Today’s veteran: Robert Chubb, 57
Residence: St. Marys
Service: Navy, 15 years
Rank: Petty officer 1st class
Duties: Aviation boatswain’s mate — equipment
Recognitions: Kuwait Liberation Medal; Navy Expeditionary Medal; Sea Service Medal; Navy Achievement Medal; Overseas Ribbon; National Defense Service Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Battle “E” Award
Duty stations: Sima Portsmouth, Va.; Naval Air Station Bermuda; USS America and USS Roosevelt
His story: Bob Chubb planned to be trained as a combat engineer in the Army after he graduated high school. The Army, however, wanted to train him as an infantry soldier, leading to his decision to delay enlisting in the military.
He worked three years in construction jobs and at a harness racetrack, where he helped take care of the horses before deciding it was time to enlist. Chubb met with a Navy recruiter and decided it was time to make a commitment.
“I just wanted to go in the aviation field,” he said.
He was trained as an aviation boatswain’s mate, whose job was launching and recovering naval aircraft. He was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS America.
“It was a lot of work, but I loved it,” he said of his duties.
The carrier was home to 5,000 sailors and 80 aircraft of all types including fighter jets, reconnaissance, bombers, submarine hunters and radar jammers. When the ship was deployed, it spent most of its time in the Atlantic off the coast of Europe or in the Mediterranean Sea.
His ship was in Scotland when it was ordered to respond to the 1983 suicide bombing of a Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon that claimed the lives of 241 Marines.
“We were shocked something like that would happen,” he said.
He was among 66 sailors who reenlisted while the ship was traveling through the Suez Canal. Chubb said he decided to make the Navy a career about nine months before he reenlisted.
He served four years at Naval Air Station Bermuda, where he worked as a firefighter and later as the fire department’s structural captain.
He returned to the USS America for a second tour of duty from 1988 to 1991. The most memorable deployment was the four months he served in the Middle East during Desert Storm. He worked aboard the carrier on the catapults that sent aircraft airborne.
Aircraft were launched around the clock during the deployment, he said.
When his ship returned to its home port in Virginia, Chubb said he immediately reported to the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt.
“I walked off the America and onto the Roosevelt,” he said.
He ended his career after 15 years to accept a civilian job. He currently works at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
“It taught me responsibility and helped me grow up,” Chubb said of how the Navy impacted his life. “It got me where I am now in the job I have.”
Our Veterans runs Wednesdays. Contact Gordon Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or at 464-7655 to suggest a veteran for a column.