Permission to enter the Mess…

I am a retired US Navy Chief Petty Officer with just over 22 years of continuous active service on my retirement in 2007. My primary job in the Navy was maintenance and operation of the propulsion and electrical power generation plants on surface combatant ships. I served on 10 major deployments on USS DAHLGREN DDG 43, USS AMERICA CVA 66, USS MCCLUSKY FFG 41, USS STOUT DDG 55, & USS NITZE DDG 94. In addition to my 13 years of official sea service distributed among my five ships, I managed to accumulate another 2 1/2 years of sea service at my shore duty assignment with Afloat Training Group Atlantic Norfolk, where my team successfully trained the crews of over 80 ships home based out of Norfolk, VA or under construction in Bath, ME or Pascagoula, MS.

After retirement, I worked as an industrial mechanic in the Lancaster, PA area for three years before deciding to move back home and attend college. I attended the University of Pennsylvania, Indiana Campus, where I majored in Safety Sciences and minored in History with elective classes in photography and creative writing. I graduated in the Spring of 2014 with my Bachelors Degree Cum Laude.

After achieving my Bachelor’s Degree in Safety Sciences, I promptly entered into the retail sales business as a sales associate. When that job tanked, I stacked newspapers for a few months before returning to my roots with a maintenance mechanic position at the Navy’s foundry at the Navy Yard in Philly. However, that was a remote job and my family remained home (close to Pittsburgh) and the stresses that it put on my family life forced me to move back home. My next adventure was as a production line maintenance mechanic for a food company in Pittsburgh. That job was a poor fit for me. During the interview, I was assured that the maintenance philosophy was ‘fix it right the first time’. What I learned on the job was the actual philosophy was to just do a quick fix, including the use of ‘singularly unique and un-reversible quick fixes’. After being counseled for repairing a machine that I was never trained on using no OEM documentation with the only tech resource being the resident Maniacal Engineer, I posted my resume and decided to part ways. I was counseled because I consulted a senior maintenance tech who gave me instructions that totally f**ked the machine. However, with the phone consults, I was able to fix the machine with the exception of one sheared bolt that Third Shift said they would take care of. Apparently I was supposed to stay over (10 hr shift) and finish the repair. Anyway, … I quickly landed an interview and job working on assembling and eventually installing high vacuum centrifugal molecular distillation units at a location only 20 minutes from home. I took an 8/hr pay cut but the food company job was a 1 hr drive each way, ten hour shifts, six days a week (work hours mandatory). The job assembling the stills is 8 hrs a day, M-F, no overtime. I eventually became the Field Service Engineer which did require travel for up to a week, with one 2-week trip overseas. However, I made my fly-away schedule around my personal life and the per diem for one day covered me for the entire week. Then our friend COVID came along and sales didn’t slow, they came to a screeching halt causing me to join the millions of my fellow workers on the unemployment rolls.

My major focus or interests are history, photography, the Navy, hot rods, and drag racing. When I hold an object that has a known history, the story behind that history channels through me and allows me to interpret or relive the experiences of those who handled the object in the past. If the object is a found object with no known history, I try to research the potential histories based on the information available surrounding its discovery. When I am able to find the back story to an object, I am able to ‘hear the story it is trying to tell me’. As I listen, I mesh the story of the object with known facts into a potential tale of what the object and with any luck those who handled it experienced. My photography focuses around nature and animals, primarily my best friend – a 100 lb black lab mix affectionately known as Super Puppy. The Navy stories are mostly a humorous interpretation of real life experiences or just strange, off-the-wall sailor’s sea stories intended for a laugh or just to confound or confuse those who have not had the privilege of spending time at sea on a ship full of some of the most interesting and uniquely odd group of individuals ever accumulated in a confined area.

In addition to the above areas, I may get distracted and wander down the path of molecular distillation – I’ll try to keep the tech-talk to a minimum (suuuuure, that orta work)

One final note ‘about me’ I have my own philosophy on life that I refer to as “Fraggleschnorpf”. It is a unique theory that I have yet to put to paper, I just know it.

Join me, if you care, on a few journeys down the memories of an old sailor who ‘talks’ to short snorters …



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