The Navy Hymn

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm doth stay the restless wave,
Who bidst the mighty ocean deep,
Its own appointed limit keep,
O hear us when we cry to thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

I honorably served our country in the U.S. Navy and was retired in January 1995. Below is a list of the duty station assignments during my Naval career.


My first duty station was at Beachmaster Unit Two in Little Creek, VA. I spent time serving at the Naval Base at Little Creek, VA and went on a deployment aboard the USS Trenton during my tour of duty. Beachmaster Unit Two is assigned the mission of providing tactical components in support of an Amphibious Landing.  Under the control of a Beachmaster Officer-in-Charge, the Naval Beach Party Team goes ashore early in an assault to control the landing in the beach area.  The Officer-in-Charge of the Beach Party Team, as the senior naval representative on the beach, must maintain continuous liaison with the Amphibious Task Force Commander and ensure prompt movement of supplies, equipment and troops across the beach.  He must further be prepared to facilitate the evacuation of casualties and prisoners of war. Beachmaster Unit Two's history goes back to the days of World War II. Early on during the Second World War, it quickly became apparent that the orderly flow of troops, equipment, and supplies across the assault beaches was an absolutely essential element to the success of amphibious operations. It also became obvious that some special organization was needed to effect and coordinate mass movement through the surf zone and onto the hostile shore. To accomplish this task, small units called Beach Party Teams were formed. Beachmaster Unit Two began deploying in September 1942. Beachmaster Unit Two has been involved in major amphibious exercises and operations in Lebanon, Cuba, Grenada, Desert Storm, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.


My first cruise was aboard the USS Trenton (LPD-14), the lead ship of her class of amphibious transport dock, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the capital of New Jersey. Her keel was laid down at Seattle, Washington, on 8 August 1966 by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company. She was launched on 3 August 1968 sponsored by Mrs. Richard J. Hughes, and commissioned on 6 March 1971 with Captain Karl R. Thiele in command. I was onboard the USS Trenton while serving with Beachmaster Unit Two in Little Creek, VA. I was deployed on the USS Trenton for her Mediterranean deployment with embarked elements of Marine Battalion Landing Team 2/8, departed Morehead City on 27 July, as part of Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group 2-78. The remainder of 1978 was spent with the Sixth Fleet in that sea. Upon completion of this deployment I remained at Beachmaster Unit Two and then transferred to Combat Systems Schools Command at Mare Ilsand, CA in April 1981. In January 17, 2007 USS Trenton, commanded by Cmdr. Samuel Norton, was decommissioned in a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk. Immediately following the decommissioning, the amphibious transport dock was recommissioned and transferred to the Indian Navy, bearing the name INS Jalashwa.


My first duty assignment aboard a ship was on the USS Spruance (DD-963). She was commissioned on 12 August 1975 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, USS SPRUANCE (DD-963) is the first of a class of 31 destroyers developed for the primary mission of Undersea Warfare. Displacing 9020 tons, USS SPRUANCE class destroyers are the largest destroyers in the history of the U.S. Navy. These sophisticated warships are designed to be readily adaptable to new weapon systems and electronics, ensuring these ships will remain in service well into the twenty-first century.

A superior weapon suite makes USS SPRUANCE one of the most capable ships in the U.S. Navy arsenal. Armed with 61 cell Vertical Launch System (VLS), USS SPRUANCE can launch Tomahawk cruise missiles against shore targets and Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rockets against hostile submarines. USS SPRUANCE also carries eight Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles, two five inch guns for surface, air, and shore fire support, a NATO Sea Sparrow missile launcher to engage enemy aircraft and anti-ship missiles, and a 20mm Close In Weapon System for short range air defense. These weapon systems give USS SPRUANCE a lethal ability to engage enemy forces in a highly complex and challenging warfare environment.

USS SPRUANCE is equipped with some of the most modern upgrades in her class. The Vertical Launch System upgrade was received in the late 1980s, replacing an older ASROC launcher. The active and passive Anti-submarine sensors are among the most capable in the world. Engineering plant steam auxiliary systems have been completely replaced with electric equivalents. SPRUANCE is fitted with Reverse Osmosis Distilling Plants, significantly increasing the production of fresh water. Numerous other upgrades have kept USS SPRUANCE at the cutting edge of technology.

USS SPRUANCE deployed to the Mediterranean from April through October 1997 with the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) Battle Group. Serving as the Destroyer Squadron 24 flagship, USS SPRUANCE made significant contributions throughout the deployment including: visiting thirteen foreign ports; participating in five multi-national naval exercises in the Mediterranean and Black Seas; serving as Presidential Support Ship in Rotterdam, Netherlands; representing the U.S. Navy in Thoule Sur Mer, France, in commemoration of the fifty-second anniversary of the Allied landings in southern France; and hosting Ukrainian military and diplomatic distinguished visitors during the 1997 Ukrainian Independence Day celebration. The professional sailors and airmen in USS SPRUANCE will continue to succeed, however tasked, through exceptional leadership, dedication to duty, and a spirited pride in service. Decommissioned on March 23, 2005, the SPRUANCE was subsequently laid-up in Philadelphia, Penn. On December 8, 2006, the destroyer was sunk as a target off the Virginia Capes. USS SPRUANCE was the longest-serving ship in her class.


Sep. 10, 1945 - USS Midway (CVB 41), first of the 45,000 ton class aircraft carriers, was placed in commission at Newport News, Va., Capt. Joseph F. Bolger in command. I was attached to the USS MIDWAY CV-41 as a member of Anti-Submarine Helocopter Squardron TWELVE. I went on a West PAC Cruise onboard the MIDWAY in 1987-88 before coming back to the US for shore assignment at Naval Weapons Station, Concord, CA. In August 1991, Midway departed Yokosuka and returned to Pearl Harbor. Here, she turned over with Independence which was replacing Midway as the forward-deployed carrier in Yokosuka. Midway then sailed to San Diego where she was decommissioned at Naval Air Station North Island on 11 April 1992 in a ceremony in which the main speaker was Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. The USS MIDWAY has been converted into a museum in San Diego, CA.
An Historical Review of the USS MIDWAY, CV-41USS MIDWAY History

HS-12 Wyverns
Picture by Rob Bixby

I was assigned to HS-12 from 1985 to 1988. The squadron was assigned to the USS MIDWAY, CV-41. During my assignment I had the opportunity to cross the equator and visited such ports as Hong Kong, Korea, Subic Bay, Philippines and Sydney, AUS. I left HS-12 in January of 1988 and was stationed at Naval Weapons Station, Concord, CA. HS-12 was replaced by HS-14 on the USS Independence.


My last duty station before leaving the Navy was Naval Weapons Station (WPNSTA) Concord, The weapons station is a 12,800-acre site located in the north-central portion of Contra Costa County. WPNSTA Concord facility is comprised of two geographically separate units, the Inland (5,170 acres) and Tidal (7,630 acres) Areas, and a radiography facility in Pittsburgh, California. Aside from typical administrative and support work activities, this facility is the major ammunition transshipment port of the West Coast for the Department of Navy.
Responsibility for port operations at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in California transferred 01 October 1999 from the Navy to the Army's Military Traffic Management Command. The Department of Defense directed the action in a December 1998 Program Budget Decision and approved transition plans hammered out between the Army and Navy in July. Rationale for the decision stems from the Navy's dwindling need for the facility coupled with DoD's continuing need to retain it for contingencies, officials said. Most of the property to the base will eventually be turned over to the City of Concord, CA for future use.

YN1 Dave Wagner


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