You’re in the Navy~Part 12

16 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Navy

 

 

Back in Sasebo, my two years of active service finally came to an end, and I was ready to be out of the Active Navy.  But, because the Hector had been 1extended on station, the Navy had to come up with a way to transport me back to the states.  So, I received orders to be flown from Japan to Treasure Island Naval Station in California for separation.  With everything I owned in my duffle bag, my first attempt to get to an airport was a four-hour hot and bumpy school bus ride, on some of the roughest roads I had ever traveled, to Itazuke AFB.  Since I was enlisted, which is as low as it gets in the military, when it comes to travel authorization, several officers bumped me off that flight, and I had to endure another 4-hour bus ride back to the ship.

A day or so later, it was back on the school bus, this time several hot jarring hours to Tachikawa AFB for another try.  This time I got a seat on a fully loaded Douglas C-124 Globemaster airplane, operated by the Military Air Transport Service (MATS).  Did I mention it was now the middle of the summer, there was not a breath of air from any direction that day, and inside the airplane was like being in a big aluminum can with the sun beating down on it, and no A/C to keep the air moving inside that big can?  Everyone was dripping wet by the time they had us all seated and 2accounted for.  Once they got the doors closed, we taxied to the end of the runway, the pilot did his pre-flight engine checks, and we headed down the runway at full power.  Well, full power didn’t last long, as at least one of the engines started backfiring and the pilot aborted the takeoff.  We stopped at the end of the runway, and the pilot did more engine checks.  Since there still was no wind from any direction, the pilot turned back on the runway, and headed off at full power again.  This time an engine caught on fire, and thank God the pilot had time to abort the takeoff.  We all hurriedly deplaned, dripping wet, on shaky legs, and walked back to the terminal, leaving the flight crew and fire department to deal with the smoking engine.  That episode didn’t give me a lot of confidence in any C-124 being able to get me safely back to the states.

Then, after a stay-over night, there at the airbase, for some unknown reason, I was transported, along with several other sailors, to Tokyo to wait for a “Space Available” seat on a commercial flight.  As it turned out, I 3was only bumped off one flight there, before I was given a seat on a TWA Super “G” Constellation flight headed for San Francisco.  The flight consisted of three, very long 8-hour, over water flight legs, with stops at Wake Island, then at Honolulu, Hawaii and finally to San Francisco International Airport.  Even though that flight was luxurious, compared to what the C-124 flight on MATS would have been, I was still mighty glad to be on the ground, and at the end of that trip.

I was transported to the Treasure Island Naval Station, where I spent several days being processed out of the Active Navy, and back into the 4Naval Reserve, to finish my 6-year tour of duty I had signed up for.  I spent most of my free time visiting many of the tourist spots San Francisco is best known for, such as “Alcatraz Island”, Coit Tower, the Planetarium at Golden Gate Park, and of course, Fisherman’s Wharf, where I enjoyed some of their world famous seafood more than once.

After the Navy was through with me, and that mini-vacation was over, I took the train to Los Angeles to meet DiVoran, and get reacquainted with my lovely wife.  While we were there, she looked into the requirements for obtaining her California Beautician’s license; only to find out she needed 300 more hours, than what New Mexico required, to qualify to take the California test.  That would have to wait until we came back from Albuquerque, and were settled in our new location in Inglewood, California, where I would be starting work on my Mechanical Engineering Degree education at Northrop University.  But, then that’s another story about another time for another blog.

5                                               

 

                                                                        The End

One Response to “You’re in the Navy~Part 12”

  1. DiVoran Lites October 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Great story. I love the picture of us. I’m so glad his mother or his aunt Jessie took it. Ah, young love. It is so precious.

    Like

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