Chuck Olmstead interviews Patriot’s Landing resident David Martin, a retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer E7. He was born and raised in northeast Iowa, graduating in 1955, then joined the Navy and was trained in California, then started his service in Alaska. He eventually retired to Olympia, Oregon.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
This special answers for elders podcast honoring military veterans. His sponsored by carriage. For more information about carriage, the website is see AAR EA gecom. Well, this is chuck holmstead. I’m down here at Patriots landing for our Carriage Veterans Interview for answers for elders, and with me today is David Martin. He’s retired US Navy, retired as chief Petty Officer e seven. David, welcome today to answers for elders. Like. Yeah, well, it’s good to meet you. We’ve had a little chance to chat a little bit, but I always like to hear the stories about folks who have served in the military and usually a story you start at the beginning. So I always like to hear did you grow up around here? This is this? You’re part of the country or somewhere else in the US? No, I was born and raised in Iowa. Really we’re about son Iowa, Charles City. Charles City, where is? Where in the State is Charles City? It’s up the northeast corner. Northeast, so up towards Dubuque, northern. Yeah, up, up a little bit farther north. Yeah, yeah, well, I grew up in the quad cities area down in Rock Island, Illinois. So that’s Mississippi Valley, kind of up in that region there. So, yeah, how Wan how many years? And I well, until I graduated high school. Interesting and and well, Iowa had six feet of stone, forty below zero, it’s the way I like to put it. MMM, and I just didn’t like that. Yeah, so I went to school California and Imperial Beach, California. That’s a quite that’s quite a transition going from northeast, I would to California. Well, I didn’t know. I didn’t know anything about about what the Navy would do for you. I just want to get out, uh Huh. Actually, I wanted to join the air force. The guy was out to lunch. I joined the navy and I went to school down California and I was headed for after I got done into two schools, I was headed for Alaska and I was, I can’t remember, without a train or a bus, but I looked out is in Oregon and I saw some dude and Oregon, Moldy’s lawn and February. HMM, I says. That’s where I got to be and that’s stuck with me forever. And so when time come to retire, they says will send you where you want to go. I say I will about Oregon. Well, I started check at Oregon. Ed got a military and got a you know right. No, let’s try washing and they got for the Louis Record. All right, good things up here. And so that I started checking. I find a place in Olympia. Uh Huh. So let’s go back to Iowa. So you graduated in high school. What Year did you graduate? Fifty five, one thousand nine hundred and fifty five. So Korean War was had just ended, pretty much was over, and you graduate. So did you go right into the Navy right out of high school? And then? Yes, so you’ve joined joined the navy and they sent you to California for training. Yeah, I had two schools down there. Uh Huh. And what were you trained in down there? I mean, you know, I’m sure you had basic training. And then I went to Great Lakes for basic training. And and that I went down to tellman school, which is I guess that’s where they get the Radioman, HMM, and and they handle the mail. Tell them the yeah, but that’s the school I went to and I went to imperial beach for CT school, which is communication nation. I see, and I got out there. That’s what I was headed for. Alaska. Yeah, so that’s the big transition. Iowa, California, Alaska. Where in Alaska were you based? A DAK okay. Well, the I is up the illusions, out the illusions. So so that would have been probably one thousand nine hundred and fifty six, right around in there. Five thousand five hundred and fifty six. So this is the Cold War. Is really started to ramp up around that time. So I’m sure concerned with the Soviet Union and what was going on there, you know, with the navy and with radio, with if the illusions or no, no, wait, that wasn’t a concern. Wouldn’t a concern? Yeah, my dad was on a deck when he was in a Davy, Uh Huh, but I you know, I didn’t have anything to do with that. Yeah, so how many years at a DEC and the other one? One year I started by sweat sheet at three hundred and sixty four. I see and I want off that rock. And then later after I had a wife and kids back and that was great duty. We really enjoyed it. We extended a couple times and the after Oh, I think after a couple of times they thought I was nuts because I wanted to stay interesting. Good, that was good duty. So what changed from the first time you were out there till the say? All, the first time out, Uh Huh, and I had wife, did kids. Uh Huh. The second time out, and the other thing we had is a commissary in the PX and the series catalog. Right. That’s how we that’s how we survived. Yeah, did a good job. Yeah, I bought it old. It was a restored Volkswagen fastback with and I had undercoat top and I took that up there