I was born in 1962 and raised in Northern New Jersey, mainly in Ridgefield Park (exit 18W, for you snide people, and now also exit 100: it has its own exit!) I joined the Navy right out of high school, and now own a house in the City of Groton, in Southeastern Connecticut. I married the former Miss Susan Gladstone in 1991; she is from Ledyard, a town near Groton. We have at present no kids, no cats, no dogs, and no lawn, although I am working on all of them.
In September 1981 I went to boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois. It was eight weeks long, and not too much fun. I enlisted with a guaranteed rate of Quartermaster, and went to QM "A" school (the primary training school) in Orlando, Florida, for two months. The class ended on 23 December, which I remember very well, having to schlep all my stuff to the train station for the trip home for Christmas and my first leave. They actually accelerated the class so that we wouldn't have to come back afterwards and finish--thought we'd forget everything in the two weeks.
I volunteered for submarine duty while in "A" school, and after leave went to Basic Enlisted Submarine School in Groton for eight weeks. I graduated high enough in my class (fourth) to earn instant promotion from E-1 to E-3 (Seaman Recruit to Seaman, skipping E-2, Seaman Apprentice). After a four-week submarine Quartermaster school (basically a rehash of "A" school), I reported to my first submarine, USS KAMEHAMEHA (SSBN 642). She was undergoing overhaul in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and a lovely area that is (seriously). I was aboard for four and a bit years, advancing from Seaman (E-3) to Quartermaster Second Class (E-5). We went up and down the East Coast after the shipyard, staying in Charleston, South Carolina a while. We hit Port Canaveral (Cocoa Beach), the weapons range at Andros Island in the Bahamas, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, before finally heading over to the base in Holy Loch, Scotland to do SSBN deterrent patrols. And for those of you in the know, yes, I was in the 'wet crew'. Our longest time submerged, BTW, was 82 days.
In 1986 or thereabouts, I was assigned to shore duty at the Nuclear Field "A" school in Orlando, about which the less said, the better. I was promoted to Quartermaster First Class, and served my country by being in charge of the detail that kept the first deck of the building clean. And I hated living in Florida.
I was rescued after two and a half years by being assigned to the ULYSSES S. GRANT (SSBN 631), upon which I made several more patrols. I was Assistant Navigator as a first-class petty officer, a position usually (in those days) stood by a Chief Petty Officer. We were on patrol when the Poseidon missile system was officially stood (standed?) down, and made a trip into the Mediterranean Sea and a port call to Toulon, France: a very nice place. This last patrol was when I was engaged to Susan; we ran up $400 in phone calls, and I restricted myself to only one visit to a topless beach. I subsequently rode the GRANT through the Panama Canal to Bremerton, Washington (with a stop in San Diego, California), for decommissioning and subsequent scrapping. I was out of there as soon as the boat hit the pier, reporting once again to Groton to man the still-being-built PCU SPRINGFIELD (SSN 761), although I was too late for the launch, pictured here.
PCU stands for "pre-commissioning unit"; after the Navy accepts the ship she is commissioned as USS. I went from a boat that was retiring to a cutting-edge, digital, plasma-display fast-attack. It was pretty neat. Charts are still made of paper, though, and life went on. During an after-commissioning shipyard period, I made a one-month run on the USS Whale, SSN 632, down to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. I was there to fill in for one of their QMs that was going to school, and I took one of our new QMs with me to qualify him. We did swimmer ops with a SEAL team and some Marines. Lots of fun. I got off the SPRINGFIELD just before her six-month Mediterranean deployment (good timing), and reported to my last duty station: staff, Submarine Group Two. This is a picture of me receiving a check for $1300 for a piloting trainer program I wrote (I'm a pro!).
I left the Navy in 1997. When I got out, the accountant at H&R Block was aghast that I'd leave with only four years to go for my pension, but no one else has raised an eyebrow: life in the Navy sucks right now if you want any kind of stability, and if I hadn't gotten out I would probably be negotiating a divorce. I'm happy now, and who could ask for more? Sue's happy, too.
I was hired by Gary Wright at Connix, an Internet Service Provider, one day after the interview (my only interview) which was the same day I signed my official discharge papers. In 1999, Connix was acquired together with several other mid-size ISPs by BiznessOnline.com, which has been renamed Veranet Solutions. I was promoted to Tech Support Manager at Connix, after eight months answering phones as front-line Tech Support. I then moved into networking, with Cisco routers being my focus. In February 2003 I was laid off; the new managment didn't care for me (or anyone else they hadn't hired themselves, it seemed). I did some courses and got certified as A+, Network+, Inet+, and, most importantly, CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate). After ten months of unemployment, I was hired by Point To Point Access, a division of Total Communications, Inc., by none other than-- Gary Wright. He was working there temporarily and was able to recommend me.
My niece, her boyfriend, and their two children, Kayla and Grace, are living with us now for the time being. It is great having the pitter-patter of little feet around, knowing that as soon as they act up we can send them downstairs to their parents. Pictures of the kids are linked on my home page.
My computer is a HP Pavilion with a 1.4 GHz Pentium4. My old Pentium-166 was turned into a webserver and mailserver; it hit some hardware problems after 7 or 8 years, and due to the poor availability of parts I ended up replacing almost everything. It now has a new 20GB hard drive (smallest I could find), a new motherboard, an Intel Celeron 1.2GHz processor to fit the new motherboard, and a new case/power supply to fit them both. I was able to salvage the modem. This machine is running OpenBSD, apache webserver and sendmail; it is hosting this page and some other personal pages, as well as www.qmss.com itself.
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