KATHLEEN E. M. MELVILLE-HALL, YNC
WIMSA Charter Member 218383
US Naval Reserve: NOV 1961 to 1965, & JUN 1979 to JAN 2001
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Born: Dec 29, 1940 Alpena, MI USA
Hometown: Alpena, MI
Enlisted in United States Naval Air Reserve at Grosse Isle Naval Air Station 18 November 1961. Commander John Derthick administered the Oath of Enlistment. The Navy Public Affairs Office announced Navy draws fifth of family! They proceeded to enumerate that dad, Richard was a WWII sailor (Plank owner - USS Gilbert Islands); brothers Pat, an Aviator at Pensacola; Paul in VS 733 at NAS South Weymouth, MA; & Mike had belonged to a USNR Electronics unit drilling in Alpena. He later went Air Force.
March 1962: I was Recruit Chief Petty Officer of the company at Boot Camp at Bainbridge Maryland. Most memorable - the Navy could not fit my skinny size 11 foot with issue shoes. I was allowed to wear black loafers the entire time! Today that would have been a ticket back home. The entire unit was “in on it” & when they underwent an inspection with Lt Pennecheck & she spotted the shoes, they were all smirking. Ever the lady, she stepped back, covered her mouth with a white gloved hand & staring at the offending shoes, whispered to Chief Kathleen Amick about them. The Chief promptly explained the problem & the inspection concluded with the hoped for words “Sharp WAVE!”
I returned to Grosse Isle via a hop with CDR Derthick at the controls. They had some turbulence & the Gooney Bird bounced around & dropped like a roller coaster. The aircrew had neglected to provide Barf Bags & all were quite green as the plane taxied up to the terminal at Oceana NAS. Ever the devil, he extended an invitation for all to join him in a good hot cuppa java - he’ll buy! No takers! everyone was too busy gagging & trying to squeeze through the ‘hatch’ of the ladies’ ‘head‘!
I drilled until marriage - to a flyboy from Wurtsmith, AFB. caused me to go Inactive Reserve.
In February of 1979 I received a flyer in the mail touting that “You too can join the Naval Reserve up to 42 years of age, no prior service!” I was not 42 & was prior service. I went over to the Navy & Marine Corps Reserve Center in Lansing, MI & there Chief Harold Payne brought me back into the program. From 12 June 1979 to 01 January 2001 I had 100% participation as a Drilling Reservist or on active duty through rain, sleet & snow, sometimes driving 235 miles one way to the Reserve Center.
Places served: NAS Grosse Isle, MI; N&MCRC Lansing, MI; New Orleans, LA; Great Lakes, IL; CNAVRES & COMNAVRESFOR, NOLA; N&MCRC Eugene, OR; San Diego & Camp Pendleton, CA; Trident Training Facility, Bangor, WA; NRC Pearl Harbor; CHINFO, the Pentagon; PSD Pearl Harbor; NAVSEASYSCOM, Washington, DC; NRC Saginaw, MI; PSD Vaihingen, Germany; Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown, VA; BUPERS, Wash. DC; NAVRESINFOSYSOFF, NOLA; Presidential Recall, Operation Joint Guard, HQ USEUCOM (Stuttgart, Germany); Operation Desert Fox, COMAPSRON FOUR in USNS SHUGHART, Arabian Gulf; & COMFAIRMED, Naples, Italy.
Awards: Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal(3), Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal(5), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Volunteer Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/2 M’s & Silver Hourglass, & Expert Pistol Shot Medal
Plank owner in three units. NR Military Sealift Command, Mid Pacific Detachment 113 out of Lansing, MI; Naval Reserve Amphibious Construction Battalion One, Detachment 122 out of Eugene, OR; & finally Command Afloat Prepositioning Ships Squadron Four serving in USNS SHUGHART off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
I’ve seen a lot of places, made a whole lot of friends, & left a lot of people knowing that the doll Chatty Cathy was named after me, but the doll they could turn off! I’ve been blessed to travel to ports that others read about in books! I saw the Pope in Rome, Sunsets in Hawaii, the Cascades in Oregon, & many wonderful places in Europe! I bored people with pictures, shared wine & cheese brought home from travels & carried flowering plants home from every port I visited. Some lived, some did not.
Now a new adventure awaits me. Back home, here with the folks I grew up with.
Old Soldiers Never Die... Neither do Old Sailors.
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