By: Sandra Thompson
Mike was born in Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1946 and grew up in several places, including Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana and Oklahoma. Mike decided to join the US Navy Reserves while still in high school and he went “regular” Navy after graduation. He joined the military because he felt it was his duty to serve his country, and he followed his dad’s advice to join the Navy.
From 1963 – 1967, Mike served in the Navy in the electrical field, which in a rare instance at the time, he got to choose! Mike was stationed at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek in Virginia Beach, VA. Simply known as “Little Creek” the base is the major operating base for the Amphibious Forces in the United States Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. The mission of the Naval Amphibious Base is to provide required support services to over 15,000 personnel of the 27 home-ported ships and 78 resident and/or supported activities. The base’s combination of operational, support, and training facilities are geared predominantly to amphibious operations, making the base unique among bases of the United States and Allied Navies.
Mike was in charge and responsible for the electrical systems on amphibious craft and the amphibious assault squadron. Mike’s most memorable times in the military were his two short tours to Vietnam; he got to see some of the world that he will probably never get to see again. After completing his enlistment, Mike decided to separate from the Navy because he tired of being away from his family for long periods of time. After leaving the Navy, he went to work for the Army Corps of Engineers. He later worked for the Kentucky Dept. of Child Welfare and has been in factory maintenance in various locations for the rest of his work history.
Mike says he likes being able to support and associate with “true Americans,” we (veterans) all have signed that blank check for our country and his being a member in veteran’s organizations continues this service by helping veterans. This is the reason he is active in many of our local Veteran Service Organizations to include being a Life Member in American Veterans (AMVETS), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Vietnam Veterans of America, (VVA) and also an annual member in the American Legion.
Mike has been on the Board of Directors at the Alabama Veterans Museum as a representative of AMVETS for about 4 years. He is also our resident chaplain. In his words, Mike says that he wanted to be a part of the museum because of “The great people and the willingness to support our veterans by establishing one of the best veterans’ museums around, the professionalism of the museum staff, and the dedication of the volunteers.” He also feels that the museum needs more attention – “The displays are just a small piece of the many veterans’ lives, some who gave it all, some who made personal sacrifices in their life for our country. To recognize this museum or make a contribution, whether monetary or artifact, is just a small price to pay to recognize those who gave so much so we may live in a free country.” Mike would like to see the museum get the community to help with donations to the building fund so Limestone County will have a museum that is second to none.
Mike’s loving life-partner is Corrine, and he says she is 1005 percent behind whatever he does! Corrine has 2 sons from a previous marriage and Mike has 3 sons by a previous marriage. His oldest son was career Army National Guard with 22 years of service, his second son served in the Army Airborne and was stationed on the DMZ in Korea. Corrine’s youngest son is a career firefighter in Kentucky. Mike would also like to add, “May God continue to bless our museum and our supporters; without the public support and the support of our veterans, we will fail as a museum. I pray that our community will come together and see how important it is to preserve our country’s history. God Bless the United States of America and the countless men and women who have served our country.”
By Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum