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19 DECEMBER 1956


26 NOVEMBER 1957


05 NOVEMBER 1982


05 NOVEMBER 1982


















I really don’t remember much about my break between Boot camp and school except staying at my brother’s apartment and his new kitten climbing on me each night. Trying to get attention I wore my uniform everywhere. My leave was a whirl of friends and relatives patting me on the back and buying me beers. I do remember while in a club in Parkville, running into a girl from the circuit board job I had. We danced a little and went back to her house in Hamilton. The next morning, while I was making her breakfast I heard a commotion in the living room. It was a little guy raising a big to do about something. He came up to me and said, “Are you going to deny that you slept with my wife!” The top of his head, while looking up was just above my chin and his face, taught and red, looked both angry and scared. I look over to Barbara and said “Your married!!” As I’m turning back to her husband he’s in mid swing. He caught me square on the chin but to my surprise I didn’t really take it badly. I looked back down at him and now he only looked scared. I’ve never been sucker punched before, I’ve only seen it happen in the movies but apparently the chin is not the place to land your punch. I put my hand on his chest push him back a bit and said, “I guess I deserve that” and started toward the door. He renewed his anger again and came around in front of me. I told him he really shouldn’t press his luck since I just spent months training to kill people in boot camp. What did he know?


Gunnery class was XXX My studies included
Gun mounts and launcher systems
Electromechanical maintenance
Ordance and magazines
Small arms and pyrotechnics
Hydraulics and pneumatic
Electricity and electronic maintenance
Technical drawings and sketches
Inside an enormous green building were all sorts of weapon systems. We studied small arms, more electronics, hydraulics, etc. One instructor was a man I will never forget. His name was Mr. Huelet. He was a no nonsense teacher that had a weird sense of humor. Once in class Mr. Huelet asked Hanes what the resistance was to the diagram on the board and Hanes said “I don’t care” you see it was Monday and Hanes had been out very late, and looked a mess. Huelet said stand up and proceeded to ask him about every circuit on the next couple of pages then said “I bet your thinking “I wish he’d get off my back” right about now. Hanes said “yea that s right”. Huelet said “I don’t Care!” We studied diodes for a week and I was sick of them. The next week was transistors an Mr. Huelet said before we start is there anything you don’t understand about diodes, because we needed to understand them to understand transistors. I raised my hand, he said yea Houk, what is it? I said, I know you covered it and I didn’t want to look dumb, but some how I missed it and I feel I better ask now before it’s to late. He said, what? Trying to keep a straight face I said, “what is a Diode?” His eyes blinked, his mouth started to slowly open, then decided to quickly shut. A couple of guys in the room started to snicker. Then he walked over to my desk and leaned on it with his 300-pound girth. I felt very small at this point as he said that sense of humor is going to get me into trouble one day. He was right!

This was the barricks
I lived in
during School
This is the
area of the
base I frequented

Between classes there was a plethora of things to do. The big thing was to hop the train to Chicago with the guys and do all the touristy things, other days we’d hit the local amusement park Great America, it was only ten miles from the base. On a few occasions I took the train to Naperville to visit my aunt and uncle. The only time that I was bored was when my pay ran out. After we studied transistors we moved to small arms. This was no longer a class; it was playtime with all sorts of toys. It was nothing more than gunsmith class. Learning to strip, clean, and repair all sorts of weapons. We studied the mechanics of semi automatic weapons and about naval artillery. Finally we learned the basics of all the main weapons systems aboard ships i.e. Missile-launchers, gun mounts and directors. I finished 3rd in the class of 25 guys. I was the top GMG. Since there was a couple of openings on the list of C-school classes, I got to choose one of them. For me the choice was easy. I could stay in North Chicago for the MK 45 5 inch gun or go to San Diego 32 Street Base for the MK42 5 inch gun. I should have asked a few more questions although I may have made the same choice. I know now that the MK 45 was a newer weapon that may have gotten me on newer ships (bigger in size and variety) but the older system turned out to be a good choice for two big reasons, It had an in mount operating position. In layman’s terms, you could drive the gun from the little glass bubble on top and you could stand in the gun mount while it was firing. So we got our picture taken and waited for our orders to arrive. One of my classmates Robert Wehrer lived in Hadar Nebraska, a very small town about sixty miles from my Grandmothers house in Sioux City Iowa. The logistics made it possible for us to visit our folks then meet and drive to California. I caught a flight to Sioux City and spent a couple of days visiting the Midwest side of my family. My Uncle Bob Aunt Mo and Grandmother Mimi drove me to Hadar. My uncle wanted to stop in Norfolk to see where Johnny Carson grew up. When we arrived at Bob’s home we said our goodbyes and I got the tour of the Hadar. I think the population at the time was about 64. Bob had a very nice family. His mom feed us as we prepared his truck for the long trip. We took a break and went with his sister and her friend to a swimming hole on a farm close by. It was in a cow pasture and looked very muddy but it had a rope swing and it was hot enough to make it worthwhile. That night we slept in a Winnebago in the backyard, which was very comfortable. Once he said his goodbyes we were off. We had a plan to do some site seeing along the trip so after several hours of driving we arrived in Dodge City. It had that Midwest charm about it but since the by gone days of Wyatt Earp it had become a well traveled tourist trip. Traveling on through Kansas Oklahoma and Texas we reached New Mexico and time to turn west. This area was all new to me, dry desert landscapes and endless skies we were on dead empty in Tucumcari so we pulled into a local gas station and started filling up. After 3 or four minutes a girl came strolling out and between the truck and the pump then said I was beginning to think you were pumping gas on the ground. Bob truck had a double tank and we were nearing 45 gallons. We reached Arizona just before sun up. There is so much to see here and most of it is right off of I40. We made a short excursion into the Petrified Forest then continued to the west side of Winslow. This always looked impressive in pictures but when you are there pictures pale in comparison. I’m talking about the meteor crater. All we saw as we drove up the road a large undulating hill that told up a good portion of the horizon. You have to enter through the visitor center to see it and when you do it opens up before you like tremendous dry lake. We spent quite a bit of time there before heading on to Flagstaff. We decided to take another excursion as we got to Flagstaff, so we left the highway and headed north to see the other big hole in the ground in Arizona, The Grand Canyon. Just north of Flagstaff we picked up a hitchhiker, He was an Indian who didn’t seem to mind riding in the back. We told him we were going to the canyon and he just nodded. It seemed to take forever to reach and the park was very full so we parked an headed over to the edge as our companion climbed out of the truck and head the other way not saying a thing. Now a note, you know the Grand Canyon is big, I mean BIG but I’ve got to tell you. I could only stand there with my lower jaw on the ground as I stared into this unending scar in the earth. There wasn’t much else to do but take picture. I set my Cannon Ae1 to infinitely, held the camera at arms length and started snapping away as only a few people noticed what I was doing . When I could look know more we hit the head and went back to the truck. There was no sign of our rider but it was getting late so we headed south toward California. Heading into California south of the Hover Dam the terrain was nothing but desert, very dry and unbelievably hot. Bob and I took turns riding in the bed of the truck to keep as cool as we could. We reached Palm Springs and I could imagine a prettier sight after crossing the desert. When we stopped I drank so much water I got sick. This is what I imagined an oasis in Arabia would be like. We headed south over the mountains on our last run to the coast. The view to our rear were spectacular as we climbed higher and higher. 00000000

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