 Chevy and a 1963 Corvair. I let the Chief have the Corvair. He was one happy guy.

Fence line GITMO0004Fence line GITMO0005 - CopyFence line GITMO0005Fence line GITMO0007New Folder (2) 014New Folder (2) 019

I never raced the Bultaco, but I did run with the boys when they were practicing.

New Folder (2) 020New Folder (2) 084scans GITMO 013scans GITMO 020

Moto Cross became the center of our lives for family fun. I was the pit crew. Now I am the protective type. The boys were going to WRECK, sometimes, I knew that.  Every race at a tangle or wreck the boys were in I went running. It got so the crowd would yell “Go DAddy!”

But I gotta tell this: First race of Marks age group he was doing well on the new Yamaha, then I saw him go down single bike crash. I went running. I was not the first there, another sailor had already checked him out, Mark was dusting himself off and looked at me as he got back on the bike, “Dad, WHAT IS MY FAMILY JEWELS?”

I grinned, “I’ll tell you after the race, get out of here,” and he was off.”

Naturally I knew the guy before me had asked him if he had hurt his family jewels.Surprised smile.

Nite Shipslog


This could go on for days, so I think I will start cutting GITMO short, maybe two more posts.



1954-‘55 autos….