APRIL 1978 – APRIL 1982

Arriving in Ann Arbor in 1978 was a shocker.  Leaving my family in Florida. I searched for a home in Ann Arbor and commuted 120 miles a day with my father-in-law for 4 ½ months from north of Detroit while trying to learn the new job. It was also a month after the worst winter in 100 years, the blizzards of 1977/1978, when I arrived.

Navy ROTC on the campus of the University of Michigan is housed in North Hall.  It was originally built as a homeopathic hospital in 1899. I served in North Hall for four years in the Navy before I retired. In later years I spent another 14 years there working with the Air Force ROTC as a civilian. The Navy moved into the building in 1942.

North Hall was just coming out of the Vietnam “student demonstration days’’ when I reported in 1978.  The students used to sit in the hallways and block the classrooms and an Army sedan was either torched or blown up right at the front entrance during the Vietnam days.

The civilian I replaced was at Air Force ROTC for 30 years shared with me some of the stories about the demonstration days in the 1970’s. Nothing real violent, just disruptive. The staff was allowed to wear civilian clothes, they didn’t have to get haircuts, their base stickers on automobiles, from previous stations, were to be removed, their signs of authority had to be removed from their offices.  Appearance was to be nothing to resemble the military as much as possible.  North Hall hadn’t had many repairs during the Vietnam days.  The carpenters, etc. were there almost weekly just to keep on top of what damage the student demonstrators had done.

Speaking for the Navy ROTC students, the old NESEP, MESEP was discontinued but was brought back in later years. Midshipmen were both scholarship and non-scholarship.  Luckily a Navy Chief Quartermaster (Assistant Navigation Instructor) reported aboard about the same time as myself and we embarked on a long-term self-help program.   We got the University to take a look at some of the problems, what we couldn’t get done by the “U” we painted and repaired ourselves.  I visited North Hall many times in the past and they still complain about the building, I only remark you should of seen it back then.

Just recently the “U’ regents authorized 1 ½ million dollars to upgrade the electrical and air conditioning in the building. Absolutely no A/C existed when I came aboard and on the hot summer days when the sun came on the west side, we were excused many a day early.  The electrical in the building couldn’t even hold the fans that everyone had at their desks. When the University went into their own telephone system, the wiring still was in place for the previous two systems.  I could go on forever about YE OLD NORTH HALL.

Having come up with some medical related issues due partially to the hazardous conditions of NORTH HALL my tour of duty was extended.  I became faced with whether continuing my career or taking my chance of retiring. After talking things over with Lois, I elected the later.   Our nieces and nephews were wondering who was this Uncle and this Aunt was all about etc. as they traveled in the Navy and were seldom around relatives. It was time to hang it up.

After Navy retirement in April 1982, I worked for the U of M hospital for about two years and then with the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan for one year and then back to North Hall as a civilian employee of the Air Force ROTC for 14 years as an Administrative Assistant.

I owe everything I have and ever will have to my Junior High School sweetheart and now have been married to for over 51 years, my wife Lois.

Fair Winds and Following Seas to all of you!

Service awards (not in order of precedence)

Combat Action Ribbon     Navy & Marine Corps Commendation
Navy Sea Servcie Deployment     Navy Unit Commendation
Republic Vietnam Campaign     Republic Vietnam Gallantry Cross Metal w/Palm
Vietnam Service w/3 bronze stars     Navy Good Conduct w/4 stars
National Defence Ribbon     Arm Force Expeditionary Ribbon ( Cuban Blockade
Navy Presdential Unit Citation     Enlisted Surface Warfare Device