February 9, 1940 - October 2, 2004
JIM WAS IN THE NAVY FROM 1957 THRU 1961, AND ABOARD
THE USS RANGER FROM SEPTEMBER 1957 TO JUNE 1958
HE WAS ON THE SHAKE DOWN CRUISE TO GITMO BAY
IN V-3 DIV. AIR ON THE CARRIER
James A. Stevens 1957 - 1958 aboard USS Ranger, 18 years old
Jim A. Stevens, Larry Stapleton, Ken Underdown
CLOSE UP VIEW
Jim & Nancy Stevens July 2003
Jim Stevens points to a shadow box made for him by his
sister-in-law, Barbara Eckart, for his 63rd birthday.
The framed memorabilia includes a photo of Stevens in
Navy uniform, other crew mates, the ship and several
medals he received during his term of service.
|Jim Stevens, now 63, was only 17
when his father withdrew him from school and insisted he join the
military. His boot camp training was shortened from 12 weeks to nine
when unrest developed in Cuba.
Stevens boarded the USS Ranger in 1957 shortly after the ship was commissioned and before it sailed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Over the years, his of memories being on board what was once the most splendid, powerful ship in the world stayed with him. “You don’t ever forget a ship like that. You become part of the ship,” Stevens said. He was aboard the Ranger about nine months, cranking up planes and moving them around for the pilots, before plans were announced to set sail for a nine-month cruise around Cape Horn to San Diego, Calif. But, despite the thrill of being on a ship as large as three football fields, his heart was being pulled in another direction. He had met a beautiful young lady named Nancy, and he feared that if he left on the cruise, she would be gone when he returned.
“I had been dating a woman and my father didn’t approve. He wanted me to meet the daughter of a man who worked for him, so he slipped her name and address in my sea bag,” Stevens said.
He wrote to the address stowed away in his sea bag, and she wrote back. Soon the two were inseparable.
Stevens requested and received permission for shore duty so he could be with Nancy, although only a few were allowed off the ship, he said.
Jim and Nancy Stevens married 44 years ago. Stevens completed his four-year term of duty with his new wife at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md., where their first son, Jim Jr., was born. Another son, Robert, was born later.
“I’ve often regretted that I didn’t stay in the Navy longer,” Stevens said. “Next to my wife, that was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
“I wanted him to re-enlist, desperately,” Nancy Stevens said. Navy families formed close relationships, which she said lasts forever.
When the movie Apollo 13 was filmed, Jim Stevens recalled the astronaut portrayed by actor Tom Hanks as the man who had deeply influenced his life - his division officer, Lt. James Lovell, whom Stevens served with at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
regretfully admits it took too many years to fully
To CV/A-61 and all who proudly served aboard her......THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.
USS Ranger CV/A-61 Reunion Association is an organization
urges the thousands of past crew members to join the association.
If you know someone, a husband, dad, uncle etc. tell them to check out
the many benefits of membership. You can contact George Meoli -firstname.lastname@example.org
Take it from Stevens, it's the Patriotic thing to do. You will be proud you did.....So Front And Center, Step Out And Step Up!
He was a great man of great Character and
Send Jim'S Wife Nancy an email :
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edited by caguy