Billy Walker

Billy Walker

Member for
19 years · 10 months · 15 days
Find a Grave ID
31535270

Bio

Military Duty Stations

July – September 1967 NTC San Diego Recruit Company 404
Served as recruit petty officer 2nd class as a member of the 50 State Flag Drill Team. I carried the Arizona State Flag.

Oct 1967 – Oct 1968 USS Talladega APA -208
Served as a Boiler Tender Fireman. Reached the Talladega in Hong Kong Harbor and sailed with her to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Okinawa, Hawaii and back to Long Beach, California.

Oct 1968 – March 1969 NTC San Diego IC “A” School
Played on the Championship Basic Electricity & Electronics Basketball team and the runner up IC A School Championship basketball team. Was Honorman of the Motion Picture Repair School and was able to take the IC3 promotion test based on my qualifications for BT3.

March 1969 – January 1970 USS Weiss APD-135
Reported aboard in San Diego as an IC3 and lead petty officer of the IC shop - with no experience in the Fleet as an ICman- Sailed to Manzanillo, Mexico and thru the Panama Canal and up tha Sabine River to Orange, Texas where we decommissioned the Weiss and sister ship USS Diachenko APD 123. Took the IC2 promotion exam at Mayport Florida while on leave after the decommissioning of the Weiss.

January 1970 – June 1971 USS Iwo Jima LPH-2
Reached the Iwo in San Diego Harbor and immediately participated in training exercises for the recovery of the Apollo 13 Lunar Mission. Promoted to IC2 and made lead petty officer of the forward IC room. Sailed for the Recovery of Apollo 13, first to Hawaii and then to the vicinity of Bora Bora . After the successful launch, we headed for Australia to wait for the return and recovery of the astronauts. In the process we crossed the equator and I became a Shellback. Before we reached Australia, the explosion occurred aboard the spacecraft and we were turned around to make for the recovery Zone. After all the suspense the capsule made a perfect reentry and splashdown and was brought aboard, all of which I was fortunate to be an eyewitness to.
We returned to San Diego via Hawaii and began preparing for our deployment to WestPac. We sailed in October 1970 and spent time in Hawaii, Subic Bay, Philippines, Manilia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore and of course many, many days on station off South Vietnam, entering port only once at DaNang. I flew into Cambodia on a helo during a resupply mission to an LPD that was up a river there acting as a gas station for the Cambodian and Laotian helicopters participating in the battle for Highway 4. We left from Subic Bay and returned to San Diego via Okinawa and Hawaii in June 1971. I reenlisted for duty on the East Coast. I got a Destroyer out of Norfolk.

October 1971 – January 1975 USS Holder DD-819
After many delays and adventures I reached the Holder at Naples, Italy and visited ports in Spain and Turkey before returning to Norfolk. We soon learned our homeport was being changed to Boston, Mass. and made a cruise to Ft. Lauderdale, Mayport, and to Halifax, Nova Scotia before settling in at the Boston Navy Yard. In early 1973 I received promotion to IC1 and we sailed again for the Mediterranean where we trailed a Russian Carrier and forced a Russian diesel Sub to surface off the coast of Egypt . The highlight for me was a weekend excursion by bus to Rome, Italy. When we returned to Boston we discovered that Pres. Nixon had closed the Navy Yard and we moved across the Harbor to the Naval Annex. When this was closed we moved via the Cape Cod Canal to Newport, Rhode Island. I was due shore duty and finally my orders came for Recruit Company Commander at Great Lakes Training center in Chicago. I was waiting on the pier for my travel pay to be issued when someone yelled out that the XO wanted to see me. I went to his office and he showed me papers about possible shore duty in Thurmont, Maryland and asked if I wanted that. I said it was a lot further South than Chicago- send me! I was send down over the weekend in August 1974 for an interview and found that Naval Support Facility Thurmont Maryland was the Presidential Retreat, Camp David. As I was being interviewed, the Master Chief said "hear that"? It was a helicopter and I said yes . He then said " That's Nixon leaving, he won't be back". I needed a White House Top Secret security clearance and was sent back to the Holder to wait what they said would be about six months for the FBI to complete its background investigation. A few weeks later the XO again called for me and showed me another paper. This said I was UA, Unauthorized Absence - AWOL- from Great Lakes! No one had bothered to tell them my orders were being changed, but the XO said not to worry and I didn't. By and By in December my clearance came in and orders were cut for me to report to Camp David January 8, 1975.
January 1975 – Sep 1977 Naval Support Facility Thurmont, Maryland ( Camp David)
I served here as an Intrusion alarm specialist and as motion Picture Operator for Presidents Ford and Carter and the First Family. It was good duty and I enjoyed it but my father became ill and it was thought he may not pull through so I made a very difficult decision to leave active duty, go home and join the reserves so that I could be more help to my mother and father. as it was, he recovered from the cancer and lived to be 94!

Transfer to Naval Reserve
Service in the Reserves was interesting and I did get to make several short cruises on the minesweepers, once back to Halifax . I was sent to New Orleans to Career Counselors School and served as Command Career Counselor aboard the Mine Sweepers and at the Ships Intermediate Maintenance Activity. But I truly enjoyed the excitement and fulfilment of being a Fire Fighting Instructor at the Mayport Training Facility. We did good work.

November 1978 – Aug 1980 Ships Intermediate Maintenance Activity Mayport

Aug 1980 – Aug 1985 USS Exultant MSO-441/USS Impervious MSO-449

Aug 1985 – Aug 1988 Ships Intermediate Maintenance Activity Mayport

Aug 1988 – June 1990 FTC Mayport Firefighting School Instructor.

Retired June 1990

Also served in Transient duty aboard USS Ajax AR-6 and USS Yosemite AD-19

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