I retired as an Electronic Warfare Technician from the United States Navy in 2003 with the rank/designation of EWC(SW) with MTS. While in the Navy, I served on board the USS McClusky (FFG 41) and as a Plankowner on board the USS Essex (LHD 2). I also did three tours of duty at Naval Technical Training Center, Corry Station, in Pensacola Florida. My first was as a student in AN/SLQ-32(V)2 Maintenance and Operations. My second was as an instructor for AN/SLQ-32(V) Operations. I also ran a section for the Auxillary Security Force. My third and final tour at Corry was as a Course Manager for the AN/SLQ-32A(V)2 and (V)3 courses, plus the international course for the (V)2, and 3-M and Test Equipment course. Additionally, I ran the entire Auxillary Security Force, which eventually became the primary Security Force for the base. Although the base was rather small compared to most, security keeps you busy when dealing with young men and women around 18 years of age. My last tour of duty was at Fleet Information Warfare Center Detachment, San Diego, which is located on the beach in beautiful Coronado, California (it has now merged with Spec Warfare, so they no longer have to argue about parking). There I worked as a staff member for Amphibious Readiness Groups. As my rate was more a Cold War rating, it was destined to go away by October of 2003, and as I did'nt want to become a CTT, I decided that since we (my specialty) were barely being used for the war against terrorist and advancement opportunities had dried up due to the rate being dismantled, it was time to retire. I had planned on going into Homeland Security for a new second career which would have given me two retirements to live off of, but it was not to be the case.
With less than twenty days to go in the Navy, I was rear ended by an SUV (doing 60 mph) while sitting on my motorcycle at a red light. This resulted in multiple broken ribs (practically all of them), a broken right shoulder, and of course, a severely broken back at the T-12 level with extensive damage to all the disk below it. This has resulted in 11 surgeries to date, with the last being a replacement for a Medtronics Morphine Pump.
I try to stay busy, but it really is hard when your limited in what your able to do. I used to love the great outdoors and did all kinds of outdoor activities to fill my days when not at work. Now I'm down to riding my bike, my jet ski (but no jumping waves, cutting donuts, etc...) and I'm working on getting back into one of my favorite hobbies, scuba diving.
Like most young kids growing up in the 60s and 70s, I always wanted to be an astronaut and get to travel and space. Time has passed, but that dream still remains. I wonder if NASA would approve of doing an expierment using me as a test subject to see how space affects those with a spinal disability. I would jump at the chance if only I got to see the Earth from space (even if only for a second), it would be worth it, and I'd make sure to do the very best possible job for NASA. Hell, if they can send John Glenn back into space to see how it affects the old, then maybe they can take interest and see how it affects the disabled. That would be an opportunity unlike any other ever offered, and one I would never let get passed me. Hell, I'd do it for free, just for the chance.
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