I was sworn into the Navy onboard the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor
This shows me walking up the gangway to the USS Constitution.
Here we are lining up to take our oath of service.
Here is a boot camp company marching between classes at Great Lakes Naval Trainning Center
Graduation from Boot Camp, Great Lakes, Fall 1968
I am on the right of the Chief
Boot camp was a lot of fun for me cause I was the company Master at Arms.
There I was, the first night, clomping my way back to my bunk after a shower
and the Chief yells at me, "You, the large one, what's your name?" I answered
just like I had seen in the all the movies, "Seaman Recruit Callahan, sir!"
The chief turned and bellowed at the company, "Does everyone see seaman
Callahan?" "Yes Sir!" they chimed in unison. "Well seaman Callahan is the
company Master at Arms.", "You will obey his commands as though they are
coming from me because they are", the chief retorted. Thus by being the
Master at Arms I found boot camp much easier. I was a fair Master at Arms for company
A-104. I used to let the guys have a smoke and coke after they did a good job cleaning
the barracks before tatoo.
The other company on the other side of the quadrangle complained but our company CO was
getting liberty for his company getting good grades on inspections so he told me to keep it up
but keep it low key.
Boot camp was cool as we double timed from class to class singing cool songs.
I left boot camp with wicked blisters on my feet!
Since I was "Master at Arms" I had to be the last man out of the tear gas chamber and
the smoke tunnel. I was also the nozzel man on firefighting class which put me first into
the burning building! But I trusted them! After graduation from boot camp I spent a night
in Chicago and then flew back to Boston for two weeks leave.
I served on the USS Harland Dickson, a destroyer, out of Boston,for a
short time and after I got out of boot camp I was assigned to the USS Purdy, destroyer, out of
Newport, Rhode Island, while waiting for a slot to open in Radioman School.
I was only on the USS Purdy long enough to stand a few quarterdeck watches
and a few starboard wing watches while underway.
On the USS Dickson I was a hot shell man in gun mount 51
My job was to wear asbestos gloves to bat the hot shell casings down through a hole
in the gun mount when it was ejected from the breech
Radioman School - Bainbridge, MD. 1969
My luck held out in Radioman school as I was appointed Section Leader which
again allowed me special priviledges. The picture below shows me with the
other three section leaders in our company. On the left was Al Worth, then me,
I don't remember the other two guys names. Al wound up in the submarine service
on a boomer. Might have been the George Washington. He was from Quincy, MA.
The guy in the tee shirt was a Navy Seal, Team Alpha he said!.
The Bainbridge area of Maryland was nice. My friends and I would visit the
Armish country in PA. and would spend time at a bar in Port Deposit. Port
Deposit was a small town about 4 miles from the base and the only bar had
a pool table. Actually the base had a real nice EM club called the Fiddlers Green.
While I was at Bainbridge I joined the base pistol team and I rode horses around the
country side. One weekend we drove down to Washington DC but that
was the weekend there was an antiwar riot and the tear gas was thick so
we got our stuff and drove to New York instead.
Below the entrance to the Fiddlers Green
Below is a picture of the inside of Fiddlers Green.
I was at Bainbridge for 16 weeks learning to be a Radioman. I was taught Morse Code, basic electronics, how to
tune receivers and transmitters, and how to send and receive messages properly. For many weeks we would sit with the
cans on listening to dits and dahs of the International Morse Code. We could hear it in our sleep!
Below is a picture of our Morse Code class.
Here is my RM A School graduation picture. This school was at Bainbridge, MD.
This is the USS Fulton, AS-11, where I was stationed for most of my enlistment.
The Fulton was a submarine tender whose home port was at New London,
While I was aboard, the ship went to Bermuda, did a few North Atlantic cruises
and then went into the yards at Charleston, S.C. for overhaul. I was discharged
while the ship was in Charleston. Some of the submarines in our submarine
squadron ten were the USS Nautilus, USS Gato, and the USS Greenling. The
USS Skylark, a sub rescue ship, was also in our squadron.
I was a radioman on the ship and the radio room was just behind the bridge
While on general quarters my duty station was in Radio Two the transmitter room
which was midships, starboard side, on the 02 level.
The memory that sticks with me is the night, during a hurricane, that I went out on
the port bridge wing to get a swab to clean up a mess caused by the coffee
machine breaking loose. The ship plowed into a giant wave and a wall of water
was heaved up over the ship. This wave caught me and if it wasn't for the life lines
I wouldn't be here typing this today. When I went back into Radio Central looking
like a drowned rat the chief broke out in laughter. "Callahan I told you not to go out
there!", he said.
Seaman Q home on leave with his future wife Jean.
RM3 Q at sea in the North Atlantic taking a break from Radio Central up on the Signal Bridge.
That pole behind me is one of the vertical receiving antennas.
Radioman 3rd Class Callahan home on leave heading out for a few brewskies.
Funny I was going out in uniform since in those times the military was looked down upon.
Damn hippie wackos used to call us baby killers and try to spit on us.
We knew we were supposed to serve our country so we did. Maybe we
didn't agree with politics but we did intend to do our service. Besides it was better to enlist then to get drafted.
This was a weird time! Many of my classmates were in the anti-Vietnam war movement and so while friends
during high school they became my enemy when they saw me in uniform. I am glad things have improved today.
Now I am a member of the Scituate American Legion and I carry the US Navy flag proudly in the
Memorial Day parade.
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