with me and it was pretty good. HMM. And if they’d see it along the road they knew whose it was. Yeah, it was. I want to like it. And before we left the starter went out. Of course I had to write a letter to my dad law and I said send me a starter for those beast. So by the time he got it and he got it on, a ship came up there. Well, I was ready to leave. So I sold the car with the starter sitting in the backseat. Uh Huh, and the car was sitting out in the park. A lot of the air ternament running. Hey, do that up there, right, and it was. It was a good duty, good duty. Yeah. So after you spent your first year up there in a Dak, did you then go on board a ship? Where you were? You know, I was very pretty much I was a I was in security group, which is the the spokes that called us, and we were pretty much land based. I see. So I I hit every one of the stations in the Pacific. Interesting. So, Japan, well, Philippines, well, I saw a lot of these things out of ship later. What matter? Ship? Well, I knew I was going to end up there some place. Right. So I think I picked the flagship to some fleet flagship and I looked at their OPSCAP, their schedule. That’s pretty good. They’d be said in Ecuska for three or four months. They took a trip to Hong Kong and then they take a trip to Philippines or something like that. It was was good duty and yeah, almost like land duty, hmm. But you got to get to go out and see things. Well, what up there very long or what not? A chip very long, and then Vietnam broke own. Yeah, and op the OPSCAT wouldn’t yeah, over, UH, Huh. And so we could down and I was not a thing for two years. I. And we get down and set off the coast of Vietnam. HMM. And that’s how we’re. We spent a good bet a time and we go home. But and my wife was in your problem. She had a she had a think she just had a daughter then M and we get to go home every three or four months and we wouldn’t. And when we were home, when he still had to go out of board to work, right, I mean we had work to be done. So I didn’t get a whole lot of time at home. MM. But then we we were in for a weekend one time and every time we every time we go north, we had to stop. I don’t know if he stopped or not, but we’d stop in the Philippines and Subic Bay was, oh boy, that was a nice place. HMM. But they had a missile districts estrange off off of the Philippines and we had to shoot him. Miss had the tables surface to air mission and we’d have shooting miss as soon as we shot it. We could had too Broughs, have a barn. It was a kind of a goofy ship and so, but we we shoot it and we had one time the Chacolin was on the one MC, which is the speaker system all over the ship. MMM, and he gives us a countdown and I get up on the signal bridge had by seafort. Camera are ghastly for up there on the pladal bridge. I wanted to see a picture of this live. Must Take it off right and it’s chocolate and give us the one, one or five, hundred, four, three two, one hundation and the next count was the boom right. And I’m sitting there and I got pictures of superstructure, blue sky, cloudys. Guy Never did get a picture best. So anyway, I then there was one day they shot the mess old in the chapel and says mammy and me row addition and it took off and it went up. Oh, I don’t know, quite a ways. Did you turn? I was going right back. Let’s come right back to my right, back at my bunk. My bunk was rather on the waterline and I’m standing up there. Of Than Miss Missile House and just before it and to dip into the water and we stayed around there for how many hours watching that white water come up, because it was still burn when I went into drink. Interesting. And so we were watching for some debris or, you know, whatever parts of the BYSSUL or a fash or anything. We can see it. And would they think? But white water. That was I don’t think I ever went up at the bussels again. Yeah, I saw if I saw it coming, I didn’t want to be there. Yeah, I didn’t want to die there. Yeah, so you were in the navy then the entire time of Vietnam. I mean Vietnam, because if you were there in twenty years and you started in fifty five, fifty six, so Vietnam ended around seventy four. So, but you didn’t necessarily stay in the Pacific all that time. That’s another story I’ll tell me. Well, I was working in the Pentagon and my wife was from Germany, huge German, Uh Huh, and I always wanted to go to Europe. I was working the Pentagon and I can look cross wats, I can see this building over there. That the where they call them, anyway, the guys that wrote the orders. HMM, and I knew. So I’m it nice. So I want over one day and I says I’ll go to Europe. Okay, we’ll fix you up. Well, I got more orders. Are Back to Pacific. I spent my whole career in the Pacific other than I was in DC. Twice I was. I was down for it or so some place down there one tour and I never got never got east to DC. Interesting. So every time I boomerang right back to Pacific. Uh Huh. Well, I’m sure you know that area well. So how did your you know you’ve traveled a lot. How did your family do as you were traveling around it? They go with you most of the time or well, you kind of find a habit that