1966-1967 West Pac Memories #1 Paul Trombetta

Memories of West Pac, 1966-1967

by Paul Trombetta AX3 and AX2 and almost AX3 again (HS-8)

Installment #1- West Pac???? What's that????

West Pac cruise?? What in the he-- is that? I'm fresh out of HS-10 as a brand new ASW aircrewman. Joined HS-8 and made a lot of friends, right away. Not so many who have been on a ship before, however.

I'm spending most of my time in Tijuana, Mexico. It's the summer of 1966 and I'm only 19, going on 50. Can't drink in California, but TJ is jumpin' ! Got a pad down there- $22 a month- outdoor toilet but hot and cold running women. Rum and cokes for 40 cents. Pitcher of beer, 40 cents, pack of Domino cigarettes, 40 cents, tacos- 10 cents each, three for a quarter. Can West Pac be as much fun? Who knows? I'm willing to try anything once. All I really want to do is party like a fool in TJ and wait to get out of the Navy. Plans??? Me??? Naaahhh!!!

Carrier Quals??? What in the hell is that? All I know is that I'm filling up these metal boxes that they call Cruise Boxes. The shop Chief is a pack rat. I have never seen so much junk that we will never use in a million years. OK Chief!!! I'll keep packing (what a crock!!!).

Ride in WHAT to Longbeach??? Ok, but if I fall off the back of this flatbed truck, I'm telling!!! Man that's a big ship. CVS-20- I wonder what that means, CVS. And what's that behind her? U.S.S New Jersey? That's a battleship, by God. Heading to Vietnam like us. And what's that over there- let me see......Queen Mary? Yes, but I don't think that it's heading to West Pac.

Well, let me get aboard this bucket of bolts and see what's up.

Coming soon, Installment #2, Carrier Quals- a state of mind.


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