VAW-11 Detachment Lima
Fred's Personal Biographical Sketch
Fred's Life, to the Yeoman is something phenomenal! While most military people don't regard their service or their lives as anything out of the ordinary, it really takes another person's perspective to really know whether their life is anything above the average. Which means most Service people are rather modest about 'standing out' - it comes with the territory - None of us ever wanted to 'Stand Out' since we were all taught to act as a Unit - the Individualistic Ego was discouraged on every quarter, so it doesn't surprise the Yeoman or any Ex-Military person that they'd wish to remain mute or at least reserved about their Service lives.
Although some might think that a Biography of a regular guy like Fred isn't important enough to be published on the World Wide Web, yet the fact is, that every person's Story is important, not only for History's Sake, but also for their own sake and their posterity. A Future Generation will thank us for keeping explicit records of our passage even those who are "nobodies" like 90% of us, but as far as the Yeoman is concerned, Fred Kralowetz isn't in that 90 Percentile.
So without "pouring it on" about his story, I'll let Fred tell it in his own words, since that's the best way to get the facts, and most of you know that the Facts are more important to us than mere hearsay, or 'BS' so there's none here, just Fred's Story. In the Navy we called it the 'Skinny'.. so here's the 'Skinny' on Fred's Navy Career..
Re: Your request for Hannah info and pictures
I recently stumbled across your website while searching for USS Hancock-related information. What a fortunate stub of the toe! Your journal of your Hancock service, as well as your many other narratives and links, has vividly brought back many recessed memories of my time aboard "Hannah", as well as my many other naval experiences.
As it turns out, my naval service parallels your service in some ways, including service aboard Hancock during the '63 Westpac cruise from 7 June to 16 December 1963, which you describe so well on the website. I also saw service in Hancock during the subsequent Westpac cruise from 21 October 1964 to 28 May 1965. Additionally, as did you, I started my naval service, while still in high school, by enlisting in the Naval Reserve. I am also retired from the Naval Reserve.
I joined Naval Reserve Surface Division 4-60 in York, PA as a Seaman Recruit in February 1956 while a junior in high school. While serving with this unit, I completed boot camp at USNTC Bainbridge and participated in active duty for training (ACDUTRA) in USS HORACE A. BASS (APD 124) during a cruise from Philadelphia to Puerto Rico.
Following high school graduation, I embarked on a ten-year tour of active duty. I entered active service in June 1957 as an Airman Apprentice (AA). My initial assignment was to the Aviation Fundamentals Preparatory (AV(P)) School in Norman, Oklahoma. After graduation from this 5-week course, I was transferred to the Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) Memphis located in Millington, TN for 24 weeks of study in the Aviation Electronics Technician (AT) Class "A" School curriculum. During this tour at NATTC, I was advanced to Airman (AN) and graduated as a designated striker (ATAN).
My first fleet assignment was to Utility Squadron Seven (VU-7) stationed at Naval Auxiliary Air Station NAAS Brown Field in Chula Vista, CA. This unit provided aircraft-towed target services for ship and aircraft gunnery exercises, as well as some photographic and other "utility" services. These services were provided to the fleet using JD-1, F9F, FJ-4, R4D and SNB type aircraft.
During my tenure in VU-7 the squadron relocated to Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, San Diego, CA. During my four years with VU-7 I was able to rise in rank from Airman (AN) to First Class Petty Officer (AT1).
In February 1962, I returned to NATTC Memphis for further training at the Advanced Aviation Electronics Technician Class "B" School. Upon graduation from AT"B" School in September 1962, I was transferred back to NAS North Island in San Diego for service with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron Eleven (VAW-11). The primary aircraft of VAW-11 at this time was the E1B Tracer. Prior to being designated E1B under a newer aircraft nomenclature system, this aircraft was previously known under the old Navy aircraft nomenclature system as the WF-2; hence the nickname "Willy Fudd". It was while with VAW-l 1 that I served two tours of duty aboard USS Hancock (CVA-19). The first tour was with VAW-11 Detachment Lima for the 1963 WestPac cruise from June to December 1963. Of course there was much training leading up to the actual deployment in June, including preparatory onboard flight operations in the months prior to actual deployment.
As indicated above, I also was with VAW-11 Detachment Lima (although the Detachment crew was totally reconstituted) for the subsequent WestPac cruise in 1964-1965. During these cruises, I served in the capacity of aircrewman as a radar search operator/in-flight technician in the E1B aircraft as well as "on-ground" technician while not in a flight status.
In September 1965 my tour of duty with VAW-11 came to a close when I was transferred to NAS Patuxent River, MD. At NAS Patuxent River, I was assigned to the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD), which provided technical repair of all avionics equipment for the many varied aircraft utilized by the operational aircraft squadrons and aircraft test facilities located at this base. I closed out my active naval service at NAS Patuxent River in March 1967.
My love for the Navy continued after my discharge and, in June 1967, I enlisted in the Naval Air Reserve as an Aviation Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer (ATC) (I had taken the Chief's exam while still on activity duty and was to be promoted to E-7 on 15 April had I not been discharged 23 March). My first reserve service following discharge from active service was with Transport Squadron VR-663 at the Naval Air Facility (NAF) Washington located at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, DC. Subsequently, I served in a number of other reserve squadrons operating transport aircraft (R5D) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft (P3B) at NAF Washington, DC and NAS Patuxent River, MD. I also had a stint with a Naval Air Reserve Maintenance Unit (NARMU) at Los Alamitos, CA in the early 70's and with an Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment of NAS Oceana, VA at NAF Washington, DC.
After having completed 23 years of service and achieving the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer, I requested retirement in a non-pay status from the Naval Reserve in September 1979. In January 1999 I was placed on the Retired Reserve payroll, having attained the requisite retirement with pay age of 60.
As I reflect on my Hancock years I remember them as probably the most challenging professionally and, at the same time, the most rewarding in the sense of purpose and accomplishment. For a small band of people comprising a detachment to accomplish at the highest level it is necessary that a tight bond be established among all the members of the "team". This sense of camaraderie is what sticks most in my memory.
In response to your request for Hancock pictures, I am enclosing a CD of some shipboard activities that I have either photographed myself or that I have obtained from other sources. These pictures are heavy on VAW-11 aircraft and personnel - I think naturally so. Hopefully, they will have some interest for others from the same era. Please feel free to use whatever may be appropriate for your needs. (See The Frederick A. Kralowetz, AVCM, USNR (Ret) VAW-11 Detachment Lima Extended Vietnam Era Gallery)
I would also like to mention that I noted the description on your web site of Typhoon Gloria by Ron Wandler, a shipmate who served as an AT2 during the '63 WestPac cruise with VAW-11 Detachment Lima. It was nice to see a contribution by a familiar name.
Keep up the good work. I appreciate the opportunity to relive my days on "Hannah" through the eyes and voices of others with like experiences. I look forward to seeing new inputs on your website relating to the Hancock.
Fair winds and calm seas.
AVCM Frederick A. Kralowetz, USNR (Ret)
Received in Admin: 1/21/2006 5:10 PM