Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Why Forgotten? - Speech from Reunion Dinner

by Vic Campbell (continued in the "comments section under this post)
I am pleased to be here in such august company. I promise you a good talk, because I placed third in the FFA speech competition at Chumuckla High school in 1965 and later graduated in the top ten of my class of 17 students in 1967. My dad was a Navy chief. He was an airdale, having crewed in PBY's in the war. In the early 1950's he was able to get transferred back to Pensacola, near his family's roots. In that way, my brother and sister and I were consigned to the dual roles of Navy Brats and Farm Kids. His duty stations were either at sea or in Jacksonville or Pensacola, so the farm scenario worked out well for a family. As we kids slaved among aunts, uncles, cousins and ourselves to clear land, plant and harvest crops, and herd cattle, we thought we were in a special hell created by Navy chiefs. Little did we know, we were in Chief's heaven.
Sometimes I was fortunate enough to go to work with dad at the VT-4 hangar in Pensacola where so many student aviators earned their wings. The Blue Angels were based there as well. I reached the pinnacle of awe once when I had my shoes shined by the man who shined the shoes for the Blue Angels. Could life ever get better than that? I later joined the Navy and went to OCS at Newport. My mom and dad came to Newport to be at my commissioning and dad gave me my first salute (though by then he was retired). My naval service was in a destroyer, in Vietnam.
My brother became a Navy corpsman and remained in the reserves after his active tour. Thirty Five years later, and before dad passed away, his captains eagles were pinned on his collar by the old chief. I am proud of my Navy heritage; My Navy family.
Now, I want to talk on the topic of the FORGOTTEN FLEET. (SEE THE COMMENT link BELOW)