Navy Boot Camp Company Biographies

Biographies and Information about Company 73-192

This article/page is (and will be) a continuous update on members of Navy Boot Camp Company 73-192 in Great Lakes, IL from June 13, 1973 – August 3, 1973. In an effort to set the mood back to June — August 1973…here’s a few things that might bring back some memories. If you find any errors, or wish to include additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Popular Music during those 2 months:

Daniel (Elton John), Give Me Love (George Harrison), Frankenstein (Edgar Winter Group), Long Train Running (Doobie Brothers), Iron Man (Black Sabbath), Inside Looking Out (Grand Funk Railroad), Kodachrome (Paul Simon).

Random Facts 1973:

  • The Roe v. Wade US Supreme Court decision legalized abortion.
  • Secretariat – Triple Crown Winner (best horse of all time).
  • The Top Song was Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack
  • The Big Movies included The Exorcist, The Sting and American Graffiti
  • Price of Men’s leather sandals in 1973: $2.81 Watermelon: 9 cents/pound
  • Federal Express (FedEx) began operating in in 1973.
  • Richard Nixon gave his famous “I am Not a Crook” speech.
  • Indianapolis 500 Winner was Gordon Johncock.

Some Old Navy Slang:

  • UA: Unauthorized absence
  • Attention on Deck: The Company Commander is entering the barracks.
  • Bluejacket’s Manual: The handbook of seamanship issued to recruits.
  • Bumfuck, Egypt: The middle of nowhere; an out-of-the-way duty station.
  • Chit: The document a sailor fills out to make various types of special request.
  • Chow Hall: Dining room.
  • Cover: Term for any sort of headgear worn with a uniform in the Navy.
  • Dear John Letter: Letter that a sailor gets while deployed to breakup with them.
  • Diddy Bag: Small white bag, issued to recruits, to store loose items.
  • Dixie Cup: The canvas white hat sailors wear with their dress uniforms.
  • Field Day: All hands clean-up. Usually lasts on a good day about 3-4 hours.
  • Gear adrift: (1) (said when there is) loose or unsecured gear or equipment.
  • Geedunk: (1) Candy, or a place that sells candy.
  • Happy Hour: 8 hours of exercise rolled into 1 hr; punishment in boot camp.
  • Pecker-Checker: The Hospital Corpsman.
  • Piece: Rifle, as used in manual-of-arms (rifle drill)
  • Scuttlebutt: Generally reliable but incomplete information about a subject.
  • Seabag: A large green canvas bag issued to the sailor during boot camp as part of his uniform issue, the nearest civilian equivalent would be a suit case or several pieces of luggage, the seabag is constructed to hold close to 150 lbs.
  • Sea Stories: Often exaggerated/embellished tales told by seniors to juniors.
  • Shit Can: Name for a trash can, or the act of throwing something into the trash.
  • Smokin’ and Coke: Derogatory nickname used to describe an unauthorized break, when a sailor takes a smoke break, or grabs a soda out of a vending machine.


To my Boot Camp buddies…I will maintain these biographies on a continuous basis. If you want me to update your bio, please email and I’ll do it immediately. If you have information on someone listed here or someone NOT listed, please let me know and I will gladly add them. There will be no reunion (most of us barely knew each other), but as I look through my Boot Camp book…I recognize EVERY ONE OF YOU…and that’s a bond. It may not be a strong bond, but it will be a bond that will last our lifetime. For those that don’t have a boot camp book to look at…I have an ONLINE copy of the book HERE:  The KEEL Company 73-192

Bootcamp_Company_hambrickRM1 E. J. Hamrick – Company Commander

 I could not find any additional information about the Company Commander E. J. Hambrick, other than they called him Bluebeard, and he sent my ass to Happy Hour two times. But in the scheme of things, he was the backbone to the education and training of our company in boot camp…he’s responsible for jump starting the careers of 47 of my boot camp shipmates in the summer of 1973.

UPDATE: I found the information on RM1 Hamrick. He is deceased and passed on September 8, 1999. Rest your oars, and fair winds at your back sir. SALUTE.

2Bootcamp_Company_wallace_jarrattWallace Curtis Jarratt

After boot camp, I attended “A” school in Great Lakes for Hospital Corpsman. After graduating from Corpsman school in December 1973, I was stationed at Beaufort, SC and worked the floors for about 6 months. After working on the floors, I was assigned duty in the Print Shop and eventually at the Information Desk at the Hospital. In the summer of 1975 I got orders to attend Laboratory School in Oakland, CA and upon graduation from Lab School, was sent to my final duty station in Charleston, SC at the hospital there until my end of enlistment in September 1977. Thanks to my training in the Navy, I had a job waiting on me when I got out and moved back to my hometown, Blytheville, AR. I was a Lab Tech for the next 41 years and retired in October 2014.  I have been married for more than 25 years, have a daughter that lives in Virginia and 2 granddaughters now in college. I’m now retired and living in Searcy, AR and enjoy my hobbies…such as traveling on my motorcycle, BBQing and of course some photography.

