Here in my WordPress blog you can read excerpts from my book GULF in the WAR STORY.
You will also find exciting photos related to my Navy adventure.
For a look at military history, check out my Youtube channel for speeches like this one.
For my TV interview (an episode of Inside Edition where I provided most of the video) click the photo below:
I took tons of photos and recorded hours of audio and video during my tour of duty at San Diego, including the Consolidated Diver Unit (CDU) at 32nd Street Naval Station, the Naval Air Station at Miramar where the movie Top Gun was filmed — I worked in the Top Gun hangar — and on board USS RANGER.
Most interestingly, you can find out — in real time, as it happens — what it was really like to serve the Navy as a personnel manager. I could not have published this book and remained in the Navy, because what I wrote was a tell-all book. I was brutally honest on a lot of topics. I had finished at university with cum laude on my transcript, worked as an actor and writer in Hollywood (where I returned to after the war) and had lived two years with the daughter of a billionaire before I signed up with the US Navy, and Desert Storm.
I was aboard the carrier Ranger for six months — not once, but twice — and journeyed across the Western Pacific to Hawaii, then on through the Indian Ocean to the tiny dot of an island called Diego Garcia, on across to Hong Kong, then further, to the Republic of the Philippines, Olognapo and Subic Bay and Manila and even to Bye Bye Beach on the Province of Zambales, all the way down to Freemantle and Perth in Australia, even as far away as Pattaya Beach and Bangkok in Thailand, where I came out of a floating market up river in the middle of nowhere, where not a soul spoke English, and found out my tour boat had continued up river without me. These personal adventures were so extraordinary, I am proud and happy to have had the training as a writer, from the wonderful Christian Liberal Arts College now known as Whitworth University, where I honed my skills with a Bachelor’s in English before joining the advertising world and then leaving everything behind, for the new friends I met who escorted me deep inside their country and culture, and who gave me the inspiration I have shared in my books.
USS RANGER steams out of San Diego Harbor for the Persian Gulf
Ranger was a legendary aircraft carrier that sadly no longer exists. Many veterans of the ship had hoped to turn Ranger into a floating museum but unfortunately she got sold for a Dollar and delivered to a port in Texas to be scrapped. All we have left of her now are photographs and memories, the precious videos some of us happened to make, and a book like mine.
During my four intense years in the Navy, I witnessed and photographed and recorded on video and wrote articles and a book about the great events in which I participated.
I was assigned to Fighter Squadron One, known in the military as The World Famous Fighting Wolfpack — and locally as WORKPACK. We were always undermanned, and despite that disadvantage, twice during my duty with Wolfpack we got awarded the Navy’s Battle Efficiency ribbon, the The Battle Efficiency Ribbon ribbon in recognition for the squadron for being most ready for battle.
Chapter 1: Tactical Assessment
2300 10 JUL 90. We’re cutting donuts through the froth of July, preparing to cross the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans into the North Arabian Sea to spin our egg-shaped wake and dump our egg shells overboard, and wait for the signal to commence hostilities against Iraq.
Welcome to the forward galley. Grab a slice of pizza, on the house. All that action you hear on the flightdeck is the “Air Wing Tactical Assessment.” This is our next to last exercise off the coast of southern California, as the Navy assesses the battle readiness of CV-61, also known as the DANGER RANGER.
The United States Navy consists of commissioned officers, whose contracts require them to agree to return to active duty at any time in their lives, should they be called back; and of airman or seaman—some of whom are called petty officers—whose contracts last eight years: four active, four reserve (subject to being called back).
I serve Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) aboard the Danger Ranger. You see, with all the men squadrons bring aboard, we can double or triple the total number. So each squadron assigns men to assist ship’s company. Otherwise we would deluge them with more needs than they could handle.
At Naval Air Station Miramar I report to the Personnel department of Fighter Squadron One, also known as The World Famous Fighting Wolfpack.
For now, I got myself this relatively interesting assignment, to supervise the 24-hour fast-food operation near the front of the ship. We serve 6,000 meals a day. My shift runs Monday to Sunday inclusive, from oh-eight hundred (8:00 am) to twenty-hundred hours (8:00 pm).
In “VF-1 Admin/Pers” (how you answer the phone at Wolfpack) I’d work oh-seven-hundred to 19-thirty, Monday to Sunday.
I lie in my rack up in 39-Man, a coop about six feet under catapult one (we have four cats aboard Danger Ranger). I hear turboprops on the flightdeck, and clomping boots of the chock-and-chain gang preparing to park “birds” as flight operations wind down. Called Blue Shirts, these ship’s company men move the jets around the flightdeck or in the hangar bay.
I can hear shipmates sitting at a card table in our lounge, under a TV bolted to a bulkhead. They’re bitching about being unable to touch toilet seats because of the nastiness of this vessel carrying The World Famous Fighting Wolfpack.
More guys filter in across the dim red-lit coop to slide into racks like mine: triple-stacked, sheet-metal beds, each featuring a two-inch thick foam mattress. I have one of six stand-up lockers that hold, say, six hangers each. The lockers are stacked against a bulkhead between two sets of racks, all bolted together as a unit with a narrow aisle between. If you are smart and aggressive, when you first come aboard you will stash a chair there. Sheets are white. Curtains, blue. The walls are pale yellow from decades of cigarette smoke.
I’m better off on top because I can sit up in my rack. But there is a nasty girder about five inches above my head. I learned not to heave out and trice up too fast at the zero six hundred reveille call, because the rack-light mounted on it centers right between my eyes. If I don’t tuck my chin into my chest, I’ll hit my forehead against the rack-light’s knife-edge housing. You could think a guy would only do that once. But they are just like knee knockers (those raised, egg-shaped doorways cut in the ship’s frame with a thin iron lip at shin level): get complacent and you will get nailed. That’s a Navy rule to live by.
I stow my boots atop my locker, near my head, against the bulkhead at this end of our aisle. This wall separates us from a coop of ship’s Radio technicians. They seldom wander over to our side, but sometimes some of us go over there: They have a bigger TV lounge. They even have couches.
As I stare from my pillow under my neon light, I enjoy the charged view of electrical cables bundled overhead feeding power to the entire forward area of the 03 level above the forecastle.
There are places to sleep which are worse than six feet under a catapult. Try the 81-Man, a berthing coop situated beneath the arresting cables stretched across the aft end of the flightdeck. Incoming jets hang down their tail-hooks to slide across the deck trying to snag one of three thick iron wires.
If it misses all three, the pilot flies around again. Last thing he does before landing is throttle up in case it turns out whoa, he’s taking off! As long as he doesn’t aim too low he can repeat the exercise until he snags his tail on a wire, or runs out of gas and diverts to a nearby land mass; or if we’re too far out, the Air Boss calls RIG THE BARRICADE.