Ralph E. Young
Enlisted in March 79. Attended boot camp at RTC San Diego, CA, after
which I attended OS 'A' School at FCTCLant DAM Neck, VA. I was assigned
to the first class of OS'A' students to go through the new school at Dam
Neck, after moving it from NTC Great Lakes, IL.
My first ship was the USS Schofield (FFG-3), part of Desron Twenty-three,
homeported in San Diego. In Nov 79, we deployed as part of the Coral Sea
Battle Group, for WesPac 79-80, in which we spent three months in the Arabian
Sea due to the Iran Hostage Incident. We returned to San Diego in May 80.
In September the Schofield went in for overhaul at the Long Beach Naval
Shipyard, Long Beach, CA. While the ship was in Long Beach, I was sent
TAD to Long Beach Shore Patrol.
In Dec 1981 I PCS'd to Fleet Electronic Warfare Support Group, Detachment
Two, at NAS North Island, CA. There we provided training support to US
and Canadian Fleet units, as well as units from other branches. I went
on detachments on several different types of ship's, aircraft and land
bases. All in all a fun assignment. In 1982 I put on OS2.
In Nov 84, I PCS'd to the Naval War College, Newport, RI, where I was
assigned to the War Gaming Center. Perhaps the most intriguing assignment.
We worked with students, Major Command Staffs, and other nations in running
war games in order to test or develop doctrine, relearn lessons, re fight
battles or what other directives came down from the SecNav or CNO. I worked
in the Ground Combat Cell, for a pair of Marine Lt Colonels, that taught
me how to speak fluent Marine. In 1985, I made OS1
In Feb 87, I was transferred to the USS Raleigh (LPD-1) on very short
orders. Her OI Division LCPO and LPO had been fired for cause, and my detailer
told me that I was going to the Raleigh. So I packed up my family, and
moved to Norfolk, VA. I met the ship the day she returned from her Med
cruise. When I checked on board, I didn't realize what kind of a roller
coaster ride it would be. Two Persian Gulf cruises in support of Operation
Ernst Will, Two Trips to Gitmo for Reftra, Two trips to Boston for the
Fourth of July, a trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and last but not least,
the big dance, Operations Desert Shield/Storm. We did things that LPDs
were not meant to do, wrote doctrine for others to follow, fought Iranians,
Iraqis, marines, played soccer against other ship, base and allied teams.
And even came close to shooting down a helicopter flown by a British Prince
in the Red Sea. Indeed Raleigh was an interesting ship.
After Decommissioning Raleigh in Dec 91, I was transferred to Fleet
Combat Training Center, Atlantic, in Beautiful Dam Neck, VA. The Navy's
best kept secret. Here I was assigned to Student Services, as the Company
Commander, for the Holding Company. I was responsible for all non A School
students awaiting school, students who had completed school and were awaiting
port calls for there ships, or awaiting orders. I also had all sailors
who had dropped out of school and were awaiting orders, sailors who were
on legal hold, and sailors who were on medical hold. Needles to say, I
was a very busy man, and I had a great staff supporting me. I worked for
a SMCM (SW/AW) McGrath, who was probably one of the most squared away and
best enlisted leaders I ever had the opportunity to work for.
For the last Year, I was assigned to special projects, where we were
responsible for the move of the schools at Mare Island, CA, to Dam Neck.
However, a little earthquake in southern California that year, sucked all
the funding for our project for the fiscal year, and we ended up (being
an office of the sick, lame and lazy), attending doctrs appointments, reading
message traffic, reading the sports page, then heading to the golf course
at NAS Oceana, with the LT, for a round, before going home. In April 94
it was decided to medical board me out do to a knee injury, and in Jun
94, I was medically discharged from the Navy after fifteen years service.
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