Navy Page


Owen B. Abbey 1943

Grampa Abbey was one of the first SeaBees.   His rate was EM or Electricians Mate.   Now the SeaBees have a rate called Construction Electrician.   The SeaBees were formed from experienced tradesmen trained to build and fight.   Grampa Abbey said it would be better to fight them over there than fight them here,   so that is why he went.  He was deployed to the South Pacific, Manus and Los Negros Islands.  He survived the war but died the year before I was born.   The above portrait hung on the wall in the house I grew up in.

EM1 Owen Brucker Abbey ( Lower Left) 1943 About to ship out to the South Pacific

Richard Owen Abbey (Dad) age 7 1943

In those days tailors would make a boy size uniform that was exactly like the real thing.   Of course Richard wanted to be just like his Dad.

First photo in uniform...

And of course David,  wanted to be just like Dad,  and Grampa Abbey…


AFCM Darold Louis " Lou " Harris (Step Dad) 1929 to 2012

Master Chief Harris was promoted to Senior Chief with the first group of Senior Chiefs ever.   He tested for Senior Chief.   He started in the reserve and then enlisted in the active Navy before his reserve time was up.  The reserve Navy sent him threatening letters because he was not showing up for drills. He wrote them and explained he was in the active Navy.   They insisted he return his seabag full of uniforms since he had not finished his entire reserve time.   He mailed them a bag of stuff from the lucky bag,  they were satisfied with that.  He always started his sea stories with “This is no sh!t…”  His awards included Navy Unit Comm, Expert Pistol, Meritorious Unit, Vietnam Service (2 awards), National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct (7 awards).

Richard Owen Abbey (Dad) Boot Camp Group 4th back on diagonal from right rear corner 1962

Dad was in boot camp the year before I was born.    He was a SeaBee “Engineer Aid” (a surveyor) in the Navy reserve.  His Navy skills translated to civilian skills for the Michigan Highway Department as a draftsman.  SeaBees trained at Marine boot camp in those days and Dad had to do the live fire course where they fire live ammo and tracers over your head while you crawl around under a chicken wire net.  During boot camp in preparing for an inspection they cleaned the heads perfectly and then strategically placed some peanut butter on the seat of one of the commodes.  When the inspecting officer asked “WTF is that? pointing to the peanut butter there on the seat”,  one of the Sailors ran over and tasted it and anounced, “it is sh!t sir”.

Uncle Darrell Cunningham 1968, Back row, on your left, guy in glasses.


Uncle Darrell Cunningham 1968


USS Dixon AS37 Attack Tender nineteen seventy something, 5 inch gun visible forward

Dixon was commissioned in 1971.  Originally she had a 5 inch gun.  At some point it was removed (long before 1987 when I first met her).

One guy has piece watch, no chow for him. This was what bootcamp looked like when I was there in 1981.

Not a gun,  not a shoot’n iron,   no, it is your piece…   And don’t EVER leave it unattended.  They are very heavy to carry and Chief thought it was fun to have us exercise with them and see how long we could hold it straight out.  Years later,  my arms still remembered how to come to present arms and drill with the rifle.  The group after us were issued white spats (oh crap,  white spats inspection?).  The boot camp experience was always being adjusted.

Great Lakes

Great Lakes changed little over the years until recently.   Have not been there since 2008, but on You-tube there are videos of all new buildings they call ships that are self contained with school, chow and barracks all in one building.  We always had to march to school and chow,  in the rain and snow,  carry raincoats on the belt all folded up.  Running late,  still have to pick up chow,  goes right in the trash as we run back out the door and form up again.  The first few weeks we wore watch caps, they called us raisins.  The white hat was something that was earned over the first few weeks.   Getting to wear the white hat was a huge deal.   I hated that watch cap after that.  Never wore it.  Would not wear  the black garrison cap either…

Graduation 1983

Boot Camp Great Lakes 1983

Circa 1983

ET School 1983

ET Class 8395A AE Phase

ET School Graduates 1983

FSC-79 Satcom Antenna

UYK-20 NAVCOMSTA Stockton 1984


Dixon at Sitka Alaska


USS Dixon AS37 Attack Tender

USS Dixon AS37 1987

Re-enlistment on USS Dixon 1987


With Capt McRae, Sigonella CO

Sigonella Italy 1997



24 Responses to Navy Page

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    Dave; nice website! I like the historical sequence and family history. I see that you graduated Boot Camp, Great Lakes in 1983; I graduated early Jan 1984 (a very cold winter it was!) with CTO1 Pegues and BTC Beauchamp as my Company Commanders; any similarities?

    • admin says:

      Not much changes at Glakes. Good memories. I remember Chief Teal was the CC for company 115. He was a tough SOB, Airdale Boson Mate. D

  2. Mark says:

    Nice!! I like the picture of my brother and leader Chief Abbey! Iam sure that grandpa would be proud.

    HTCS Sermon!!!!

  3. Stuart Seashols says:

    You did a very nice job of highlighting your father’s service and your time as well. I recall how delighted I was to hear of your promotion to Chief. “The Chief” is the Navy!
    A great Uncle of mine served in the Navy in WWI and my father joined up in 1938 and was on a repair ship in New Zealand when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was transfered to a Mine Sweeper Squadron in the Phillipines and wound up a POW of the Japanese for 33 months. His service always was my motivation and at my retirement in 2003, I dedicated my 32 years of service to his memory and his service to America.
    You did good Sailor!
    Stuart Seashols CWO4 USN RET

  4. Chad Spawr says:


    Great website; proud to have you as a fellow Classic Viking. It is a special breed who serves his country. Welcome aboard!


