30 January 2004
I am a former United States Navy Sailor and a Disabled Veteran with fourteen
years of proud service to my country. When friends ask me about my military service,
they often ask me about the places and countries I have visited. After sailing the Seven
Seas with my fellow shipmates, I now realize that I have seen more of the world than
most people has ever dreamed of seeing.
My journey began in the Summer of 1981, when I enlisted in the United States
Navy. Shortly thereafter I completed boot camp at the Naval Training Center in Orlando,
Florida. I then went on to Hospital Corpsman technical training at San Diego, California.
In the Fall, of that same year, I received my first set of travel orders assigning me to the
aircraft carrier USS Forrestal in Jacksonville, Florida. After months of intense training
exercises in the frigid weather of the North Atlantic, our ship along with the rest of the 6th
Fleet received orders to deploy immediately to the Mediterranean region. It took four
horrendous days to cross the raging twenty foot waves of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Despite the turbulent weather, we finally arrived into the beautiful blue waters of the
Mediterranean Sea. My shipmates and I were so full of excitement to see where and when
our first port visit would be.
The purposes of port visits are to show our presence, be ambassadors of
goodwill, and show proudly that we are interested in fostering stronger ties with each
country we visit U.S. Sailors bring messages of peace, friendship and an opportunity to
find common ground. After the first couple of months of extensive exercises outside
Lebanon, our ship was finally granted liberty calls in the following ports: Naples, Italy;
Istanbul, Turkey; Barcelona, Spain; and Athens, Greece. Following a couple weeks of
fun and relaxation it was time to continue our mission. Our ship received orders to travel
through the Suez Canal which divided the countries of Syria and Egypt. Upon completing
our transit through the Suez Canal and entering the Indian Ocean, our ship returned to the
Mediterranean Sea. Before exiting the Suez Canal our ship made a port visit to
Alexandria, Egypt. Finally, in the last couple of months of our busy deployment, our
ship steamed into the ports of Beinidorm, Spain; Toulon, France; Marseille, France.
The experiences I encountered during my visits to these wonderful and mystical
countries was overwhelming. I visited many historical locations throughout Europe
during my travels abroad. Among my visits to these fabulous countries, I would say
Italy was my favorite place. The Italians are quick to laugh and make friends. They
love their food and wine. Naples is home to spaghetti and pizza. Being Catholic myself,
I feel I have a spiritual bond to the Vatican in Rome. It is full of legends and
For the traveler, the history of the world can be experienced and re-lived through
the buildings and artifacts found all over the world. After returning from overseas, I
realized that I have acquired a vast amount of experience and knowledge of other
cultures. Speaking for myself, I have been married to a beautiful French girl for fourteen
wonderful years. To this day I still love to speak of my travels abroad.