I dug into the archives for this pick for the photo theme #SignSunday. When I was in the Navy in the 1970s I was stationed in Imperial Beach, CA. We took a road trip to Las Vegas to win big money. On the way we took a pit stop and as soon as I saw this sign, I knew I had a photo for the ages.
I decided not to test the sign’s veracity and opted for beer.
When we took this trip the Jerry Reed song When You’re Hot You’re Hot was in the top of the charts. We sang it all the way to Vegas, but not on the way back. To save money for gambling we didn’t bother with a motel. We slept in the desert out of sight. My buddies slept in the car but I curled up in a sleeping bags on the ground. I learned a few things that night. I learned that the desert is really cold and I learned how stupid I would have felt if a snake or scorpion had joined me (they didn’t). I remember that we stopped into Caesar’s Palace the next morning to rid ourselves of any money that remained and meeting Liberace (I am not making this up). We looked great, just as you would expect from a couple of sailors who had slept in the desert.
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I dipped into the archives for today’s #WindowWednesday photo theme. I was stationed aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. One of our ports of call was Hong Kong in 1970. We anchored in Victoria Harbour and rode this water shuttle when we went on liberty.
Hong Kong has a highly developed public transportation system, so getting around was not an issue. Riding the Star Ferries is something any visitor should experience as a way from getting back and forth to Kowloon and Hong Kong.
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My Aunt Adeline served in the Navy in WWII
She kept EVERY piece of correspondence, Christmas Cards, books etc
Apparently she went on a tour of the USS Toledo in 1946
Check out the website to learn about this heavy cruiser of the Baltimore class
The video/slideshow shows these poor sailors lugging ordnance up the side of the ship. It was easier for us on the carrier
When I was aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard we would have an occasional fly over
This is not very clear, but I think these might be Russkies checking us out
On the flight deck
I didn’t know it at the time, but this is probably Da Nang harbor. According to a Wikipedia entry we anchored here to show the alleged pacification of the region. This was 1970 and there was nothing peaceful about what was going on over my shoulder.
My locker only contained items I cared about, canisters of film, books and music cassettes.
One small corner was devoted to Navy Stuff like my uniform
Imagine how much more room I could have with a MP3 player and SD memory cards?
A restful nights sleep in bunk 64 on a thick “mattress”
We’d sleep on our clothes to make it a bit softer and also “press” out wrinkles.
They weren’t too fussy about uniforms and other nonsense during operations, there was too much work to be done.
Above me was the flight deck and catapult which was going 24 X 7 during flight operations
You’d hear the catapult get louder and louder as it traveled across the deck. I never managed to sleep through that
I have more photos than I can include in a single posting. Please click on my face to open an album of photos I took while serving on the USS Bon Homme Ricard (CVA -31). I was deployed with Helicopter Combat Support Squadron One (HELSUPPRON ONE or HC-1) out of NAS Imperial Beach, CA.
In 1968 if you were male and didn’t have a deferment, then the government had plans for you in Vietnam. I joined the Navy in 1968. This seemed like a good strategy because the Army and Marines were drafting anyone with a pulse and I figured that an ocean cruise was preferable to jungle warfare. After a delightful year in Memphis Tenn studying Avionics, I was sent south of San Diego to a base in Imperial Beach. I was attached to a helicopter squandron whose motto was “Twist and Turn, Crash and Burn”. Just outside the base perimeter was a bar called the “Whirly-Bird”. I was able to live off base near the beach and life was good. Eventually we were deployed aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA31) which was an Essex class attack carrier built in the distant past. The HC1 squadron was an interesting mix of people and occasionally I wonder what has become of them. I still have contacts with my Imperial Beach Roomate, who still travels to the Philippines for R & R (this is 39 years later), but I have no idea what happened to the rest of the crew. Imagine my suprise when recently I received an email from someone who discovered my name on a site. I decided the least I could do is upload some photos and hope that others find this posting if they search for “HC-1” or “CVA-31”. A lot has happened in those intervening 39 years and now a new generation is involved in another pointless war. I wish them all well. Click on the photo to see all the pictures. Peace.. John