William T. (Bill) Norris
President USS Seattle (AOE-3) Veterans Association
I was born while my parents (father was in the Air Force) were stationed in Japan on August 13, 1948. After graduation from High School in 1967 I spent one year in college and then joined the US Navy in June of 1968 and was assigned to Electronics “A” school which ended prematurely with me being assigned to the USS Seattle pre-commissioning school in San Diego and later on the ship in Seattle Washington. I really enjoyed the Precom days on the ship helping to prepare the ship for her madden cruise. But most of all I was grateful to having meet and married my wife and mother to my kids in Bremerton, to date we have been married for over 40 years, married the same year the USS Seattle was commissioned, and still going strong.
I was released from active duty after four years on July 1972 after her second Med Cruise and moved to Waco, Texas where my wife and son had been living since the beginning of that Med cruise. After the Navy I attended Texas State Technical College for two years and received an AS degree in Laser Electro-Optics Technology and during that period, stayed on active reserves for the two years. After graduation Texas, I joined IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY as a Laser Tech and started Marist College working toward my BS degree which I received in December of 1979 and promptly moved back to Texas to get away from the cold winters and high taxes.
I spent 36 fun and rewarding years with IBM working in several aspects of the company, from research and development, manufacturing, technical system support, corporate technical marketing, PC and software marketing and outsource management my last 11 years. In March I officially retired from IBM and been enjoying it ever since. However, in April of 2010 I am back working for IBM as a contractor working with a customer here in Houston, go figure.
Sandy and I have two wonderful kids that live close enough so we get to see our six grandchildren as often as we want and their a gift from God to us older folks. Our oldest joined the Coast Guard this year and is really enjoying his new found carrier and is getting to see a lot of the East coast. Our youngest two were both born last summer and believe this will be the last of our grand kids.
We enjoy traveling around the country on short trips, I enjoy playing golf and just messing around on my computers at home and in the “garage wood shop”. We stay active in our church and since retirement starting to get into politics some.
So Bremerton, Washington and the USS Seattle hold a special place in my heart and life. The year the Seattle was commissioned and went through the Panama Cannel and under the bridge of the Americas, I was getting married in Texas and starting two new phases of my life, both very special and rewarding.
Board Member, USS Seattle (AOE-3) Veterans Association
Joined the US Navy April 1968 on the delayed entry program. Graduated Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Texas May 1968. Boot Camp in Great Lakes, IL June 1968 where i was a recruit religious petty officer (i was assigned to make sure all the recruits in my unit attended services and helped council when needed). Polaris Electronics A school July 1968. Assigned to USS Seattle (AOE-3) August 1968. Did two Mettrainian Cruises and particapated in refugy safety during the Jordain Crisis in 1970.
Married Carla Jane Masterson April 11, 1971. Son, Raymond Patrick Pierce, born May 17, 1972. Released from active duty May 23, 1972. Worked as an automotive technician June 1972 to Sept 1978. Daughter, Lesley Jane Pierce, born January 18, 1975.
September 1978 began working on Non Intrusive Inspection (NII) security equipment. I have been involved NII security equipment for 31 years. It is sad that we have to have NII equipment in our schools and public buildings but I am proud to be a part of the industry that provides this very important equipment.
My grandson, Derek Michael Ramirez, was born May 9, 2006. I wish I would have known how much fun grandchildren were. I think I would have skipped the children and just went for the grandchild. He is the best!
I bowled from high school until 1992 when I injured my left Achilles tendon. At the time I retired from bowling I was carrying a 205 average and had made 8 national championships. My son and I won the Father Son Texas State championship in 1990 and won a trip to Washington DC for the nationals where we finished 19th in the tournament.
I now play at golf. I am not very good but I enjoy being on the golf course with friends (especially my best friend Bill Norris).
Currently I am restoring a trackless train (Li’l Henry) for my stepmother and I enjoy driving the train to see the kids faces light up. We have used the train at the church Halloween party and graduation for the Pre-K and K classes. Mostly it is used for Birthday parties of my nephews.
