|My name is Phil Cocciante (formerly PC3) and this is my story.
I joined the Navy in February 1981 thru the delayed entry
program and arrived at boot camp in San Diego on
November 2nd of that year. After completing boot camp
I reported to Millington, TN. for AC A school.
After two weeks I decided that wasn't the job for me
and requested a transfer. I was told that I would be assigned to a
carrier in San Diego.
That sounded good to me. Being a California native I figured
I'd be closer to home. I reported to the USS Ranger in January 1982 and
was assigned to V-5 Division, Pri-Fly.
I guess they figured that since I came from AC A
school I'd do well working with the AC's in CATCC.
Working in Pri-Fly was excellent duty. I really enjoyed watching
flight ops and I had one of the best seats on the ship.
I even had the opportunity to watch an A-7 land in the net.
One of my all time favorite memories is watching
an F-14 make a supersonic pass while I was
standing on top of Pri-Fly.
Next to the hatch to Pri-Fly was a ladder that went
up to a landing that was adjacent to the top of the stacks.
One false move and down you went.
That was also a great spot for watching the planes
coming into the break during recoveries.
During night ops, the F-14's afterburners would light up
the space like it was daytime.
After a year in V-5 and the 82' cruise I was told that I
needed to strike for a rating.
So I made my way to the post office and Chief Nelson
accepted me as a striker.
Working in the P.O. was also excellent duty. A lot of
benefits, keep in mind this was the time before
email and Internet access, so everybody wanted and needed mail.
We would get fresh donuts from the bakery, and
our laundry personally done.
Unfortunately, I wasn't immune from doing my time
on the mess decks.
I was lucky (sarcasm) enough to do a three-month
tour as a non-p.o. and later as a petty officer
in charge while the ship was in dry dock in Bremerton.
I also went TAD to the ship's Special Services Office as the petty
office in charge of special functions for the ship.
In the summer of 1985, my crew and myself put
together a party for the Assistant Secretary
of the Navy and about 1000 people. Not exactly the type of work
I wanted to do, but it was a good experience.
My favorite port was Subic Bay. You could do
whatever you wanted whenever you wanted.
I enjoyed Hawaii, Singapore and Perth, but
Subic Bay was completely different than
anything I've ever experienced. The beer, women,
gambling, it was a party all the time.
After the Navy I worked for the U.S.P.S. as a
letter carrier and letter sorting machine operator.
I also spent some time in construction and I currently
work for the Contractors State License Board
in Sacramento, CA.
I'd really enjoy hearing from anybody
who was on board during those years.
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Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org