Chuck Murray

I was born in the small town of Cottonwood, Arizona, and raised in Winslow, Arizona. Home to Standing on the Corner, it’s such a fine sight to see the Eagles Band’s famous song. I graduated high school in 1974 and then attended Northern Arizona University (NAU) before joining the Navy in 1976. My first diving experience began with my dad, an avid diver, Arizona Game and Fish Ranger, Deputy Sheriff and outdoorsman.

My First Command

After basic training in San Diego, CA, I was on the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY CV-41, stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. I had the pleasure of landing on it at sea in a mail plane. Beginning my first sea duty tour as a FA (E-2), I eventually worked as an electrician, which was one of the possible ratings available for divers, which was my goal. In 1977, I received orders to attend second-class dive school in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and after completion, I was transferred to San Diego to serve on the fleet tug USS Hitchiti ATF 103, towing targets and barges. I began a West Pacific tour dubbed “A slow boat to China”. It was decommissioned in 1978 and received orders for first-class diving school in Washington, DC, NAVY YARD. It was one of the last classes at this location before it relocated to Panama City, Florida.

After first-class dive school, I was transferred to the submarine tender USS SPERRY AS-12, SAN DIEGO, CA., as an E-4, third-class Electricians Mate. I was command advanced to E-5 in 1980 while onboard and serviced submarines while “popping abalone and catching lobsters” off the coast. In 1981, I was transferred to another submarine tender, the USS PROTEUS AS-19, in GUAM for a 3-year tour with warm and clear water. I crossed the equator and became a shellback on a return trip from DIEGO GARCIA, an atoll in the Indian Ocean.

Catching and Recovering Test Torpedoes

In 1984, I received orders to NUWES (now NUWC), KEYPORT, WA, to catch and recover test torpedoes in the Puget Sound, Pacific Ocean and Canada. I was promoted to E-6. I also enjoyed spearing Ling Cod and wrestling with the Great Pacific Octopus by hand. In 1986, I received orders to BANGOR SUBMARINE BASE, servicing Trident submarines while popping scallops off the piers and digging Geoducks by hand.

In 1989, I was sent to Sasebo, Japan, to serve as an electrician, engineer, and first-class Class Diver on the USS BEAUFORT ATS-2 It was an unusually arduous sea duty tour. The ship did many jobs in helicopter and jet recoveries. We recovered an Air Force SR-71 Blackbird in the SOUTH CHINA SEA. The ship earned an Air Force Achievement medal for that job even though we were in the Navy Branch of service. I also earned my Surface Warfare pin while onboard ship. We were sent to the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and earned a Combat Action Ribbon for being in an area under missile attack and dodging underwater mines along the way. I made Chief (E-7) at this command and was glad to leave and get back to the good old USA.

Now fully retired! Hooyah

I was lucky to get back to Subbase Bangor from 1991 to 1993 and then back to Keyport, WA. (NUWC) from 1994. After retiring from active duty in 1996, I continued my diving career and opened a business working on the multi-million-dollar SEATTLE FLOATING HOMES in Lake Union. I kept the homes level by using underwater floatation to tilt them into position. I also performed many inspections, provided underwater plumbing installation and repairs, and provided light salvage and recovery services. I retired from that business in 2019.

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