Gerry Slattery, US Navy, Guest Post For Veterans Day

In celebration of Veterans Day, below is from Gerry Slattery, a United States Navy officer and Merfish United’s sales and business development team.

We will be recognizing our team’s veterans throughout the week. Check back for more!

Actually, my military career began at St. Francis Xavier High School (noted alum Antonin Scalia) in New York City back in 1961. Xavier is an US Army Accredited Junior Army ROTC unit. I then attended Villanova University and was a member of the United States Navy ROTC unit. I graduated in 1969 and was commissioned as an Ensign.

Went on the serve about two-and-a-half years aboard United States Ship Massey (DD-778) named for an early hero at the Battle of Midway as Main Propulsion Assistant.

USS Massey was home-ported in Newport Rhode Island.

I served in the Mediterranean with the US 6th Fleet. In those days we would operate for 23 to 25 days continuously at sea sailing primarily in the western Mediterranean.

We never engaged in any hostile activities like some of my Villanova classmates who served in the Pacific.

On our trip back to the United States after our deployment in 1969, we encountered Hurricane Juliet in the middle of the Atlantic. You haven’t lived until you have sailed in 25 foot seas, with water breaking over the Bridge. For five days the ship rolled 25 degrees from centerline. THINK OF DEADLIEST CATCH ON STERIODS.

The U.S. Navy USS Massey (DD-778) steaming next to the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) in the Mediterranean Sea, 1971.

As a 22 year old, it never occurred to me the significance of the danger we were potentially encountering. Not sure I would want to experience it again.

One of the many things that stood out during our time at sea was to learn to appreciate the value of freshly distilled water that was distilled aboard ship and the fresh produce that would be transferred to us at sea by the Navy’s far reaching service fleet. You haven’t lived until you had a cold apple while standing watch during at-sea-replenishment.

My service was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made, The Navy was a great teacher especially to an impressionable 22 year old Division Officer.

It is a part of me that I wouldn’t trade.