Ed Dagostin: ‘I was once a sailor’Published 4:09pm Monday, November 15, 2010
Edward J. Dagostin enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June of 1964 and served aboard the destroyer USS Lofberg DD759. His brother Thomas K. Dagostin joined the Navy a year later and did duty aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS George C Bancroft.
“He was as proud of his naval service as I am of mine. Two brothers joined by blood-famil-saltwater and the willingness to serve our country as needed to the end,” Ed says.
He was attending boot camp when the Vietnamese government fired on the USS Turner Joy and the United States was at war again. After attending the engineering school at Great Lakes Naval Academy, the beginning of his subsequent eight years of military service and obligation, he went aboard the Lofberg when it was in dry dock at Hunters Point Naval Station, San Francisco in early 1965.
As is true of all the surviving veterans of America’s wars, he remembers the good times and the bad. “And on Veterans Day, those now gone and those still with us are very much on my mind and heart,” he comments.
His “Memories of a Salty Old Sailor” best expresses his feelings about his military service to his country:
“I Love The Navy”
I like standing on deck at sunrise with salt spray in my face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four corners of the world, the ship beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines move her through the sea.
I like the sounds of the Navy, the calling sound of our boatswains’ pipe, the ringing of the ships bell on the quarterdeck; the piercing sound of the IMC, and the strong language and fun of the sailors at work or on watch.
I like the ships of the Navy – fast, sleek destroyers, silent nuclear submarines and the always working amphibious, and yes, the behemoth steady carriers, around which our battle groups are built.
I like the names of Navy ships: Texas-Missouri-Alabama-New Jersey-Midway-Ranger-Hancock-Lexington-Coral Sea- and the memories of battles they all won.
I like the names of Navy Destroyers: “tin cans,’ Fletcher, Lofberg-Bole-Thomason-Mullinix-Agerhome; and so on as they go, named for naval heroes before our time.
I like the feeling of the ship in the dark, the mast lights, the red and green navigation lights and the stern lights, and to sit out on the deck and look at the heavens.
I like going to sleep from the swishing sounds of the ship screws as they cut the water, the sound of “Taps” after a hard day’s work – and knowing that my ship is in good hands and the watch will keep the USS Lofberg safe and secure. She is our home. We take care of her and in return, she fulfills her mission and brings us back home safe and secure.
I like the jolting realization of “GENERAL QUARTERS! GENERAL QUARTERS! All hands man your battle stations!” Then when all parts of watertight integrity have sealed the ship, we are ready for all orders, no matter what, to fight or meet any situation that may arise . . . to defend your ship from any harm what so ever!
I like the heroes of the Navy, both old and new, and in years to come when sailors come home from the sea, they will remember how the sea acted upon them, the ungiving power of storms and the calm when all are at rest.
The sailor will be a better man for his deeds, stand tall, and with great pride say “I was once a sailor. I was part of the United States Navy and the Navy will always be part of me, even unto my death. When in time, all sailors will rise up and sail upon that magnificent sea where all is sublime and all misdeeds forgiven, God will bless us all.
Sail on my brothers to that great beyond to be in God’s hands forever.”