The grand kids asked me the other day about my Navy days. After telling them and showing some pictures of the USS Monticello it brought back some good and some sad memories from when I was aboard her. I was an engineman while on board the Monticello, one of my duties was to go on one of the four small boats. We had two Mark 11 and two VP that was carried on board.
She was commissioned in March of 1957. I did not board her until October of 1968. Even though I was only on board for almost two years I did enjoy my time on her. Even though I missed my family while we were deployed I was able to have my wife with me some of the time. I have some pictures of when the ship was ballast down and took a tug boat in side the well deck. We also loaded 3 Jets on board with our cranes, two went in the well deck and one on the helo deck to be delivered back overseas. Also I got a picture of a helo landing while we were off the coast of Vietnam. As you can see in one picture we had loaded some troops and their equipment on board which tears up the wood in the well deck.
The Monticello spent three months in dry dock at the Bremerton Washington Navel ship yard. While there we received brand new wood in the well deck. So before we loaded any more troops we had a swim party where we ballast down, opened the stern gate took on about twelve feet of water then closed the gate.
While refueling out at sea our ship was sucked into the refueling ship and their gun turret ripped us open above the water line thank goodness. I had found this picture taken from the USS Kawishiwi AO 146 which is the ship we collided with. The other picture is of the USS Monticello and The USS Tripoli being refueled at the same time.
The Monticello was decommissioned in 1997 where she was towed out used for target practices and sunk. She will always be in my memory. I know my two youngest grand kids wanted to go see her and go on board her but I had to tell them that it has been sunk and that they can only see her in my pictures.
I have some pictures where the Monticello looks necked from being stripped. I have also add two URL that will show what was done to sink her and to show her finial resting place.
When all the family went to Houston for Caleb’s Graduation. his younger brother came back to Amarillo to stay several weeks with both sets of grandparents. After a month the kids came up from Houston to pick him up. They have been looking for a pickup to give Colten for his 16th birthday which is July 14th by the way, They did not find one for him before time to come and get him. It just happened as they were coming into town his mother was looking at FB on her phone and noticed that one of her friends had posted a pickup for sale. They went and looked it over and decided it was the right one. They did not want to give it to him until his birthday but since they had to get it back to Houston they went ahead and gave it to him. So we were able to see his excitement when they gave it to him. They left today to drive the 12 hours back home.
It has been eleven days since we left home. We have had a great time traveling and seeing parts of Texas our home state that we have never seen. Most of all we our so happy and proud to be able to watch our grandson graduate.
After getting up and around we had breakfast, packed the car and checked out of the motel. Met the Amarillo kids at their RV park. We set around reminiscing about when they were kids and how we used to travel around with our RV. Those are good memories we have and Jeff wants to build those kind of memories with his family.
Jeremy and Aubrey joined us after lunch. We all visited until mid afternoon. The kiddos wanted to go swimming again so we went down and watched for a bit, then said our goodbyes and headed out for home. We do not like to drive through Houston when it is so busy , and since it was a Sunday afternoon it was not as busy as it would be on a week day. We drove about 250 miles down the road and got a motel. I usually wake up early and get on the road but there was a rain storm coming through so we did not get to leave until around 9:00 which got us home around 5:00 PM.
Jeremy did a exultant job mooring the boat, then everyone pitched in to make sure we cleaned it better than we got it. I disembarked first and took the fresh water hose and washed down the bow and the sides the best I could. We decided we were hungry so Jeremy told us there was a place close by called T-Bone Toms Steakhouse. They set us out on the patio right next to the live band that was playing. It was so loud you could not hear the waitress when she was trying to take our order. But it was well worth it when the 4 year old asked his dad to dance with him and then he went to his mother and asked her to dance. By the time the food came and he had a bite or two the little man passed out even with all the noise.
Jeff, Amy, and two boys have not been on the sail boat, so Jeremy had it checked out for Saturday evening. We went to Kemah Texas that is where the boat is docked. Jeremy looked the boat over to make sure it was ready for us to take out. We loaded up then watched as Jeremy and Aubrey did their thing, backing that big long boat away from the pier and then slowly working their way around all the other boats around Kemah and then out into the bay. It was a beautiful evening for sailing, in fact off in the distance we could see a sail boat regatta going on. The two little ones had a blast especially when their uncle Jeremy let them steer the boat.
The next day which was Saturday June 7th. We slept in to let the others sleep late also for we knew they were up late. Aubrey was having a come and go party for Caleb so friends and family could come by to congratulate him. So that afternoon we went over a little early so we could be there when his friends came by.
It was time for us to get to Reliant Stadium (where the Houston Texans play) for the graduation. The class of 2014 at Pearland high school had 720 seniors graduating and this is why they had to have a place as big as the stadium. I can not explain how proud I am of my children and grandchildren. The college that Caleb has chosen to go to has less students in the entire college than he had in his senior class at high school.
It is a Beautiful Friday morning June sixth the big day. Caleb is graduating high school. Mama and I woke up and started getting around. Not only is this graduation day but it is also my 68th birthday. My wife told me happy birthday and gave me a kiss. I told her thank you but I did not want today to be about me because it is a special day for Caleb and his parents.
We made our way over to the kids house and they were just starting to get up and around. In fact here is where we found Caleb. He was all stretched out on the couch. Every one started getting up and Jeff and Amy came over we visited until time to get dressed for the graduation. Caleb had to be there early so we all went to eat a little early so he could leave. and meet up with his friends who were graduating also.
After eating we went back to the house to hang out until time to make our way to Reliant Stadium where the graduation was going to be held. I noticed that everyone was gathering in the kitchen and dining room. Colten came in and said poppy you are wanted in the kitchen. When I got in there everyone sang happy birthday to me and Aubrey had made me some delicious birthday Truffle.
We pretty much rested at the motel here in Houston for some of the day. The oldest grand son had school part of the day and the younger one had school all day. Our son had to go out of town for work and was not going to get in till latter that day.
The Amarillo schools have already let out for the summer and so those kids came in today. So after they parked their travel trailer at the RV park they met us at the Houston kids house. We decided we would all go out to eat some BBQ. Coletn wanted to go to Red River BBQ in League City Texas so that’s where we headed. Sorry I did not get a picture of the food itself we were to busy eating it, that is what the Harbin clan likes to do.