A lot of the guys decorate their vests with patches from this command and that
command and from reunions and where they’ve been and what they’ve done but not
his. It is very plain. He has his name, just “Jim”, no last name or nickname (his
nickname on subs was “Dick”, short for Richard. I had, and have, the same nickname
in the submarine world) on the right breast and below that the U.S. Submarine
Veterans of World War II patch.
On the left breast is his ribbon bar, although it does not have all of his awards on it. It
is four rows with two ribbons in the top row and three ribbons in the three remaining
rows. The ribbons on the top are the Silver Star and the Navy Commendation Medal
with a “V” for valor meaning it was awarded for combat action (the Silver Star doesn’t
need the “V” because it is a combat valor award in itself).
The next row has his Presidential Unit Citation ribbon which is a unit award the Barb
won for patrols 8, 9, 10 and 11.
Next to it is his Navy Unit Commendation ribbon which is another unit award the Bard
won for the 12th war patrol;
Followed by his good conduct ribbon, issued to enlisted personnel only, when they go
4 consecutive years without an infraction on their record.
The next row has his American Service Defense ribbon followed by his Asiatic-Pacific
Campaign ribbon and then his World War II Victory ribbon.
The last row has his National Defense ribbon, his Philippine Liberation ribbon and
lastly his Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
Above the ribbon bar are his silver dolphins signifying that he qualified submarines as
an enlisted man and below the ribbon bar is his combat patrol in with 5 stars, the pin
for the first patrol and the stars for each successive patrol.
Below the combat pin is an embroidery of the USS Barb’s patch with the fish in the
middle holding a stick of dynamite. That’s all there is on the front.
On the back is simply the large U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II patch with
“Tidewater, VA” atop it and “Chapter” below it. Below that where most vets have
embroidered all the commands they were attached to, all he has is “USS BARB SS
220”. No Trout, no Cusk, no Proteus, no Fulton, no Orion, no L.Y. Spear, none of his
shore-related commands, nothing. I guess he felt that Barb about says it all.
|Tim's Swearing In
Dad actually put his uniform back on in 1985 and came
to Richmond to swear me in. That was neat and I think
he really liked getting the uniform back on after 11
years. It caused somewhat of a commotion because I
had not said anything to anyone about him coming to
the Military Entrance Processing Center, (MEPS).
As a Commander with WW II decorations including the
Silver Star, you don’t just wander in places in dress
uniform unnoticed. I heard all the commotion on the
floor where I was when he came walking in and I
remember saying, “that’s just my Dad”. Someone there
educated me that in the future, when a person of that
rank is visiting you, let the staff know. Anyhow, that was
He did the same thing when I re-enlisted 6 years later.
That was on board Lapon and a lot of people, including
my C.O. at the time, were interested in talking with him
about his exploits and time in the Navy. He also liked
the protocol afforded officers of his rank and above.
When they arrive they get recognized throughout the
ship over the 1MC or loudspeaker system, “Commander,
United States Navy, arriving” and “Commander, United
States Navy, departing”.
I was only nine years old when Jim went into the
Navy. I don’t have many memories of him before
that, and since he was gone for many years, I
only have the memories of Dad and Mom
watching the mail for a letter from Jim.
However, after he came home, I remember he and
Helen dating, and I remember how excited I was
when they became engaged. After they married,
they lived in an apartment across from the high
school---upstairs. That was where I babysat my
brand new niece, Yvette. Jim was so attentive to
Helen and to the baby. Made me hope that one
day I would find someone who loved me as much
as he loved them.
When the Korean conflict started, I remember Jim
being called back into the Navy. That is probably
one of the saddest memories for me...he had to
go away from his family. At that time, I know he
had Yvette and I think Bernie was tiny.
When he was picked up at their house on San
Emidio Street, I remember him crying as he kissed
them good-bye. He didn’t want to leave them. I
cannot remember how long before Helen was able
to join Jim at his base, but I know she moved
whenever he was reassigned, and stayed as close
to him as she could.
The rest of my memories are hearsay and not
from actual experience. They never moved back
to Taft, and we saw them only on rare occasions.
