USS Essex (CVA-9) 1958

“I only served one year on the Essex, December 1957 to November 1958, as an IC striker. Joined the Navy in April 1957 from my hometown of San Francisco as a know nothing 17 year old. My favorite liberty was in Italy. The song ‘Volare’ was being sung everywhere in Italy in the Spring of 1958.”
-Stephan Craggg, Ed.D.

LISTEN: “VOLARE”

Comments

    1. Author

      Blair, need to know more about your “memory lane,” Nick.

  1. Thank you for this web page. I was in G3 Div on this cruise. We pulled out on Feb 2 and I turned 19 on Feb 3

  2. Author

    After all these years, thanks for checking in, Berlyn. Good memories. Nick

  3. Very interesting to see these old pictures. I was on the helicopter crew.

  4. Author

    SCPO Calhoun, I owe you, and your Detachment from HU-2, an everlasting debt of gratitude for rescuing me on 7/10/58 after ejecting over the Adriatic Sea. Thanks for checking in after all these years. Captain J L Nicholson, USN (ret)

  5. My dad was James B. McAnallen.. I was 1 1/2 when he was killed on the Essex.

  6. Mary Lou, first my condolences on the loss of your father so early in your life. I relate with your story being a father of four daughters. At the time of our deployment in 1958, I left behind one daughter four years old and twins 2 1/2 years old.

    Only those of us that serve in the military fully realize the tremendous burden families endure back home. Your few words posted on our website have opened many eyes to this fact.

    If you feel comfortable in sharing your story with the world, I would be honored to create a page dedicated to you alone. It is vital that all are aware of the sacrifices made by the military family.

    Please stay in touch, and if I can support you in anyway let me know.

    I salute you, Mary Lou, Capt Nick.

  7. Author

    Good afternoon, Captain, from the AZ desert. If you find the exact date of the Shellback crossing, I would welcome the information.

    I only served one year on the Essex, December 1957 to November 1958, as an IC striker. Joined the Navy in April 1957 from my hometown of San Francisco as a know nothing 17 year old. Boot camp and A school in San Diego before going aboard in Mayport a few days after Christmas. Then, it was off to sea for the first time for eleven months, with lots of port calls in the Med, Asia, South Africa, and Rio before returning to Florida. Three months of mess cooking in the Chiefs’ quarters. And, the rest of the time learning my trade as a sound powered technician along with real telephones, gyros, telegraph system, and many other circuits.

    My favorite liberty was in Italy. The song Volare was being sung everywhere in Italy in the Spring of 1958. I wrote and told my mother about the song and its popularity. Sure enough, it migrated to the US about three or four months later. My mother was really pleased about the popular culture trend from her son in Italy.

    Of course, crossing the equator was a highlight (or lowlight) as I got beat up, humiliated, and wasn’t too thrilled about it at all then. I have mixed feelings about the old and new traditions for crossing the equator then and now.

    I got transferred one week after returning to Mayport to the USS Independence being built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I went from the oldest carrier to the newest as a plank owner. Made IC2 before discharge in January 1961.

    The Navy helped make my civilian career as a college professor teaching International Relations and political science all the more real to me and, hopefully, to my students.

    Thank you for your long and distinguished career and service to our nation. And, thanks for your reply.

    Sincerely, Stephan Cragg, Ed.D.

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