Memoirs of a Navy Brat






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Dad's Retirement From Navy 



Dad's compulsory retirement from the Navy came in 1969, at age 50, after having accumulated 30 years of government service.

Retirement, for most people, is a chance to get the much needed rest after long years of working. Not so with Dad, as he still had 5 children attending school. So, without staying idle even for a short while, Dad accepted the offer of the defunct Ysmael Steel Corporation to handle its shipping business in Hongkong, where he was based for most parts of the year. Mom had the opportunity to join him there for a much needed respite and vacation.

Presently, the mandatory retirement age for military officers is 56. By current standards, Dad left the service relatively young. He retired with his honor and integrity intact and beyond question, well-loved, known and respected not only in navy circles, but in the entire Armed Forces. It was so heartwarming for me to hear those usual comments from officers, soldiers, and civilian employees of the Armed Forces, whenever they found out I’m one of his sons.

I recall retired Lt. Gen. Salvador Mison, a former Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff and Customs Commissioner, telling us during Dad’s wake that Dad would not accept gifts given by callers to his office when he was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (J-1) of the Armed Forces. He would instruct his staff to remind visitors not to bring gifts, even when there's an occasion, or have the gifts returned to the givers. Gen. Mison was then a junior officer at Dad’s office.

I also have personal knowledge that he made some people unhappy for strictly implementing policies without favor, some of whom were even neighborhood officers in the base. These were servicemen who continue to evade routine assignments aboard naval vessels, but could not do so, and were forced to leave the service, when Dad was the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Personnel (N-1), an assignment prior to his stint at J-1.

From J-1, Dad volunteered to head Task Force Pagkakaisa, a unified command of the various armed services, created to address the growing Muslim unrest in Mindanao. He was based on board a naval vessel, an LST, off the shores of Sulu. This was to be his last assignment prior to retirement. Task Force Pagkakaisa was the forerunner of the Southern Command (Southcom), which was activated after Dad hung up his uniform. Some Marines, who were part of his command, became my friends when their platoon was given sentry duties at the base. They taught me and my neighborhood buddies how to drink alcohol, in their barracks. Bad influence....ha ha ha! But to be frank, they were such a nice bunch.

From the date of his retirement from the Navy, we had one more year to remain and occupy our quarters in the base. So by the time we had to finally move out  in the summer of 1970, I was also already about to start a new chapter in my life and embark on my own professional career, bringing to a close those unforgettable pages of yesteryear that hold so many fond memories of my growing up years.

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