BENNINGTON WAS MY HOME
Charles H Sturkey EM1
1961 - 1965
Re; reflections of my time on the Bennington
Fri, 9 Mar 2001 23:13:33 EST
My personal observations and reflections of my time on the Bennington:
From the middle of 1961 to the early days of 1965, the Bennington was my home. The Bennington was my first experience on a “Capital Ship”. I had spent my first enlistment in the “Gator Navy”. The Bennington was a new experience for me and little did I know that she would influence me the rest of my life.
After the Bennington, I was transferred to a Reserve Training Ship in Portland, Oregon. From the Bennington to a DE, what a change. In late 1966, I left the Navy and rejoined Civilian life.
I began working as a Marine Electrical Designer and had the honor to design some of the Electrical modifications on the Bennington. As I progressed in the Civilian Electrical Engineering Field, my time in the Navy, especially my experiences on the Bennington, became my “reference” points.
A total of thirty five years passed since I departed, in uniform, the Aft Gangway of the Bennington. Recently, I had the pleasure of making a weekend trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. There, I met some of the men that I had served with in “E” Division. Suddenly, I was not sixty one anymore. I was again that twenty three old, First Class, Electrician’s Mate. We reminisced about out time on the Bennington, our Seafaring adventures and talked about our grandchildren.
Then the time to return to the present arrived. I turned my little truck into the wind and got underway for the “barn”. As I drove, alone along the Interstate, headed for home, I began to shed a few tears. I came to the realization that the Bennington, as a Warship, was gone. The Bennington, where for four years of my life, was home, my haven from the elements and my greatest adventure, was being cut up for scrap.
Somewhere, just outside of Victorville, California, I came to another realization. The physical Bennington is gone. However, she will live forever, in the hearts and memories of her crews. When I downloaded the photographs that were taken during the E Division reunion, my daughter asked “who are those old men”. My reply was very concise and definitive. I said “they are E Division, from the Bennington” She understood!
Sturkey, Charles H. EM1
1961 to 1965
USS Bennington CVS 20