  5. David Hinchy, ATC (AC) USN Ret. says:

    Hey, nice career sailor. I taught AE phase from 1982 to 1988…worked for Mr. Fogel. I can remember many individual sailors due to age and the number that passed thru. I might possibly have taught you; probably saw you once or twice…oh, I taught the eve shift…does that correspond with you. Glad you stayed Navy…hope your retirement is going well. Bldg 512 is gone now and Bldg 520 remodeled for Damage Control School…but memories remain.

    • admin says:

      Hey Dave,

      Thanks for the comment. I think we were on the eve shift for at least part of the program. Maybe if I saw a photo I would remember you. We had a bunch of great instructors. I wrote a little about ET school in the intro page.

      Last time I was at Glakes, 520 was torpedo man school. When going through that school it seemed as if it had always been there and would always be there. My ship was sunk (as a practice target) in 2003. NAVCOMSTA Stockton closed. The Rocky Mountain Navy calibration school closed. Not much left of the Navy that I remember. But it was great, would do it again.

      Have a son, not much interest. It ends with me.


  6. Lani Cunningham says:

    Dave–Really nice website. I’ve scanned a couple of your Uncle D’s USN pictures. Let me know if you want me to email them to you. I know it takes time, but keep up the great work! Love, Aunt Lani

  7. Lani Cunningham says:

    David, Thank you for including Uncle Darrell on your Navy page.

    Aunt Lani

  8. Gary Croix says:

    ‘Attack Tender.’ Great description. I found your site while googling the Mighty Dixon. I was in A Div, 87-90. Didn’t make MMC though, got out in 2005 as a MM1.
    Nice site.

    • admin says:

      Hi Gary, Thanks for the comments. We must have been there at the same time. Added an old old black and white photos showing her with a 5 inch gun forward. Can’t remember where I heard her called an Attack Tender. Seems just right. One of my side jobs was fixing the big Xerox copiers. Remember Deck Div’s big Xerox was wrecked during the big storm, never worked again… R, Dave

      • Kevin P. Jewett says:

        Dave, I really enjoyed this. I read “Attack” and I thought…She was a “Sub Tender” 🙂 It’s funny about the Copier repair thing…I broke my arm and you went to school in my place…Now I am a Field Supervisor for Toshiba in the Cpoy Mgt. Group (TBS-Carolinas CMG)
        On a side note…Best supervisor a guy could ask for (Navy or Civilian!)

        • admin says:

          Hi Kevin, Great to hear from you. Those were good days. I really miss the 80’s. Now in Indiana so a little closer. Thanks for the kind words. V/r, Dave

  9. Paul Duncan says:


    I’m in the 8392-F picture, 2nd row, 2nd from the right. It’s been many years, but I remember this period vividly, and I remember you.

    Wasn’t the 2nd class PO’s name Lauren Anders or something close to that? I remember the other ET2 — Dave Daughtry. His wife is named Joy, and they were from Maryland.

    Also, in the very back of the 8392-A picture, in the center in the last row, is Gary Zimmerman. I was stationed with him on the Kennedy, CV-67 from ’83 to ’88. He was from Akron, OH.

    I look forward to catching up with you!


    • admin says:


      Great to hear from you!

      Those were great days. I think you are the only one I have contact with from “A” school. I can remember you without even looking at the picture.

      Thanks for posting on the Navy page.

      Keep in touch.

  10. Mike Kane says:

    It was great to see NAS Sigonella in the pics!!! III wwwwwwwwwas stationed at NAVCOMSTA Sicily in 88-90. I was in the SATCOM shop keeping the AN/GSC-39v2 on-line and happy! Those were great years.

  11. Video360 says:

    Hi Dave-

    Thanks for bringing back some long-forgotten and amazing memories! I found your site through the NAVY ET page on Facebook, so I thought I’d visit.

    I started boot camp in Great Lakes on 10Jan83, so I was just a little ahead of you. Eventually, I graduated ET-A school in May of ’84, and I remember the front entrance of the school that you posted a photo of like it was yesterday.

    For the picture you have of your graduation from boot camp, where did the photo come from? Did your family take it, or was there a Navy photographer assigned? I’m asking because I’d like to try and track down a photo of my company’s graduation.

    Thanks again-you have a great page!

    Doug Evans

    • admin says:

      Doug, Thanks for the comments. The pass in review photo was taken by the Navy, not sure how one would hunt down such a thing. Probably it was a contractor. Maybe if you wrote a freedom of information act request they could find it for you. Good luck, Dave

  12. Clay Wilder says:

    Nice page Dave…we were all young then that is for sure…Have a great day.

  13. Norm Kessler says:

    in your first class pic second from right top I believe is a guy I served with on Diego Garcia Tom Caithamer….not sure of spelling…does that ring a bell?

  14. Mike Kane says:

    You and I shared some experiences, though at different times. I saw the FSC-79 antenna photo that you posted. My first C school was FSC-78/79, GSC-39. I also saw the NAS Sigonella pictures. My first duty station was NAVCOMSTA Sicily, working on the GSC-39 there. What a lot of fun that system was!

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