Bob Saki and I took off from Little Creek Virginia about 4:00 PM that afternoon and drove non stop to Coronado Ca. arriving there about noon 4 days later. Are trip was uneventful except for being pulled over for speeding in Arizona at 2:00 o’clock in the morning. It was a barren stretch of road in the Desert, two lane and nobody else was on the road. So pushed the Corvette up to 100 mph and was just cruising along as smooth as could be when I notice a flashing Red light in the distance behind me. I slowly brought the car down to about 65 mph and waited for the flashing lights to catch up to me. I pulled over and shut the engine off and waited for the Officer to approach me. He strutted over to me, shone his flashlight into the car and saw Bob and I, two duffed bags in the back and saw that we were two sailors. “Where you headed he ask”? I told him we left Virginia two days ago and had to be in Coronado Ca. by Wednesday. He said,” Son, I had you down for doing 105 mph The speed limit is 70″. He began to tell me of the consequences of going so fast in the Desert and what would have happened if I hit a Jack Rabbit doing 100 mph and the result to us and the car that they wouldn’t have found us for days as the debris would have been scattered way off the Highway in the Sagebrush. I was really getting an Ass Chewing and was waiting to get a Ticket or worse, Hauled off to Jail. He looked me right in the eyes and said,”Slow down, and be careful” , and walked away from the car and drove off. As we continued on our way I thought about what he said, and It scared me! I didn’t speed again on our way to California.
In Coronado we were stationed at the Naval Amphibious Base just South of Coronado on the Silver Strand Beach area. A Beautiful area, Sun, Surf, and the beautiful pacific ocean. I would be here for 6 Months learning how the Navy does things and going to school to become a Project Officer in the Naval Construction Division of the U.S.Navy.
On my first weekend Pass I headed up to Los Angles to find Douglas Marini. I knew he lived in Anaheim Ca. I had his Address so I drove into Anaheim found a Telephone and started thru the book looking for Joseph Marini (His Dad). There he was! I called and Doug’s Mom answer and I told them who I was and she was elated. She gave me directions from were I was to their House. After 10 years were back together again. From then on, every time I was able to secure a weekend pass, I was up at Douglas’s. After that, I never saw or heard from Doug again. My attempts to find him have been futile, until now, with the help of my Daughter Alisa, we located Douglas and I’m busy now catching up on the last 47 years.
School was interesting! I learned Construction policies, how to do Logistics, Planning and Estimating but more important was how to get around all the Red Tape that either slowed or stopped projects in the field. I n knew that I would possibly be sent to Vietnam as that’s all one heard about on the news and scuttlebutt that was ever present in day to day conversations. I also learned why myself and other construction workers were being drafted into the Navy. After WW 2, the construction Division of the Navy was left to dwindle down to just one Battalion. Even during the Korean War, not much was done on the Building of Bases as every thing came from and was shipped from Japan. Vietnam posed a problem as first, it was a country with no infrastructural no roads no large buildings to house a Military base and most of what they had was destroyed by the French when they pulled out of Vietnam in the 50’s. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
After completing my schooling in California I was given orders to report to Kadina Naval Station in Okinawa, Japan to meet up with a Admiral Mc Clearan who was in charge of developing a Naval Support Base in the city of Danang Vietnam. After flying for God knows how long, I landed in Guam, and was allowed to get off the plane and stretch my legs for about 4 Hours. It felt good. It was here I met a few other guys who also received orders to report to the same Admiral. Then we off to Okinawa.
The Admiral was an older gentleman and had a staff of about 20 Officers who broke into groups and started to call out our names and were assigned to different divisions. The Division I was assigned to was the Planning and Estimating Division headed up by a Lieutenant Jack Malera and we got along very well as I’ll explain in a later Blog. There were 8 of us in our Division, one from each Rating in the Seabee group. ex. Piping, Carpentry, electrical, and we were going to build a Naval Support Group in Vietnam.