Yokohama. Uh Huh. And World War Two housing. Uh Huh. And she had she had an infant daughter at the time. Uh Huh. The car setting right outside, but I didn’t want to drive it over there right that was wouldn’t stone where to do. But she could walk over the PX COMMISAR. She put kid to Stroller and and go over and door shopping and whatnot. And but we come home, we take car out, make sure it was still run and you like to go down d avenue, which was just just down the road. It was at all those they were so artistic. Would they put up their produce. I mean beautiful, beautiful stuff. This is what eat, that stuffs grow to night soil. And what was it? The something look so good. I remember. I’s got to great. It looks so good. So we ventured one time and we bought we took it home, started ate just a little bit. Huh, nothing happened. So we the rest of it. Nothing happened. So we started buying our produce down on the avenue. HMM, oh, it was so good. I forget what that was. We want but the commissary. You go into commissary and that stuff. have been around a box a few times and it was I mean it was bad. Yeah, it was. We got it on a shit OUP. HMM. All produce come into Thomas or a ship. By that time it was ready to go to the dumb. Yeah, but the stuff I’d so good. We started buying everything done. HMM, yeah, it so. Tell me about some of your military experiences. You obviously you got to see a lot on both off on base and on seat. Was it? Did you have a lot of people that you knew that maybe didn’t necessarily travel at in the same time you did, but you kind of had a core group of guys or where you just kind of you know was it was. It just kind of a loner experience going from different assignments. Well, we were we were security to Europe and they were close mouth bunch and the road only few. I mean I go from one duty station to the next. I know, I know, you, you know right. And it was no, no secret. What the one of the things I went to go home and I had a we always had a sponsor and the sponsor would check and see and well being beings were cheage. You know, I take yeah, you check in here one day and you might miss a day. And he checked. It probably took a month to get checked in and we go out to see the sights and all stuff. Well, I had this guy was my spats and we may kind of started checking in and and he says one day he says, you know, there’s a the chief for the curier station. It’s he’s he’s about he’s about to get transferred and he’s a school sea. So we went over and this guy all he was was fall off whoop, but he was chief in charge of the curier station and I didn’t know curier from Sandy Clause. MMM. So the guy gets on the phone, he calls, the personality says I really Sare okay. So I became the chief in charge of the curier station, which made me a currier, Uh Huh, and I oh, I was real proud of they gave you a burgundy colored passport, which is diplomatic, I see, and I thought, Oh, this is really great that I go someplace I show this burgundy colored passport and they would even look at it. They just throw me through, and I was real proud of that. Yeah, so what were your chief responsibilities then? You know, in that assignment where you didn’t what does it curier do? Well, we flew all kinds perier material, usually good sized bags and stuff, and we had pouches we’d use. was well, packaged boxes or so. Yeah, so it’d be like the secret was it last, classified stuff, all class fakes up a couple times. Right, we had lady Bird Johnson. The box of her gown came in broke open. was kind of funny. But we delivered prarier materials to all the places on the island and I had all my guys were Oh, I had anywhere fifteen to thirty guys working for me and they were all guards and we all carried weapons. They made his carry m loaded. We start out with forty five. He could hit the broad side of a barn with them. That’s why I need to throw it at them. And then we moved up to thirty eight short bell or short barrels and long barrels. And one time we were up come to Marianna’s, which is the head she had on the island, and I had a guard with me and we’re walking down the passageway and who should cross right across in front of us was President Johnson. And well, that’s strange. And so we stopped waiting for you. Just go across. Where’s the Secret Service? I didn’t see a sink of service up there. And here’s two guys nobody knew. Well, the people that I delivered to, they didn’t. And and you had your weapons. Well, we’re getting these weapons and there’s the president six feet round us. Wow, and yeah, that was an event. Yeah, so then did you? Did he acknowledge you at all, or it was he just now use he was with his budge, right right. Probably some secret service here too, right, I wouldn’t impressed. So that was a good job though. Oh yeah, I lived on the Air Force Base, lived on Anderson are force base. Is Only two chiefs they’ve done the on Anderson Air Force Base and one of them was the at CO chief. He’s a want to run the terminal and me, but I had to be there for any aircraft to drop in real quick, hmm. And the guys called me and say hey, we gotta aircraft down and D whatever, and so I jumped my little