And just a side note for the guys in my boot camp company…when I attended Corpsman School right after boot camp, there were several others from our Company that were also in the same Corpsman class as myself.   Others from our company in the Hospital Corpsman class were Steve Knauf, Howard Johnson, William Titus, and Fred Bateson.

4Bootcamp_Company_philip_wenskoPhilip Thomas Wensko

 Philip spent 3 years, including duty on a submarine. After he was medically discharged (due to a knee issue) he started his own trucking business until he retired several years back. Philip was married, but his wife passed away several years ago. Philip now lives in Fultondale, AL and is currently one of the officers at the American Legion office there. I have actually visited Phil a couple of times and shared a few beers with him…some great times.

2Bootcamp_Company_robert_hadleyRobert Henry Hadley

 Bob Hadley retired after serving 22 years in the Navy. Right after boot camp he was sent to Vietnam. Bob served on the riverboats in Vietnam initially before being sent for additional training. Once his training was complete he was sent back to Vietnam to assist in the evacuation of troop withdrawal. Bob has 3 kids and currently lives in Pueblo, CO. He also volunteers with law enforcement in the area.

fred_bateson1_smallFred Bateson was not only in my company, but he was my roommate in Hospital Corpsman School. Fred was a quiet guy and a great roommate because I don’t think we ever argued or anything. At the time of this writing, I have not been able to contact Fred directly. I will update if I ever make contact.

2Bootcamp_Company_gordon_bestGordon Best

 Gordon went to the USS- Preble DLG-15 and then was sent to Vietnam. He was home ported in Pear Harbor. After 2 years there he was stationed in San-Diego where he served on the USS-Sperry AS-12. His enlistment in the Navy ended in 1976.  Gordon presently resides in Irons, MI and is retired from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Bootcamp_Company_thomas_winkerThomas Edward Winker

 Thomas Winker went to “A” school right after boot camp in Lakehurst N J. He was then did his first “Med” cruise aboard USS Raleigh LPD 1 which fueled helicopters. Tom has been a dairy farmer for more than 25 yrs. and owner/operator of his own trucking company. Tom was probably the youngest guy in our company and did not turn 18 years old until October of 1973. Tom is in good health, has 3 kids, 2 boys and a girl. Has 3 grand kids. He currently lives in Belgium, WI and travels on his motorcycle with his wife.

2Bootcamp_Company_andrew_vronekAndrew Martin Vronek Jr.

 Andrew said he remembers starting out with a large group and finishing up with less then half. The inability to swim was the greatest hurdle for most. And he also remembers someone getting pot from their girlfriend. He left boot camp and went on MMA School at Great Lakes Training Command, and from there to the USS Kitty Hawk for 2 years. After duty on the Kitty Hawk, he then was stationed on the USS John F Kennedy for 2 years. Once Andrew left active duty, he then transferred to the Naval Reserves for the rest of his career and eventually retired in 1999. During his Reserve Career he saw duty in Newport RI; Charleston SC; Little Creek VA; NOB VA; and Yorktown Naval Weapons Station. While at Sima Norfolk in the early 90’s he ran into 2 officers he served with on the Kennedy, at that time one, was a LT (mustang) my Div Off and the other the other a LT CMDR the MPA of the ship. Their respective ranks were Captain and Rear Admiral.

2Bootcamp_Company_kris_comstockKris W. Comstock

 Kris served on the USS Midway which was home ported in Japan. Kris said he has lots of fond memories from his Navy days and still keeps in touch with 3 of his Navy shipmates. Kris currently lives in Dallas, TX.

edward_grawlEdward Thomas Grawl

 Ed went to Joseph Strauss, DDG 16, out of Pearl Harbor. Ed served his last year on a reserve can, the Robert A Owens, DD 427, out of Galveston. Ed just retired after 38 years in Law Enforcement.

2Bootcamp_Company_matthew_jenneMatthew Thomas Jenne

 Matt lives in Jacksonville, FL. He retired from the Navy after 20+ years of service. Matt was the first guy I found when I was able to make contact with guys from Company 192. In fact, thanks to Matt for calling me and letting me know he had a copy of the Boot Camp Book “The Keel” which he let me borrow to have a digital copy created (which can be found HERE).

michael_bell2Michael Alan Bell

Michael was trained as a navy postal clerk, and after training he went to Diego Garcia for a year before being assigned to the USS Tulare LKA 112 for 2 1/2 years. Michale achieved Postal Clerk 2nd Class (PC2) upon the end of his enlistment. After the Navy, Michael worked part time for a while, and the drove city transit for 25 years and brought my military time (his Navy time counted towards his retirement in his civilian job) and retired before he was 50. He says it was the best thing that ever happened to him. He now lives in Ohio..

philip_martindale2Philip Martindale

After Philip left boot camp he (I assumed attended Radar School) and then ended up on the USS Harold E Holt DE1074. Philip now lives in Waco, TX and is a mold maker for Owen’s Illinois, and plans to retire in the next couple of years and move to Arkansas.


