OKEECHOBEE — Veteran George Storey was born and raised in Cleveland and joined the Navy about 12 hours after he graduated from high school. He graduated at 9 p.m. and went to the recruiter’s office to sign up early the following morning. His older brother was in the Navy, so his parents were not surprised when he told them he was going to join.
He did boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois in January 1959 and then went to Norfolk, Va., for advanced training. He was in the Air Force part of the Navy, he explained. He was an Airdale. He got his wings in Norfolk and flew aboard C-1s going out to the aircraft carriers, landing on them and bringing the mail, picking up passengers, things like that. That was his job for about three years, until he received orders to go to Keflavik, Iceland.
When he arrived in Iceland, he was put in the Navy Crash Crew, which is the fire department. While he was there, he was chosen by the admiral to be one of two undercover military police officers in the United States He can’t say much about it, even now, but it had to do with surveillance of American government employees and drugs and things like that.
After that, his four years were up, so he got out of the Navy for about two months, and one of the men who worked for his father was one of the officers who had gotten a boat out of Pearl Harbor during the war. This man kept telling Mr. Storey’s father he should make his son go back in the Navy, so he ended up going back.
This time, he was sent to Atsugi, Japan, for three years to work on jets and airplanes taking care of the oxygen, air conditioning and pressurization. While there, he climbed Mount Fuji with four other sailors. It took them 18 hours to climb up and two hours to slide down the other side. It was in the newspaper in Japan.
After Japan, he went to Maryland and was in a secret squadron there for a year.
Following that assignment, he went to Key West, where they had 32 Phantom jets. He was one of the crew members who did the liquid oxygen in the morning every day. They worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s how it is when you are aboard a ship, he said. “There aren’t too many places to go.”
When he left there, he went to another F-4 Phantom group in Oceana, and from there, he went to Naples, Italy, where he lived for four and a half years. That was where he made chief petty officer. He was an AMEC (aviation structural mechanic). While there, he had the opportunity to fly in the Europa blimp.
His last duty station was back in Key West to an RVAH-3A Reconnaissance Attack (Heavy) Squadron of the U.S. Navy. There, he was the maintenance chief.
When he retired from the Navy, he moved to Port St. Lucie, where he worked for Louden Pools for 22 years designing and selling swimming pools. After he left there, he went to work for Pools by Greg in Port St. Lucie.
He got married and moved to Okeechobee with his new wife. He still works for Pools by Greg and said he has no plans to retire any time soon. He is way too young for that. If you are looking for a new pool, give him a call at 772-337-9713 or 863-763-8534.