Tribute to a Friend and Shipmate

Tribute to a Friend and Shipmate

Shipmate…We wish for you fair winds and following seas, deep green water under your bow, your main rifles trained in the posture of peace and a gentle breeze at your stern.

By Jim Graslie (ETCM Retired)

 

I first met Dave Frank in 1971 at Naval Communications Station Yokosuka Japan when we were both young Third Class Electronics Technicians. We spent many hours running the Honch together while somehow managing to stay out of trouble. It was during this time Dave met his future wife Tomoko who worked at Daiei Department Store in Yokohama. It was thru them I met my future wife Ritsuko who worked with Tomoko. In late 1974 he transferred to the Pre-Comm crew of the USS Tarawa (LHA-1). 1n 1977 I transferred so San Diego and we were able to renew our friendship.

 

When Dave’s tour on the Tarawa was over he decided to try his hand at civilian life. After a year or so he realized his true calling was to be a Sailor. He re-enlisted for orders to Fleet Training Group Western Pacific in Yokosuka Japan, during his tour at FTG he was advanced to Chief Petty Officer.

 

From Jack Thomas (ETCM Retired)

 

My first contact with Dave was at his CPO Initiation while he was trying to pick up an olive from a block of ice with the cheeks of his ass. We shared many a beer over the years. Rest well, my friend. RIP”.

Following his tour at FTGWP he transferred to the USS Lockwood (FF-1064) where he was advanced to Senior Chief Petty Officer. By this time I had returned to Japan and Friday nights at the Chief’s Club were routine for us.

From Phil Massie (STGCM Retired)

“I am forever grateful to have been in Dave’s Mess in onboard the Lockwood. He was Senior Chief at the time, and I was so impressed with his calm, professional even handed manner, and his professional competence. The man knew his stuff. I’m very proud to have been in the same Mess, and to have had Dave as a friend. Lockwood was my first ship as Chief, Dave was an inspiration, really made me understand what the Mess was all about, and how to be a Chief Petty Officer. He treated me as an equal, cutting me with that rye humor when I needed it, but showing all of us what a professional looks like. He wore the Hat, he was one of the best, and I’m proud and thankful of his friendship, and having worked with him. Rest in Peace Dave, thanks a million”.

When his tour on the Lockwood was finished, Dave transferred to Mobile Technical Seven where he was advanced to Master Chief Petty Officer. After completion of that tour he transferred to USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) for what would be his final tour.

In 2000 Dave retired from the Navy and started his second career as the AIRPAC Combat Systems On-Site Rep for the USS Carl Vinson and later the John C. Stennis (CVN-72).

In 2011 Dave retired for a second time. His health started declining shortly thereafter. I last saw him November 19th and was able to say my final farewell. On November 21st Dave received hi final orders, slipped his mooring and joined the Staff of the Supreme Commander. He leaves behind his wife Tomoko, children Christopher and Caroline, a brother and a sister.

On this Thanksgiving I’m thankful to have known him, proud to have had him as a friend, and privileged to call him Shipmate.

A SAILOR DIED TODAY

Papers tell their life stories

When politicians leave this earth,

Their bodies lie in state,

While thousands note their passing,

And proclaim that they were great.

From the time that they were young,

But the passing of a Sailor

Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution

To the welfare of our land,

Some jerk who breaks his promise

And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow

Who in times of war and strife,

Goes off to serve his country

And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend

And the style in which he lives,

Are often disproportionate,

To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Sailor,

Who offered up his all,

Is paid off with a medal

And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians

With their compromise and ploys,

Who won for us the freedom

That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,

With your enemies at hand,

Would you really want some cop-out,

With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Sailor

His home, his country, his kin,

Just a common Sailor,

Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Sailor,

And his ranks are growing thin,

But his presence should remind us

We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,

We find the Sailor’s part,

Is to clean up all the troubles

That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor

While he’s here to hear the praise,

Then, at least, let’s give him homage

At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline

In the paper that might say:

“OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,

A SAILOR DIED TODAY.”

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