Jim Richard Report for Fiftieth Class Reunion
James (Jim) Richard
5329 Sir Barton Dr.
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
Served 30 years in the Navy. Retired as Commander in 1974. Since that time
I have worked for ED Systems Inc. as a Project Engineer. Married Helen
Slentz August, 1946. Married 46 years. Five Children, 3 girls and 2 boys.
Seven and ½ grandchildren, 3 boys, 4 girls, ½?
After graduation, I attended Bakersfield JC for one semester. In December
1942, I joined the Navy and went through 16 weeks of recruit training in San
Diego. From there I went to Diesel School in Columbia, Missouri at the
University of Missouri.
My next stop was submarine school in New London, Connecticut. From there
I proceeded to Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. This was in
I was then assigned to the USS Barb (SS220) a submarine for duty in the
I served on BARB for 5 war patrols and was awarded the Submarine Combat
Pin with 5 stars. These were: The Silver Star Navy Commendation Medal; the
Presidential Unit Citation; Navy Unit Citation; Good Conduct Medal and the
various Pacific Theater Medals. Our Captain was awarded the Congressional
Medal of Honor and 5 Navy Crosses.
When the war ended Barb was sent to New London, Connecticut for
inactivation. I was then discharged from the Navy in December of 1945 as a
First Class Motor Machinist Mate. I then returned to Taft and went to work
for Standard Oil Co. as a Mechanic/Machinist in the Gas Engine Shop. In
August of 1946, Helen Slentz and I were married at St. Mary’s Church.
Our first daughter, Yvette was born in Taft in May of 1947. Our second
daughter, Bernadette was also born in Taft in December of 1949.
In August of 1950 I was recalled to active duty in the Navy for the Korean
War. I was sent to San Diego where I served on the USS Cusk (SS348) the
first missile firing submarine.
I served on Cusk in San Diego and then Port Hunemea until June 1954 when I
was transferred to Idaho Falls, Idaho for nuclear power training. While in
Idaho Falls, I qualified as a Nuclear Welder and was the first ex enlisted man
to qualify as Chief Operator of the [Nuclear] plant. I say ex enlisted man
because in 1956, I was promoted to Chief Engineman and then a short time
later was promoted to Warrant Machinist.
In December, 1957, I was transferred to Great Lakes Naval Training Center
where I served as Transportation Officer. In February of 1958, our first son,
Jim Jr., was born in Lake Forrest, Ill. In mid-March, with a month old baby,
we departed Great Lakes for New London, Connecticut, where I was assigned
as a Division Officer on the Submarine Tender USS FULTON (AS-11).
The main reason for my assignment was to set the Fulton up to repair nuclear
powered submarines, a task I was successful in accomplishing, and we
performed the first upkeep and Nuclear Repair on the first Nuclear Submarine
“USS NAUTILUS” (ssn-571).
In June of 1959, I was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer and then in January
1960, to Ensign and attended Officer Training School in Newport, RI.
In February, 1960, our second son, Timothy was born in Norwich, Conn.
From Officer Training School, I returned to Fulton in New London, Conn., but
not for long.
In May, 1960, I was transferred to the pre-commissioning of USS Proteus (AS-
19) in Charleston, S.C. as Machinery Officer where I had 252 enlisted men, 19
CPO’s and 4 Officers in my division. In October 1960, I was promoted from
Ensign to full Lieutenant. (I skipped LtJG).
In December 1960, the Proteus proceeded from Charleston, S.C. to New
Longdon, Conn. where we accomplished an upkeep on the first FBM
Submarine, the USS George Washington.
In March 1961, Proteus departed New London and proceeded to Holy Loch,
Scotland where we set up the advanced upkeep site for the FBM submarines
in the North Atlantic.
I served on Proteus as a Division Officer and then as the first Quality
Assurance Officer in the Navy.
In December 1962, it was time to move again. This time we traveled from
Scotland to San Diego where I served as the Assistant Repair Officer of USS
Nereus (AS-17). In April of 1963, while I was serving [aboard] Nereus,
daughter number three, Suzzette was born in San Diego.
Well once again with a new baby it’s time to move on. In June 1965, we
departed San Diego for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where I served on the Staff of
the Commander of Submarines, Pacific under Admiral Fluckey who was my
Captain during WWWII. In June 1966, I was promoted to Lieutenant
A month later, I got my orders to USS Orion (AS018) in Norfolk, VA. Assigned
as repair officer, the job I had wanted for years. I served for 3 ½ years and
then was transferred to Staff of the Commander of Submarine, Atlantic Fleet
In 1971, I was promoted to Commander. I served on the staff for 5 years and
then the Naval Safety Center requested me; since I had been on the staff so
long, they couldn’t hold me any longer.
I served at the Naval Safety Center for a little over a year and then in May
1974, I was retired from the Navy (limited Duty Officers could only stay in the
service 30 years.)
After my retirement I worked in the yard and around the house. I made
Rescue Calls with the Rescue Squad and fought fires with the volunteer fire
department. ( I served in the volunteer rescue squad and fire department for
20 years). Then, after 4 months of this I was getting on Helen’s nerves so at
her request I went out and got a job.
I went to work for QED Systems Inc. in January of 1975 and have worked for
them in various positions as a Project Engineer. In December of 1990, QED
opened a Shop Facility and I set up the shops up in a 6600 square feet
warehouse, and we have since expanded into another 6600 square feet and
are are presently trying to get more space. We have a machine shop, sheet
metal shop, electric shop and electronics shop.
I have served in various positions in the organization. We started with 4
people and now employ over 50. I am presently the Quality Assurance
Manager, the Facilities Manager the Logistics Manager and Planner Estimator
and take care of whatever else needs to be done. I should have retired when I
turned 65 three years ago, but as long as I feel good and enjoy my work I will
keep at it.
Don’t feel like playing Golf or Fishing so guess I’ll keep on working. I
regularly put in 45-55 hours a week. In my spare time, I carve ducks and do a
little wood work.
Well, there’s a quick review of the 50 years.