Howard Macoy Jones

Howard was our Education Officer in boot camp. He was a quiet guy and I just reconnected with him in November 2019. He was a Histology Lab tech in the Navy. After getting out he went to pharmacy school. He retired in (Richmond, VA) in 2017.

thomas_wayne_cannadyThomas Wayne Cannady

Thomas was one of our flag bearers (I think). I found him in 2019 on Facebook. I think he was my bunkmate on the top bunk…still trying to verify that. He now lives in Winston-Salem, NC. (Update: This was not him. I would love to find this guy…I owe him more than he’ll ever know. He took up for me in boot camp and taught me about PEOPLE…I would love to let him know an insignificant act could be so life changing). Thank you Cannady.)


P. J. Shanahan

 After boot camp, Patrick attended “A” school in Great Lakes in the Hospital Corpsman school. At some point, he went on to become a respected physician in Maryland and with a partner and own their clinic called Shanahan & Ferguson Family Practice Clinic. I have not been able to make contact with Patrick, although he is still active in his private practice.

Rockwell Benjamin Canda

 Rockwell lives in Colorado and owns a successful real estate and property management company. I have not been able to contact Rockwell for any additional information.

4Bootcamp_Company_william_titusWilliam Edward Titus

 I know that William is still around because at one point I made contact with one of his relatives, but apparently he wants nothing to do with the internet. He is currently living in Jacksonville, NC.


 Rest your oars shipmates – we have the watch.

Bootcamp_Company_hambrickRM1 E. J. Hamrick – Company Commander

 I could not find any additional information about the Company Commander E. J. Hambrick, other than they called him Bluebeard, and he sent my ass to Happy Hour two times. But in the scheme of things, he was the backbone to the education and training of our company in boot camp…he’s responsible for jump starting the careers of 47 of my boot camp shipmates in the summer of 1973.

UPDATE: I found the information on RM1 Hamrick. He is deceased and passed on September 8, 1999. Rest your oars, and fair winds at your back sir. SALUTE.

2Bootcamp_Company_steve_knaufSteve Predmore Knauf

 Steve was our RPOC (Recruit Petty Officer in Charge) and after boot camp, Steve attended “A” school in Great Lakes in the Hospital Corpsman school. He later became a somewhat famous engineer for Boeing and even had a C-17 Plane dedicated in his name. Unfortunately, Steve passed away in 1999. As a side note, Steve was the only boot camp shipmate that I maintained contact with while in the Navy. My last contact was about 14 years after I got out of the Navy (1987). I called him and said, “I bet you don’t know who this is?” He immediately said, “Wally Jarratt”!! We had a nice conversation and it was when he was in California working for Boeing. I did not learn of his passing until about 8 years ago when I found his daughter on Facebook (while I was looking for our boot camp book, “The Keel”. Steve was a great guy, and we even spent the weekend in Niles at his Dad’s place in 1973 and went out to one of the clubs there in Niles…in fact, if memory serves me right, he played the drums that night. Steve, Howard Johnson (see below), Fred Bateson and myself went through boot camp and corpsman school together…a pretty solid bond. RIP Steve.

2Bootcamp_Company_howard_johnsonHoward Nelson Johnson

Howard was the Company Clerk for Company 73-192. Besides Steve Knauf, Howard was probably my next best buddy in both boot camp, and in Hospital Corpsman school which we also attended together. Howard was a wild and crazy guy. He introduced to me an illicit drug once…lets just say we took a “trip” together. But Howard was a happy go lucky guy and it pains me to know he now gone. Sad…very sad. Howard passed away at the young age of 30 years old in Oroville, CA.

Thomas_LombardoThomas Edward Lombardo

 Thomas Edward Lombardo passed away in 2009 at the age of 55 years old in Danville, IL

Bernard_LeeBernard Emanuel Lee

 Bernard E. Lee passed away in Owens Mill, MD in 2015 at the age of 60 years old.

Michael_Stevenson_SmithMichael Stevenson Smith

 Michael Stevenson Smith passed away in 2013 at the age of 58 in Dublin, VA.

Donald_Eugene_McNealDonald Eugene McNeal

 Donald Eugene McNeal passed away in 2012 at the age of 59 in Mount Gilead, NC

Larry_Allen_EdwardsLarry Allen Edwards

 Larry Allen Edwards passed away at age 56 in Willoughby, OH.

2 thoughts on “Navy Boot Camp Company Biographies

  1. I wish I could find information about my Company at Great Lakes. I can’t seem to find any information about Co. 430 September 1972 to Dec 72


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