His Navy career kept him busy as he took
advantage of the schools offered him as he
progressed from enlisted status through Officer
Candidate School. He had what the Navy wanted, I
|Jim's Career Appointments
13Dec42 – Enlisted
2Feb43-19Apr43 – Recruit
Training Command – San Diego
23Apr43-20Jun43 – Diesel School
– Columbia, MO
3Jul43-1Nov43 – Submarine
School – New London, CT
Nov43-Dec43 – 61st Division
Relief School – Mare Island
13Dec43-6Nov45 – USS Barb
15Nov45 – Discharged
8May47-29Aug50 – Reserves –
30Aug50-20Jun55 – USS Cusk
20Jun55-4Jan57 – Nuclear Power
School – Idaho
4Jan57-12Mar58 – Naval Admin –
Great Lakes, Il
31Mar58-27Apr60 – USS Fulton –
30Apr60-28Dec62 – USS Proteus
– Holy Loch, Scotland
31Jan63-25Jun65 – USS Nereus –
1Jul65-1Jul67 – ComSubPac –
11Aug67-19Sep69 – USS Orion –
1Oct69-31May73 – ComSubLant –
27Jun73-31May74 – Safety
Center – Virginia Beach
|He liked gardening and for many years had varied and prolific gardens both in
San Diego and Virginia Beach. He would basically plan it all out himself, with
Mom, and it was usually a do-it-yourself evolution.
That didn’t mean he did all the work himself because we often got roped into
helping, but if he needed to build a flowerbed, he did it (we did it), or cut down
a tree, he did it (we did it), pull weeds, he did it (we did it), etc. He planted a
Weeping Willow in the backyard one year and it took off, getting too big. He
would cut pieces off and he transplanted them along our side fence. Those
eventually grew into huge Willow trees.
One day, the main tree blew over during a storm because it was so big and
the root system was too shallow. Guess who had to cut it up? We did. He
had a gas-powered mulching machine and we put the limbs through that and
created our own mulch. Lemons into lemonade.
He’d order topsoil, “dirt”, as far as I was concerned, by the dump truck load
and have it dumped in the driveway and then it was my and Jim’s job to fill
wheelbarrows and move the pile to the backyard. It usually ended up me
moving the pile to the backyard because Jimmy always had a way of shirking
the work. I recall making it into a game or a challenge; see how much dirt I
could get in the barrow, see how many trips I could make in a certain amount
of time, etc.
Dad had a habit of “ruining” your weekend. I recall we’d make plans with
friends to go play ball or go to the beach, whatever, and we’d be ready to take
off on Saturday and Dad would say, where do you think you’re going?
You’re supposed to help me in the yard, (or garage, or paint the house, or
whatever) this weekend. He wouldn’t tell you in advance, he’d tell you that
I never had my kids help in the yard or garage because of that. They’d mow
the lawn some but they knew in advance and they got paid for it. All in all I
can’t complain. Working in the yard or garage for Dad was a drag but we
would eventually get to go do what we wanted and usually all we lost was a
little time. It got to where we’d try to sneak out before he corralled us.
He had a ton of clocks and watches. His goal was to rebuild these clocks
although he rarely did that I recall. It used to be odd because we had so
many clocks in the house and no two of them kept the same time. You’d have
to call time on the telephone to figure out which one was accurate.
And we couldn’t touch any of them. If we did, well, no wonder it doesn’t keep
time, you messed with it. The only one I could touch was his Navy clock that
had a matching barometer below it. They each were set in a replica of a
ship’s wheel. The only reason I could touch that one is because it needed
winding and I took that as my job. The key hung from a shoestring on one of
the pegs of the wheel.
When I was in kindergarten and learning to tell time, he made me a “clock”
out of heavy construction board, about 18” square, and he stenciled the
numbers on it and even had a real hour and minute hand. I took that to
school and no one had anything even close to it as a learning aid. I think the
school ended up with it. I learned to tell time by that thing though.
He had, Mom still has, what I think is an awesome grandfather clock. It has
the pendulum in it and the old heavy weights. It worked for a long time. It
needs to be reconditioned and could probably work again. I’ve always wanted
a grandfather clock because of that one. The garage had, and has, boxes full
of clockworks. He “lost” a special clock many years ago and when I cleaned
out his garage just before he passed away I found it.
