Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Introduction to Wildspiritjim

My friend Laura opened a website entitled Pictures, Poetry & Prose which offers anyone an outlet for their artistic talents. I don't claim to be an artist, I am a hobbyist who has lived a fairly exciting military life and have adventure stories to tell. I hope that this simple blog will provide insight into my personality through my writing and photography as well as inspire some younger people to open up and let it all hang out.

I spent 20 years of my life in the U.S. military during times of national and international crises; I joined the Navy in June 1961, just in time to be shocked by the assassination of president John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. I had already had one 7th Fleet Asian cruise (Vietnam) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (we were 50 miles off the Kamchatka province of Russia ready to launch a nuclear strike against the USSR) under my belt aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard, (CVA-31) assigned to Fighter Squadron 193 Ghostriders (F-3H Demon) as a Parachute Rigger. I was going through nuclear weapons training in Lemoore, California, at the time of the assassination. My next cruise to the Far East and Vietnam was aboard the USS Constellation, (CVA-64) this time as a Parachute Rigger Second Class with Fighter Squadron 142 (Ghostriders) flying F-4B Phantom II fighters, which we had transitioned to in 1963. During the cruise, the infamous Gulf of Tonkin Incident happened; our air group (and that of the USS Oriskany, I think) made the first raids on North Vietnam. What really transpired was a political war that waged for almost twelve years, which saw no military victory.

Rather than go through the rest of my career, I will say that I served on four more aircraft carriers and had a lot of years at sea. I loved it, whether calm and serene or typhoon. I retired as a Recruiter in Memphis, Tennessee, having earned 5 Gold Wreath Awards in 2.5 years of recruiting. I missed out on two more due to crappy leadership by a superior. My retirement date was 31 January 1985.

I traveled in my motorhome from coast to coast, was a typical 'snowbird' going from southern Illinois to Memphis Tennessee and points south for about 17 years. I settled in Valmeyer, Illinois in an idyllic lakeside lot for 7 years until the landlord died. Then I decided to move to the Armed Forces Retirement Home (formerly the Naval Home) in November, 2002. I stayed there til February 2005 when I moved to Hemet, California to be with Patsy, who has cheated death twice in the operating room.

My regrets are few, my gripes keep my BP elevated, but I'm an optimist and think the new Obama leadership will prove to be one boon in leadership, compared to the 8-year previous administration debacle. I hope to survive the financial mess we're in and to keep Patsy as happy as I can. My hope is to buy us a home rather than rent.

She is an artist in her own right, and a true miracle to boot. Go to her site, and look around. Be sure to congratulate her.

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