USS ROWAN (DD 782)
VOLUNTEER CREW FORWARD DEPLOYMENT
NOVEMBER 1971-JANUARY 1973

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Tom Nicolay

I entered my service 4/71 at San Diego boot camp.  Finished my A school there and went looking for Rowan. Jumped around the south pacific for a month or two and found the Rowan in Subic Bay after flying into Clark AFB 10/71. Was put to work in the scullery my first month along with my first typhoon, puke.  After that I really settled down and enjoyed my tour. I had after-steering as my GQ position.  I had some great views from the scuttle hatch as we entered Hiphong (spelling) harbor. I left the Rowan in the spring of 1974 to finish my tour aboard the DE 1070, USS Downes.  This ship never traveled after dark.  I had to stay on her until she made her maiden voyage to Hawaii.  The old man denied my early out request to go to school because I was a "Fleet" sailor.  I did not agree at the time but reflection is everything. I returned to Iowa in April 75. Found my wife playing volleyball at the city park. We had a beautiful daughter in 78 and got hitched in 79.  It's been good ever since. I did start drinking in 1992 when I moved to MN, not sure if it was the weather or the new job. I messed around in manufacturing for the next ten years then found a great job in Eau Claire, WI with a utility company.  I have been a facility manager for four years and am enjoying the ride.  I probably will never retire but am enjoying this time in my life.

Supplemental
I got out and went home, Oelwein, IA.  Took the first year off and got high and played volley ball all summer. Got some work running a road grader for the city for seven years. Knocked up my wife, Melanie, and got married a year later with our one year old, Anne Nicole.  She's 32 now, single, 250 lbs, and is a Wells Fargo bank manager in Mankato, MN.  I think the weight problem came in her early twenties, anger at the world I guess.  Sweet girl though, she's my baby.  Traveling to her place for the week end.  Four hour trip through the snow and ice. The rest of the time,  Left Iowa in 92 for Mankato, MN.  Left MN and arrived in Fall Creek, WI in 2000.  I have a great job with a utility company now.  Will never retire, learned how to drink when I was forty-two.  Never drank before that, just smoked a lot.  Quit the weed twenty years ago or so.  I like my easy whiskey on the rocks. Melanie hasn't worked for twelve years now, sever fibromiolgy and arthritis. She and Johnny, wire fox terrier, hold down the fort. I did spend some time now that I recall, with Jim Elledge, sonar nut.  Lost him in San Diego some time ago after he left Chicago and went west, 1982.