Saturday, September 21, 2013

U. S. Naval Forces Europe
7 North Audley Street
London W1, England

Alan, this Blog Publisher, was assigned to the Staff of U. S. Naval Forces Europe from 28 September 1966 to 1 September 1969.  
This picture was acquired well after my duty in London.
I note the barricaded streets and they were not present
during my tour.

When I first reported to duty on this Staff I was assigned to Central Files.  We processed all the incoming mail and mailed all the correspondence from the Command.  Additionally we kept the historical copies of all CINCUSNAVEUR Directives - both Instructions and short term Notices.  This was an interesting task and everyone in the office enjoyed the duty in London.  We all wore business Suits.  Upon arrival we were fitted and given two suits paid for by the U. S. Navy.  Each year thereafter we were again fitted and given a new suit.  Unfortunately I outgrew my suits after my tour and I donated them to some charity.

The structure shown above was used by the Commander in Chief for the European Theater of Operations during World War II.  General Dwight D. Eisenhower and His Wife lived in this headquarters.  During my tour of duty in London there were two Admirals who served as CINCUSNAVEUR.  The first was Admiral J. S. Thach, a World War II Pilot who developed special tactics for the U. S. Navy Pilots to use.  The second Admiral was John S. McCain.  He was the Son of a Navy Four Star Admiral as well as being a Four Star Admiral himself.  His Son, who we know as Senator John S. McCain is currently in the U. S. Senate.  I was in the Headquarters the day that the now Senator was shot down during the Vietnam War.  Of course that was a challenging day!!!

In addition to working in Central Files, my final 18 months was spent assigned to the Plans and Policy Division (N-6) of the Staff.  There I typed Plans and other general correspondence.  I was promoted to Yeoman First Class (E-6) during my time in London.  The Chief all of us worked for in the Plans and Policy Division developed a rather unique Security Classification for the material we processed each day.  He called it BBR (Burn Before Reading).  Needless to say we all did have the big picture, however we did not talk about it.

The highlight of my Tour in London was being in the Honor Guard at Saint Paul's when the British conducted a Memorial Service to pay tribute and honor deceased General Dwight D. Eisenhower and also the President of the United States.  This Memorial Service was held on 14 April 1969.  My fondest memory of that day was when the Queen Mum walked up the red carpet into Saint Paul's and I noted that she winked at me.  Of course we were all in our Navy Dress Blues for this special day.

One more interesting item, I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on the SS United States from New York City to South Hampton, England so that I could report for duty in London.  From my point of view, My Tour in London was the best tour of duty I experienced during my 21 year Career.

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