Board Member USS Seattle (AOE-3) Veterans Association
I was born and reared in the Kansas City area. I’m the first of 3 kids. My Grandpa had a 160 acre farm south of KC, and the kids would spend 30 days each summer putting up hay and feeding the 20 or 30 head of beef cattle. First time I drove on the highway I was 11, driving a Ford N9 tractor pulling a wagon full of silage. After graduation from High School, I ‘attended’ Kansas State College, Pittsburg, Kansas (now known as Pittsburg State) as an auto tech major. After 3 semesters I enlisted in the Navy delayed entry program and went to Great Lakes for boot camp after induction. I got chosen for Engineman A school, again at Great Lakes. Upon graduation, the Navy sent me to Treasure Island for F.A.S.T. Replenishment at Sea repair school. We learned Hydraulics and electronics to repair the machinery involved in replenishing other ships. Then, on to Bremerton and the USS Seattle (hydraulics shop). In March of 1970, just after the first Gitmo shakedown cruise, I got orders for Embassy/ Advisor duty, which turned out to be Advisor training to help the South Vietnamese Navy learn about our riverboats we were turning over to them during “Vietnamization”. After a tour in Nam, I was honorably discharged. I ended up going to work to repair Hydraulic plastic injection molding machines and covered about 1/5 of the US. My ‘picker’ is bad, and as a result have been married more than once. Only one child, Jennifer is in law enforcement out in western Kansas. Today I own and operate a locksmith business and am active with the Mo-Ks Locksmith Association (I’m Secretary again), My local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter, the Mobile Riverine Force Association, the USS Seattle Veterans Association, and volunteer at the KC area VA hospital. I heard about the first Seattle reunion about 2 weeks after it happened IN KANSAS CITY.
Ship's Store Keeper USS Seattle (AOE-3) Veterans Association
I was born the first son of a third generation jeweler and his wife in Marshalltown, Iowa October 2, 1946. I have one brother and one sister. 1964 was the year I graduated from high school. I attended Marshalltown Community College one year while waiting to get into the Culinary Institute of America where I was trained to be a chef, graduating in 1967. I managed a restaurant in Minnesota for the summer before the draft caught up with me. I danced around seven states before finding a way into the Navy seven days before my draft deadline in North Dakota. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire was my first year of duty after boot camp in San Diego. Then back home for Christmas and back to San Diego in late December 1968 to join the pre-commissioning group of USS Seattle. Aboard ship I was one of two bakers that served your eating needs for several months. I became a second class commissaryman during that time and moved up the chain to watch captain more quickly than normal with a second class above me missing the ship leaving San Diego for the Panama Canal. I served in that capacity until being shifted to a storekeeper billet as we left for our first med cruise. That was my job until I left the Seattle and Navy on July 8, 1971.
My brother was active in the family business at that time but had just left for Viet Nam so I came home to help until his return. He was almost kill in Nam and came home on a stretcher and had many months of rehab. I became very active in the business and his interest waned during his recovery. I have been here ever since. I have been very active in my community and my occupation. I served on our local draft board upon my return from the Navy until it was disbanded. I served on our county commission of veteran affairs for twenty two years. I served on all offices in the American Legion since 1971, including Commander, and still serve. Other service included my church board, community theatre board, Red Cross board, and Central Business District board. In my occupation I served on the Iowa Jewelers Association for many years and offices including a two year term as president. Following that I was elected by 11 states to serve on our national association board Jewelers of America for 8 years.
I married my life partner, Gayle, during my military days. In fact, we were married on the first anniversary of the ships commissioning. We have two daughters. Nicole is single. Erika is married and has blessed us with the two most fabulous granddaughters on the planet. All of our family lives in Marion, Iowa which is about 90 minutes from us. After raising our daughters, Gayle has been active in our business and community. This past August she was elected president of the Iowa Jewelers Association. Eight years ago she conceived the idea to have a community fund raising effort to provide Christmas gifts for the residents of our state veterans home with little or no family. She has led this effort for 8 years and I am most proud of her.
