I completed my B.S. degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in January of 1964. The job market at that time was tight as the country was in some economic stress. Coincidentally, I received my military draft notice in March of 1964. But, instead of being drafted into the army, I chose to enlist in the Navy Reserve and attend the Naval Officer Candidate School in New Port Rhode Island. I began OCS in May, 1964 and received my commission as an Naval Ensign in September, 1964. I then returned to Louisiana to marry Carolyn Billeaud, my wife and companion for more than 44 years.
In September, 1964 I attended a Nuclear Weapons School at the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I completed that training in March of 1965. Participation in the naval nuclear program required that I have a "Top Secret" clearance and a complete background check. Can you imagine the raised eyebrows that occurred when the FBI came to Evergreen and started asking questions about me?
After completing my training in New Mexico, I was assigned to the aircraft carrier, the USS Lexington, stationed out of Pensacola, Florida. The Lexington was no longer a combat ship and its primary mission was to train navy pilots out of Pensacola and Brownsville, Texas. The ship also provided an opportunity for navy and marine reserve pilots to re-qualify for carrier landings.
While aboard the Lexington, I served in various capacities. I started out as the ship's Junior Battery Officer. From there I moved to the Operations and Intelligence Division. There I served as OI Division Officer and Combat Information Center Officer.
I really enjoyed my tour with the Navy. The camaraderie aboard the USS Lexington was outstanding and I enjoyed the interaction between ship mates.
While sErving my tour of duty, the GI Bill was re-activated. So upon completing my duty, I took the opportunity the GI Bill afforded me to pursue graduate degrees from LSU. I was honorably discharged from the Navy, in August of 1967, in time to start the Fall Semester at LSU. Thus, I was able to obtain my masters (January, 1970) and doctorate (August, 1972) degrees in agronomy.
Submitted by Dr. Harold Aymond, November 16, 2008