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Ed Crowley - ET1 - 1958-1960

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I reported aboard the Cecil as an ET2 at Portsmouth, VA in the late Fall of 1958. At that time the Cecil was in drydock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard for major overhaul to upgrade it's sophisticated electronics systems. Shortly after reporting, I was sent to Chicago, Illinois for four weeks of specialized training at the Motorola plant on the AN/SPA26 Electronic Data System maintenance. Compared to today's sophisticated computer systems, the SPA26 was an arcane vacuum tube relic, but at that time it was state of the art. In addition to the SPA26, the Cecil was also being outfitted with the latest Electronic Countermeasures equipment (ECM and ECCM). While in Chicago, I received word that I had been promoted to ET1 (I took the exam on the USS Hammerberg DE1015 in Newport prior to being transferred to the Cecil).

My two year tour aboard the Cecil (1958-1960) was confined to operating in and out of Norfolk participating in numerous task force exercises to test the tactical application of all the sophisticated electronics systems installed on the Cecil and the three other ships in our squadron, the O'hare, the Corry, and the Stickell. Most of my sea duty was confined to the Atlantic Ocean up and down the East coast. We did make a shakedown cruise to Guantanamo Bay and other trips to the Carribean for exercises. But I never got to ride the Cecil on a Med cruise. In fact, the Cecil was preparing to depart for the Med in the Fall of 1960 but I was due for discharge so they transferred me to the USS Strong DD758 to await my orders for shore duty. The Strong was headed out for a six week NATO exercise at the time so that's where I waited for my orders which came in a couple of days after we got underway. So I had to wait until the Strong returned before I could get off. What a bummer.

My daughter Maureen was born at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital on July 27, 1959. That was an experience. Fortunately, it happened on a weekend that I didn't have the duty. Late Sunday night, after spending the afternoon down at Oceanview Beach, my wife started complaining of pains. As the pains got closer and closer together, we figured we'd better head for the hospital. We lived at Lafayette Shores Apartments in Norfolk, so we jumped into the old '54 ford and headed out. As we went through the Norfolk/Portsmouth Tunnel, my wife was yelling with each pain. Was I nervous. All I kept telling her was, "Hang on Peg, we're almost there." All I could think of was her having the baby in the middle of the tunnel. Well, we made it in plenty of time. In fact, she was in labor most of the night and didn't give birth until 6:00 AM the next morning. What a relief.

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Photos

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Ed Crowley, the Author, circa 1936 ..... already decked out in his Navy duds The author on shore duty at Treasure Island, San Francisco in 1961 enjoying some free time at home with his daughter Maureen
 
 
View from the Cecil of the USS O'Hare coming alongside to highline observers All ahead full as the Cecil knifes her way through the choppy Atlantic
 
 
Here I am taking a break while waiting our turn to refuel somewhere in the Atlantic "Fill her up with the high test mate"
 
 
"Looks a little bit like Cape Hatteras doesn't it?" "A couple of Cecil's finast on patrol during a stop in St. Thomas, V.I."
 
 
Mr. Townsend, our Electronics Officer, relaxes with a cup of joe and chats with a couple of ETs outside of the EDS room on the 02 level, just aft of the bridge. The sailor with the white hat is Vern Menges ETR3. Here I am catching a few rays on the way into San Juan for a little liberty.
 
 
Three of my Operations Division buddies taking a coffee break aft of the bridge. Dan Lellek RM2 is the guy in the middle, Friedhelm Kruger QM2 on the left, and Mike Chevalier a radioman on the right. Here I am catching a few rays in GTMO on the fantail of the USS Hammerberg DE1015 in 1957, a year before transferring to the Cecil.
 
 
Peg and Maureen celebrating Christmas in 1962 at Midway Village Naval Housing in San Francisco. I was stationed at Treasure Island as an Instructor Peg, Maureen, and I in 1959 enjoying a Sunday afternoon at Azalea Gardens in Norfolk. Maureen was born July 27, 1959 at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia.

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