I joined the Navy in February of 1967 and took my Boot camp at the Great lakes Training Center.
Upon completion of Boot camp I was assigned to Naval Training Center Baltimore Md. And to the Washington Naval Yard for a total of 2 years. During this time I was working in Administration(Yeoman/Disbursing Clerk).
In July of 1969 I received orders to report to the USS Seattle AOE-3 as part of the first crew then assembling. Upon arrival on Seattle I was assigned to the Weapons Division as a SN. I served on Seattle from 1969-1971 and made 3rd class GunnersMateGuns.
I returned to Baltimore and remained in the Reserves for another 10 years. During this time I was assigned to the following ships.
USS San Marcos LSD 25
USS Hermitage LSD 34
USS Steinaker DD863
I left the Navy in July 1981 after 14 years service. The changing politics towards the
Navy and my not being advanced to GMG1 after passing the test 3 times led to my decision.
I dropped out of the OCS program in 1968 because I did not want to spend another 5 years on Active Duty as an Officer. Little did I know at the time that I would remain in the Navy and Reserves for 14 Years.
I married my wife Adrienne in 1970 and we have 3 children.
We have 3 Grandchildren, 2 Grandaughters and 1 Grandson
Holly has Sophia 2007 and Alex 2009
Melissa has Bronwyn 2010
I am a Season Ticket Holder for Navy Football and I enjoy this immensely. BEAT ARMY !!!!
Hobbies, I have been a Civil War Renactor for 29 years and we portray the following units
1st Regiment Virginia Volunteers Company D CSA
82nd New York Company D Union Army 2nd Corp Army of the Potomac
I also portray a Civil War Sailor when teach at Middle Schools in Virginia, Md, & Penn.
I have been Retired from Bank of America since 2003 and in 2004 I started my own Accounting Firm
AJ Kaspar Accounting Services specializing in Small Business Accounting and Personal & Business Income Taxes.
Keith E. Jones
Board Member, USS Seattle (AOE-3) Veterans Association
I was born on 5-23-48 in Central City, Nebraska. Raised on a farm near Marquette, Ne. with 3 brothers, I was the second oldest. I graduated Marquette High School in 1966. Not knowing what I wanted for a career and figuring that I would get drafted, I enlisted in the Navy on the delayed entry program in April of 66. My father served in the Navy during WW II. He was a 2nd class Cook. My older brother had already been drafted into the Army, served year in Viet Nam. I figured by enlisting in the Navy I would avoid Viet Nam.
I reported to boot camp at Great lakes on August 3, 1966. In boot camp I listed my choice of rates as Cook 1st choice, Postman 2nd choice, and Engineman 3rd choice, they sent me to BP&E and Engineman A school. At the end of A school I received orders for further training In California and Viet Nam (enlisting in the Navy didn't work out quite right).
I went to Viet Nam in June of 67 and was assigned to River Section 533, in October I was transferred to Section 535 where I stayed for the rest of my tour. I extended for 6 months and got out of Nam in January of 69. My next assignment was the USS Seattle where I stayed until my discharge In March of 70. On the Seattle I was assigned to A Div. and was engineer on the Captain's Gig for a few months prior to discharge, I was an Engineman 3rd class.
Back in civilian life I went to Technical College and earned a One Year Diploma in Diesel Truck Technology. I worked as an over the road truck mechanic until 1981 when I took a job as an Instructor at Southeast Community College in Milford, Ne. where I have been teaching for the past 28 years.
I was married 10 years to my first wife, two sons Davin and Keelan.
Married now 26 years to Glenda, two sons Nathan and Bryan. We have three grand children (Keelan and Jenifer's children) Alura, Kelsey and Emma.
Davin is a computer programmer over near Des Moines, Ia. Keelan taught Jr. High math for one year but prefers his work in a psychiatric Hospital, in Independence, Mo. Nathan is a communications electrician for a power company in York, Ne. and Bryan is in the Navy stationed aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in San Diego, Ca.