Naples to Germany, New Jersey and Norfolk, VA - 1965-1966
When we left Naples, Sue and the kids were not there on my military orders, since it wasn't a permanent duty station for me, so we had to get them home the best way we could. They could fly "space available" on military flights and I took 30 days leave so we could travel together space-A. We had no problem getting to Rheinmein, Germany, but from there back to the US the flights were always booked solid with people on orders. We sat at that Air Force base for 2 weeks trying to get out. Every flight had 20 empty seats which they said were reserved for Prestwick, Scotland, a stop on the way. I asked about taking the seats to Scotland, but was told they always used them and we'd never get out of Prestwick. After 2 weeks we heard about a military charter flight for dependents going to the USA and we got Sue and the kids on it for $360. That was a good chunk of money then, but still well below the cost to fly commercial. Once they were on the way, I checked off leave and, now on orders, was on the next flight out. When we stopped in Prestwick I asked about the 20 seats and was told they seldom ever used them. We could have been out of there 2 weeks before. My flight was grounded in Gander, NFLD with mechanical problems and I was stuck there for a couple of days. I finally caught a ride on an aerial refueling tanker headed for New Jersey. When I got back to the squadron, they said, "Where the heck have you been? You were due in Norfolk 2 weeks ago". I had been approved for leave but someone hadn't got the word. I checked out of HU4, got some additional leave and went by home before we moved to Norfolk. We rented a house there and got our furniture out of storage. We were there until the end of June 1966.
I had been passed over for promotion in 1964, shortly after getting to HU4 and had learned that broken service was almost sure to get you passed over. I got the 2nd one right after arriving at Norfolk and knew, short of a miracle, that I would get the third one in 1966 and be out, which is what happened.
I made two short cruises out of Norfolk. One with the USS Neosho , to the Dominican Republic. The second was aboard the USS Altair , to Peurto Rico.
As expected my third passover came and we returned to civilian life on June 30, 1966.
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