It took me two weeks and 11 truck load trips to the dump to get that garage
clean but I got it done. He never got to see it because he died the day before
Mom was going to bring him by to see it. I thought of him each and every trip
to the dump too. I’d go by the place he was in, rehab place, whatever, and
specify what I was not sure about so that I did not dispose of something that
was of value to him.
I’d give him progress reports every few days and he was usually excited
about something I’d found in that garage. I’d nearly always bring him stuff I
found. Keep in mind this is a large two-car garage and it was literally stuffed
nearly to the ceiling with “stuff”. The attic had stuff in it too, all going back
forty years. It actually turned out to be a fortunate thing that it got cleaned
when it did because afterward I knew where every single thing was and what
precisely was in every box or container.
When he died, we were able to locate important documents pretty much right
away. Also, gathering in that garage over the next week or so with everyone
was enjoyable especially being able to go through many of the things “found”
in the garage and reminisce with Mom and Yvette and everyone. Later, with
the garage cleaned out, there was room for Mom to be able to pull her van
into the garage, something that had not been done ever.
|For vices, he seemed to have few. He did smoke, and it took him a while to
quit but he didn’t drink and rarely cussed. It used to be funny catching him
smoking in the bathroom or garage and not saying anything (didn’t need to)
but I’d be rolling on the inside watching him try to cover it up, like “What, I
didn’t do anything”.
I know he drank some at Navy parties and such but I rarely saw that. What I
do remember is every once in a while on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon
he'd open a beer and watch sports but he’d fall asleep and almost never
finish the beer.
When we lived on Fundy Court, my family now, not his, we used to have
court parties all the time and one 4th of July party he and Mom came to it.
This was about 2002 or 2003. He actually drank about 4 or 5 beers and really
enjoyed himself telling sea stories to all the neighbors. My neighbors still
talk about that.
That’s also the most I’ve ever seen him drink at one time. Mom actually gave
him like, “permission” every time I’d offer him another one, it’d be like, “go
ahead, you can have another one if you want”. He’s nearly 80 years old and
he has to ask. I thought that was funny. He didn’t “ask” her but I guess she
felt like he was.
He drank a ton of iced tea though. Always Lipton instant and never with
anything in it. He’d have these monster glasses, like 48oz and stuff. We’d
sneak drinks out of it when he was asleep. “Get your own damn glass” we’d
hear if we got caught. “Why, I’ve got yours”, was usually the retort. “Now
get me a refill” usually followed.
I heard him say “shit” and “GD” sometimes but it usually involved a hammer
and his thumb. If he ever said GD and it was directed at you or something
you did, “oh, shit!”, you knew it was not going to have a pleasant outcome
He used to spank us with a board for punishment and once I recall it was a
Saturday afternoon and I’d done something and he was watching sports on
TV. He sends me out to the garage and tells me to pick out a board he’d be
out in a minute to whoop me.
I picked out a nice 1 x 4 and waited…and waited…and waited. I slowly
opened the garage door leading into the kitchen and I could peek around the
corner into the family room and see him in his chair. Guess what? He was
asleep! I slowly closed the door and sat on top of the freezer there in the
garage. One hour, two hours, three hours, next thing I know Mom is
rounding everyone up for dinner. “Where’s Tim?”, I hear, to which I come
bounding in from the garage, sit down, eat.
He forgot all about my whooping and I wasn’t going to remind him. Last time
I ever got a whooping (he’d make you grab your ankles and if you let go it
didn’t count), I was 14 or so and I assume the position. He starts wailing and
I’m thinking , come on already, I’m getting bored here.
I never let go, never let out a peep and I think he just flat out got tired after
about 15 whacks. I guess my ass had built up a tolerance and it just didn’t
hurt, except for his pride maybe. “Did you learn your lesson?”, “Yes sir”
…Never got a spanking after that. I guess he learned his lesson too.
|JIM'S LAST VISIT
Throughout their marriage, Helen and Jim had to live apart for extended
periods of time, and even when settled into Virginia Beach, Jim traveled a
At every separation, be it travel, assignment or courier purposes, he always
told Helen not to say goodbye. "Goodbye" he would say, "means that you
aren't coming back...and I am coming back".
