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Jon Compton

NBAer 1964-66

<b><font size="+1"> Enlisting in the Navy from Texas in 1964, I was sent to San Diego for Basic Training and then back there for RM "A" schoo



Enlisting in the Navy from Texas in 1964, I was sent to San Diego for Basic Training and then back there for RM "A" school. Upon graduating, our class all received our first duty stations. Mine said "Balboa". I thought to myself......."Oh no, back here again. (For you few that don't know, there is a Balboa district in San Diego.) After I reread my orders and seeing it was Balboa, Panama, C.Z.....I thought to myself, what the hello!!..........So, on Dec 24th, 1964, Christmas Eve, I flew from Charleston S.C. to Panama. I still had my "Whites" on from traveling and not twenty minutes into my tour of my new barracks when all of a sudden some dark skinned, small guy was pointing out the upper deck screen hollering "Iguana, Iguana". What the Hello was an "Iguana". Within 3 minutes and 15 seconds I was in the jungle, my "whites" now green, and drenched in sweat. (Boy, is it humid here in Panama). Then..........I saw "IT" "Iguana".........Holy sugar shack...........I thought at the time God had a bunch of parts left over and he threw them in a box and this is what happened. I thought briefly that I probably should have stayed in "Balboa", San Diego. Guys my age were on either side of me and I thought they must be as crazy as loons to chase this thing that didn't want to get caught. Just then, this stupid vine jumped out in front of me and I stumbled and fell right on top of the Iguana knocking the poor thing unconscious. The hoots and hollers and pats on the back from all the guys was the onset of many friendships. This was my welcoming, my introduction to two years of the best "growing up" I could have ever had.


After Panama, I toured the Mediterranean for a summer aboard the Richard E. Byrd, DDG23, a guided missile destroyer based out of Norfolk, Va. In the fall of '67 we represented the Navy and graced Mobile Alabama in helping them celebrate their Mardi Gras. What a blast. I had to extend for two months back in February to get my RM3. So in April of 1968 I left the Navy. Boy, did they ever offer good money to extend back then. Don't remember why I turned it down. I immediately returned to Texas and went to Dallas to attend a school that offered a guarantee of a first class FCC license at the end. After graduating and planning to attend the University of Texas in the fall, I still had most of the summer left and took a part time job that took me just north of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Met a little girl right over the border in Michigan and asked her to marry me four days later. Next April will be our 40th anniversary. Stayed and settled in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is where I started thinking about God again. (Remember the Iguana?) Or, at first, I thought of "God forsaken". My first winter up here I was amazed to see men out in the snow with what I thought was a overgrown lawn mower. Couldn't really tell what it was because the snow was so God awful deep. Come to find out it was what they called a "snow thrower". These things are self propelled. After I seen their potential.........well, I wanted to try it. Damn near broke both my arms. And don't even think of standing in front of the snow chute. When I was younger I thought snow flakes were pretty.........And snow balls were awesome. But this much snow...........What was God thinking. My first three winters up here I had to learn how to drive a car in snow all over again. Being from Texas our parents had to drive us to Oklahoma to see the stuff. And that was once ever three years or so.

(Just to tease you a bit, our region received just over 300 inches of snow this past winter) Convert that in to feet!! At one point last winter I could stand in the middle of my street facing my house and I could only make out the roof line. But, out comes the snow plows, fills our driveways with the white stuff, I blow it out with my "overgrown lawn mower" and off we go. My mom once asked me if we buy enough food

to last us the winter and claiming that most of us just hibernated. Maybe for a day or two but not the norm.


I spent the first 6 or 7 years of our marriage with no real purpose other than going 4 years to college on the GI Bill. Finished out with only an associates degree. Never finished my last semester for a BA. I dabbled in television repair, electricians helper, etc. I looked into joining the Naval reserve but nothing here local. Just a few blocks away is an Army National Guard armory. Like everyone else, I thought it was just a place to hold a wedding reception. So in Feb of '76 I became a "week-end warrior". I was a part time, once a month Radio and teletype operator. I had just gotten a full time job at one of our two local Iron Ore mines. I was in hog heaven for the next 4 years. The mines had a major layoff in 1980 and down the tubes I went again. A couple of years later a full time civil service position became available at the armory. A supply sergeants job. Desperate for a better job, I took it. As one job led to another I ended up as the E7 (Sergeant First Class) Admin Supervisor for the Upper Peninsula. This area had 11 armories at one time. Retiring in 2005 at 60 years, 1 month old. I worked until the very last day civil service allowed. Came close to going to Iraq at 58 years old but never did. In early 2005 my wife, Corie, was diagnosed with her 2nd bout of cancer.(The first being in 1995) Many bouts of loss..........two surgeries......sicker that a dog most of the time.......the same turmoil that most cancer patients go through. But just recently she was seen for a check-up. The one small cancer node they were watching had shrunk down to half its original size, ON IT'S OWN. This is really a blessing. I now have a richer insight for caregivers. OK, OK, I've got to bring God into it one more time. We were blessed by a daughter in 1970. She married a great guy in 1990 and divorced nine years later. No children. Then, two years ago, in the middle of Corie's chemo therapy and really down time, our daughter Kim at 38 years old, had a baby boy . We didn't think we would ever be grand parents. I'm a firm believer that this miracle that God allowed helped Corie through her rough times. He has truly been an inspiration for Corie.


So here we are, newly retired, things finally starting to go our way. One day I'm sitting at the computer and I Google "FARFAN CANAL ZONE".........ummmm............Well, I'll be...........!!!!!!!!!


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