green Volkswagen and I’d head for the fly line. And two o’clock in the morning, you know, these are are police guys are saw to sleep in there. You know, the gates open, but they’re they’re not really with it, and I’d run the gate and they call up the head shed. They’d say hey, I just had a car running my gate and they had she had it. It was a big green volkswagon. They say he’s okay. Yeah, yeah, and that was a t shirt, shorts, flip flops. Yeah, so I got to be twenty years and you decided twenty and out. Huh. Yeah, yeah, well, the last two years, well, I don’t know last, but two years I took a night course at Pinncicola junior college. I was, of course, manager Benskolda course of for senior enlisted. MMM. And I joined in class for a homoplanets repair. Are for a planets repair. HMM. And that was for our hours of night, four nights a week from two years. I didn’t graduate. Well, I did graduate, but I had a certificate right. I never had a graduation ceremony or anything like that. I went in a month later and asked the janitor if he he get to my certificate. That went picked it up. MMM. That was like my big deal, that I didn’t have to go anymore anymore. Well, that was a drag. So after retirement, what did you do? I fix a plasses, did you so? That’s what you did. That’s what I did. I got out and, well, see, I got out and seventy five, MMM, and went down to sears. I sid and need a job. Then I’ve all as a resume, ble money. I said I need a job. She give me a test. I passed the test and she called the service manager. Says I got to get the guy here, and it was a guy. Leave it. He was going into business for himself. So I got his tools, I got his chuck, I got, okay, he’s routes. I got and I had a job within a month. Wow, those are yeah, those were the days when actually they repaired appliances. Now it’s almost like a throwaway thing, isn’t it? I mean, you know, I mean some still get repaired, but we worked. I worked on a lot of laundry. Uh Huh, a refrigeration, it was. I mean if we build a way, fixed it right. I mean you don’t fix things like toulstures. No, no, go, get doing right. But yeah, it was. It was. It was a good job and I kept busy. MMM MMM, really busy. Yeah, and so is that what you did for most of the rest of your vocation? Vocational Time of work? This is appliances. Yeah, so how many years? Well, I started. I started in seventy five and I pooped out ninety nine because I, mouney’s gave up. UHHUH. I’ve been getting whatever shot it is in your knees courtis own. Yeah, M but get them. You sounds familiar with that. Oh, sure I have. I know what words all about. And so I ended up getting new knees. You can’t, you can’t kneel on fake knees. MMM. So I had to retire. Yeah, and so I guess it was what twenty four, I caught twenty five years that I worked out a playoffs. You just get you can’t work a playoff with not getting on kneel exactly. So, but we worked on everything. So how did you end up here at Patriots landing? How did you decide to come here? Well, we knew a couple from from here. Well, they were actually lived at summit lake and we went up to see you one time. My son was probably seven or eight years old. But then, and Clint was his wife still lives here. He died. HMM. Clint was hit by the problem that are aircraft when he was in the baby so he was just able, but he was good. He was a good guy and could do a lot of things. So we were up to their place at some of the lake one time. Mary’s just what told Tom why don’t go down, sir, to see what’s in the basement? Boy, he went down there and back up Hei’ces a boat down there. That a boat house ride down under death out of the House. Oh so clint got arouses. Well, if you’d like to come work with me the things I can’t do, let’s you run the boat and so oh, that that was a dream job. Yeah, of course we had take you out there every time, but we enjoyed we enjoyed them and Tom and do things that Clinton didn’t do. So we came up here to see him one time. They moved up here and we came in by the mailboxes any where I was. We walked in. It was a door there. So we came in and we didn’t know what to do. It looks like the front desk up there, so place. So we were headed for that. We came through the library. This is before they remodel the place. HMM, and I’m found Clinton the mill and in the library and that was all over. Then we met Susan, Susan Fie, and she took ours, took us by the hand and give us books tour. It was all over. Yeah, beautiful place, isn’t yeah, it was about ten years ago. Yeah, yeah, so you’ve been here about ten yeah, somewhere in there. HMM. Well, very good. Yeah. Well, I’ve been speaking with David Martin. He’s retired US Navy Chief Petty Officer e seven, and David, I want to thank you for joining us today on answers for elders and I want to thank you for your service and you don’t have to add to see seven. I don’t have to. I won’t, chief Betty Offalder, that’ll a chief. Are just chief. Thanks. Chief. This has been a special honoring veterans. Presentation of answers for elders brought to you by carriage. For more information about carriage, the website is cur agecom.
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