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Don Gardner - SBU-13


 


(01-05-08) Don Gardner  Hello Jim, Sorry I missed the reunion, Looked like it was a great time? I would like to know if you have another? Hopefully the turnouts will continue to grow...

I've been attempting to come up with some great story for your page, but haven't had much luck just thinking of one... usually it turns into a reflection of decades past, when we were all younger and much wilder... I remember the First day I checked aboard, only because it was the same day that the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded over Florida 01-28-1986...It was a very solemn day, and no other event could possibly shadow the horrific accident of losing 7 US Hero's in space, Probably one of the most tragic events of the time, yet none of us had the foresight to see what horrific events man was intentionally capable of.  I was assigned to 757, but she was currently on location at San Clemente, So I had the opportunity to work with PCF crews sanding and painting them for their decommissioning  to soon follow... When The 757 finally came in and rescued me from the constant ratt-a-tat of the classic needle gun, I was to learn the 757 would be down for a spell for Maintenance. But at least I would get to meet the "Crew", I was to be assigned the next few years... BMC Wallace... Great Man! One of the first experiences with BMC was while we were underway at San Clemente, of course the head was inoperative, So BMC grabs the waste bucket, newspaper, and goes up to the main deck to read... I could only imagine a boat, plane coming by and think Chiefs bleach white ass was a distress signal... Then there was EN1 Harry Lowrey, First time I met him he was down in the engine room greasy as usual, and the first comment after he met me was "Great, another FN Deck ape...". Shortly there after, I realized Harry was the driving force behind inspiring me to get my fat ass in shape... I had a hell of a time running, And he talked and inspired me to do better...SN Salvadore... nicest kid you'd ever get to know... He cleaned up after the lot of us, and after a little berating, would just smile ... BM3 Shivers (Rod, SugarBear), Only guy I know, who actually put a drill instructor "In-Line!", and his sentence was to serve the rest of his term with the enlisted at SBU 13. Definitely one of the closest friends I had at 13. Also the Quarter Back who was responsible for our victory over SBU 12 in the fateful Play-off game of 87... I remember long weekends working to make the 757 ready for the following week and CMDR Elson would come walking down the pier in his coveralls to lend a hand, if nothing else, just to talk... He showed me what true leadership was about.

      There were so many friends... faces and names hard to put together, but none the less, I considered most brothers... and many I would have laid down my life.  I've never held a job or position since that instills the same love, devotion, or brotherhood that I felt I had at the boat units. I feel this is in part because you will not find any civilian job, that all will lay it on the line. There is no true sacrifice, or love of your brothers and sisters... The closest feeling I had since, was obviously 9-11-2001, when all Americans stopped, and thought, My God... I need to do something, I need to make a difference... and you see the change.  Unfortunately many went out bought US Flags made in foreign country's (some Afghanistan) and hung them from their homes and cars, and that was it... Then those feelings died off, and many forgot, and the Flags wither and disappear... Then there are those who know "we live in Dangerous times", and those who Stand, and resist, and fight for our rights to be Oblivious... They understand how it feels. I am thank full for all those who stood with me, and helped me grow into the man I am today...

      Thank you Jim, You were one of the Great CPO's that helped me grow. You were in very good company, BMC Wallace, BMC Calfy, BMC Spencer, BMC Frede, And many many more... Thank you for your commitment to this web site, so others can remember and reflect. So often we get caught up in the every day doldrums of life that we forget to remember...

 Take Care Jim, and let me know if any other events might be happening there in San Diego, or anywhere... Maybe we can get together and go dive, or just share a beer...

Later

Don Gardner

I'm 5th over from Harry (on the 1st Gulf Det. Photo)