And so he did. Not long after Jim wrote his 50th Class Reunion biography,
he retired from Q.E.D. He continued to pursue the many interests that Tim
has talked about above. He had good energy, was active even in his
volunteer EMT responsibilities until 1996 when he suffered a mild stroke.
He recovered from that very nicely, and in 2000 or so, he and Helen took a
trip out to the West Coast, by car...a Lincoln of which he was quite proud,
and the two of them visited with his siblings and saw his mother for the last
time. Jim always had a difficult time being around people who were dying,
said Helen; it made him very stressed, and that was one reason he was
reluctant to see his father, Harold, when he was dying of colon cancer. It
was a very painful visit.
A year after Jim's "tour" of the family, I returned to California, when I
remarried following the death of my wife Susan in 2001. My bride, Linda
Hannon Reed, lived in Bakersfield. Once settled, I met regularly with Bill,
Jim's brother who also lived in town, and I learned a bit about my "distant"
cousin, and I wished that I had been able to visit with him.
By that time, Admiral Eugene Fluckey had written his wonderful book,
"Thunder Below" and I had a good read of my autographed copy. In the
spring of 2004, I learned that Jim and Helen were driving out again for
another visit. Helen did not like to fly, so they usually drove, dipping into
Texas to visit with relatives there and continuing on to California.
When Jim was here, Bill and I visited with him at lunch. It was a very
relaxing conversation and Jim shared a lot of little tidbits about his time in
service with us.
Upon their return to Virginia Beach, Jim's health began to fail. In September
2005, it took a significant turn for the worse; suffering from emphysema
and heart congestion he grew weaker and was hospitalized. On September
10, Helen spent the day with him, and then in the late afternoon, Jim said
that she should go home and get some rest.
When, she agreed and gathered her things, he said to her, "Goodbye, I love
you; goodbye, I love you; goodbye, I love you". At home, Helen puzzled over
that a bit and then suddenly realized that Jim was saying goodbye. He knew
he was near death.
She rushed back to the hospital to hear the call for Code Blue and she knew
it was for him. She pushed by nurses and doctors who tried to restrain her,
put her head down next to Jim's ear and said, "Jim, its Helen I’m right here
with you…I’m with you…..I'm here". For a moment, his heart beat returned,
he drew a breath and listened; she knew that he heard her. Then, he was
|SYLVIA, TONY, BILL
|HELEN, JIM AND SYLVIA
|ONE OF JIM'S HAND CARVED DUCKS
After the war, dad became a volunteer fireman for the City of Taft. When he
and Helen moved to Virginia, he was a volunteer fireman for Kempsville Fire
Department in Virginia Beach, at a time when all of the firemen were
· He was one of the first Cardiac Technicians (CT) in the city as a
member of Kempsville Volunteer Rescue Squad
· He rose in those ranks to become a Lieutenant and at one time,
President of both the local fire department and rescue squad in 1976. His
membership card that year is signed by himself twice, once as cardholder
and once as President.
· He worked full time the entire time he was with the fire
department/rescue squad, often going on one or more calls that would keep
him out most or all of the night only to return home, often without sleep, to
dress for work that day. No wonder he would fall asleep in his chair in front
of the TV after work.
· He gave up being a firefighter in the early ‘80s but stayed with the
rescue squad for some years after that.
|TIM AND JIM
|COMMANDER, UNITED STATES NAVY
This picture is missing a stripe. :-)
|SYLVIA AND TONY RICHARD
|TONY AND BILL
|CENTER: JIM WITH HELEN; ON LEFT: HELEN IN COURTSHIP DAYS; ON RIGHT
JIM'S MOTHER ELOISE...BY FAR THE MOST GLAMOROUS PHOTO OF HER HAVE
|JIM AND TIM
|Jim in front row, uniformed officer on the left; officer to
Jim's left, in uniform, is Tim's godfather. This is the group
studying radiology at Princeton University as Jim prepared
to direct servicing of the USS Nautilus.