Wood served on the USS Boxer, signed up again 14 years later

Honoring All Who Served

Steve Wood signed up - twice - to serve the nation.

Courtesy

Steve Wood signed up - twice - to serve the nation.

Ribbons: National Defense, Navy Good Conduct, Korean Service, Armed Forces Reserve, Naval Reserve, Navy Expert Pistol, Plank Owner USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA. 42 Seabee Combat Warfare

Specialist

In August of 1954, at the age of 18, I enlisted in the United States Navy and went to boot camp at Naval Training Center, San Diego.

After graduating from boot camp I was sent to Hunters Point Naval shipyard and was assigned to USS Boxer CVA 21; she was in dry dock being overhauled.

Boxer was a WWII aircraft carrier with a straight, wooden flight deck.

She was commissioned in 1945 and saw a lot of action during the Korean conflict.

She was so huge that I only knew where the head, chow hall, quarterdeck and my bunk were located.

After refitting we loaded our aircraft at Alameda Naval Air Station. We then got up steam and set sail into the open sea with the first port of call Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

We saluted the USS Arizona as we passed by on our way to berthing.

After training our air group, we set sail for the West Pacific to stations off of North Korea; home ported to Yokosuka, Japan; and other ports of call, such as Sasebo, Japan; Hong Kong, China; Subic Bay, Philippines; Manila, Philippines; and Agana, Gua.

We anchored out in Buckner Bay, Okinawa.

After being deployed in the West Pacific for a year, we returned to the states.

The next ship we deployed on was the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA 42 in dry dock at Bremerton, Wash. She was being fitted with the angle flight deck and was too wide for the locks at the Panama Canal, so we sailed her around South America.

The captain had all hands on the flight deck to view Tierra Del Forego, the most southern point of South America. What a sight to see.

When we crossed the Equator on July 2, 1956, I went from a pollywog to a horned shellback. What an honor, with ports of call at Balboa, Panama; Valparaiso, Chili; around the horn to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Port Au Prince, Haiti; then on to our home port, Mayport, Fla. I was also stationed at NAS in Jacksonville, Fla.

I received an honorable discharge after three years, 10 months and 23 days, but I wasn’t done.

After being out for 14 years I re-enlisted in the US Navy Seabees as a second class builder, E-5, and had duty at NAS Bermuda, Panama Canal Zone, Barking Sands Naval Station, and Kawai, Hawaii. Here in the contiguous United States (CONUS) I was in Naval Mobile Construction battalion 28, NMCB17 NMCB 16 NMCB 2. I received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Naval Reserves.

In August of 1994, as a First Class Builder, E6. I want to thank my wife of 59 years, Ruby, for the support given during my naval career.

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