Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel Handler) Petty Officer 3rd Class (E-4) Alvern Rosco Ribaya
Reflections on this veteran's military service
Submitted by Al Ribaya
I entered the Navy on December 18, 1961. My boot camp was in San Diego, CA. I was stationed on the carrier U.S.S. Bennington CVS-20 1962-1966. I made three west Pacific cruises, each lasting nine months. My carrier was the first ship to enter Vietnam waters in 1962, due to orders from President John Kennedy, as that's when the conflict started. We spent 40 days in the Gulf of Tonkin at that time.
I was rated ABF3 (E4) after graduation from Aviation Fuel Class C School in 1963. I became Aviation Fuels Petty Officer in charge of 2 Fuels Pump Rooms and 4 Filter Rooms. These rooms consisted of two types of fuels for jets and prop planes. These rooms pumped fuel topside for planes on the upper deck. I was also in charge of taking fuel samples of each of the fuels to bases like Saigon in Vietnam and Subic Bay in the Philippines to be tested for contamination. I was taken off the carrier on one of the prop planes to these bases. Our carrier was also the first ship to enter Alaskan waters in 1964 due to Russian fishing boats fishing in American waters.
At the end of my service, I was extended for 4 months and 28 days due to no replacement for my job. Near the end of my service, I married Sharon Platt on December 18, 1965. We have been married 52 years at the time of this writing in 2017. We have two children, Robin and Chris (daughter and son, respectively), who graduated from Cleveland Elementary, Bancroft Jr. High, and Lakewood High School. After the service, I worked at Douglas Aircraft from 1966 for 38 years through retirement in November 2004. I started work building wings on the aircraft and ended my career as part of the Planning Department.
My wife and I moved to Lakewood in 1971, when we bought our first home together. We still live in the same house and raised our two children here. I, also, was a long-time volunteer coach with the Lakewood Youth Sports program.