He dropped out of high school when he was 17 to join the Navy - reported in to RTC Great Lakes just a couple days after my second birthday - so I didn't see much of him when I was a kid; maybe once a year he'd come home on leave for a few days. Brought us some neat presents, too - I still remember the book about Pompeii he brought us after one of his Med runs.
He started out as an electrician's mate (EM), but then converted to interior communications electrician (IC) very shortly thereafter.
During his career he served aboard USS Everglades (AD 24), USS New (DD 818), USS Randolph (CVS 15), USS Proteus (AS 19), USS Hoel (DDG 13) and USS Fox (DLG 33). He also did two tours on shore duty, at NTC Great Lakes and at DATC San Diego.
He had a Navy Meritorious Unit Citation, the Navy Good Conduct Medal (x4), the National Defence Service medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Not only was there a fifteen-year difference in our ages, but while he enlisted at 17, I waited until I was 27. Thus he did his twenty years (plus a two-month extension to finish a WestPac), and retired five and a half years before I enlisted. The first time I went in to see a recruiter, I talked with him for about 45 minutes; then I went home, called my brother, and spent an hour and a half discussing things with him. Then I went back to the recruiter....
He'd stayed in San Diego after he retired, so when I went out there for A school I stayed with him and his family, instead of in the barracks. I was amazed at how much alike we'd turned out, despite the difference in our childhoods (with him as the eldest and me as the youngest of four).
He died of a stroke in 1985, just a few days after his 46th birthday. We still miss him.