Galveston To Birmingham - Hadden Smith
Updated June 8, 2008

Hadden Smith

I was born in Galveston, TX, but my Folks moved to Livingston, AL, when I was 9 months old.
I lived in Livingston until I finished High School in 1965.
I watched too many Navy Log TV Shows and decided that is what I wanted to do.

* I went to Boot Camp in San Diego, in October 1965 (Company 571 Chief Ed Beck was my Company Commander and my serial number was 918 68 84 Sir!!!)

* After boot leave I went to NAS Agana Guam for 18 months.
My 90 service days I was as an MC, I thought it was Master of Ceremonies, but in the Navy that is Mess Cook.
I washed more dishes than I knew existed.
I then went to the Terminal Crew for a few weeks before I wound up working as an AZ striker with the OMD (Operations Maintenance Division) Line.
I was there until I left the Island...

* I went home for two week leave and then caught the Bennington (CVS 20) in Long Beach in late July or early August of 1967.
I was assigned to AIMD (Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department.
I was there for about a year. Then I went TDY to the Master at Arms for the balance of my time aboard the Bennington.

* During the time I was on (July 67 until Dec 68, (early out to go to college),
I remember the crash of the A-4 during the carrier qualifications off the coast of California.
AIMD's berthing compartment was over the fantail and right under the flight deck, the A-4 hit the round down and I thought it was in the rack with me.

* We went to Hawaii on a Mid PAC Cruise, and picked up the Apollo 4 capsule, the last of the unmanned Apollo shots.

* I played Santa Claus for the Bennington Kids Christmas party in 1967, and had probably, more fun than the kids.

* West PAC in 68, I saw the New Jersey fire her sixteen inch guns while we were on line on Yankee Station.

* The Typhoon we went through on our way back to the States.
We went into the dry docks when we got back to Long Beach and I left Her there a few months later.
I hate to think that She is gone, but She will always live in my memory.
Like a church building is not really the church, the church is the people who make it up, so too the Bennington was a home but her crew was truly Bennington's Spirit.

I went Back to Livingston, AL, and started college at Livingston University.
I met my wife Karen, on a blind date, at the 1969 Auburn University Homecoming Football game.
We were married on August 22, 1970.
I transferred to Auburn University and finished in Marketing and Sales in August of 1973.
We moved to Birmingham, AL where I went to work with Pizitz Dept. Store, as an assistant buyer, for one and a half years.
Then I was a timekeeper with Daniel Construction for one and a half years.
I then went to work with Automatic Switch Company in 1977, in Inside Sales.
After 29 years with ASCO, our office was closed here in Birmingham.
I took early retirement and I am working part time with Control and Power, Inc., here in Birmingham.

*Karen has finished her 26th year of teaching kindergarten and Director of the after school care program at Briarwood Christian School.
In the fall of this year she will start her 30th year as a teacher.
I truly Praise God for her.

Karen and I have 3 children:

* Hadden IV, graduated from Samford University in May of 1999, in Mass Communications and is working for EWTN here in Birmingham, in there video/graphics department.
March 18, 2006 he was married to Jennifer Cooper.
Jennifer is an Audiologist with the VA Hospital here in Birmingham.

* Kerstin, will start her ninth year of teaching first grade at Briarwood Christian School this fall.

* Jessica is a Senior at UAB working in Art and Graphic Design.
She also teaches kindergarten, first, and second grade art at Briarwood Christian School.
Jess married Tim Dunn on October 18, 2004.
Tim works for a Nursery and Landscaping company, here in Birmingham.

God has been so good to the Smith's!
Oh, for you who knew me in the Bennington days, I became a Christian, after the birth of my son, and I am not the old salt I use to be.
I found an even better life!!!!

Bennington Sailors are Best.

Your Shipmate

Hadden Smith


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