Eugene Beaumont, FTG2
|I enlisted in the Navy right out of High School in
March 1961 after a half year of post grad. I went through
(cold) boot camp ,Fire Control Class A&C
schools in Great Lakes. Well In C school we
where asked to fill out a dream sheet, which I was told
was by older salts that the process meant nothing so set
your sites high.
I asked for East Coast, new construction. I was sent to Algiers Navel Base on the West Bank of the Mississippi River for assignment to the U.S.S Semmes DDG18.
From my C school class there where two others that joined me in New Orleans. Richard Hiers FTG2 and Ken Tavender FTC. I flew from my home town of Le Roy, NY to Atlanta Ga. and drove to New Orleans with Richard Hiers.
After a few weeks living on the base we started receiving per diem ($480 month + base pay) and moved to Kenner, La, I shared a brick ranch style house with Richard Hiers, Ken Tavender, Richard Omer RM1 and Boyd Hensley ET1. We all would go fishing in the Delta every weekend which could generate a book of stories, like hunting for alligators at night in these same swamps.
I was glad to be on the ship at such an early date, because it was a good learning experience for someone who had never seen a ship or been at sea. I was able to scour the ship from stem to stern and view every aspect of its construction.
The shipyard was a place of many sights as well, the off-shore oil platforms where a sight to see during there construction. We also had the unpleasant experience to see a ship yard worker fall to his death from atop of one of those towers during our lunch break one day.
It was a sad day when we left West Wego Ship yards for the Charleston S.C Navel Base. This was my first test of my sea legs, and what a trip it was. We ran into a hurricane off the coast of Florida which did considerable damage to the ship, and required replacing the main mast later that year in the Charleston shipyards. I passed the test and never did get seasick but that was the wildest ride on the ship and still ranks ahead of the Blue Nose trip which wasnt very pleasant eather.
SEMMES was put in commission on 10 December 1962 and after that we where at sea almost all the time from what my wife tells me. My tour of duty on board Semmes where some of the best years of my life and I will never forget them or the great crew I was privileged to serve with.
My enlistment was up a week before we pulled into Charleston after the first Med cruise so I extended 7 days so I could ride the ship back and raise hell with the lifers. I left the Navy 15th March, 1965 and can still remember the walk down the pier, wondering where all the time had gone. I returned to Le Roy New York where I eventually ended up at Eastman Kodak Company Research labs.
I received my BSEE degree from Rochester Institute of Tech after several years of night school in 1978. I was a member of the team who developed the first color digital camera and later went on to developing software for process control. I retired from Kodak in 1999 and started working for Intercept Technology Inc. as a Senior Consultant doing advance product software development.
I have a wife Linda whom I have been happily married to for 41 years and five grown sons and two grandchildren. Linda keeps her self busy by managing a Real Estate office in Le Roy. My wife and I are looking forward to the next reunion in New Orleans , it also happens to be her hometown.
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