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