I Dean Growcock a Navy Veteran filled out my application to Veterans of Foreign Wars VFW Post 880 in Galveston in July 2015. Sworn in September 2015
Post Commander Nov 1, 2015 to April 2017.
Quarter Master April 2017 to January 2018
Post Commander January 2020 to Present
I joined the US Navy on 10 months delayed entry when I was 17 and still in High School Nov 1976.
Left for Boot Camp in Orlando, Fl September 1977.
After boot camp I completed Basic Electricity school in Orlando Jan 1978. Data Systems ( DS ) "A" and "C" schools from Jan 1978 to April 1979 in Vallejo, CA.
I flew to the Philippines out of " C" school and waited 2 weeks for transportation to my 1st Destroyer which was in the Indian Ocean. I flew to Diego Garcia south of the Equator in the Indian Ocean. From there flew on a mail plane and landed on an Aircraft Carrier. Took a Helo from the Carrier to a supply ship then the next morning I was lowered by cable out of the Helo to the Fantail of my 1st Destroyer the USS Robison DDG 12 in the middle of the norther Indian Ocean. Where we kept tabs on the Russians who were getting ready to invade Afghanistan. During that time we had a port visit in Mombasa, Kenya where we crossed the Equator and I became a Shellback.
After leaving the Indian Ocean we headed back to the Pacific Ocean and stopped off in Singapore, Subic Bay, Philippines, Hong Kong, Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan. Where I climbed Mt Fuji. Then after 6 months on that cruise we headed back to Hawaii when the Hostages were taken in Iran, the crew was ready to turn around and head to Iran to kick some ass but President Carter had different plans. After leaving Hawaii we headed back to our Home port of San Diego, CA in the late fall of 1979.
In the Summer of 1980 we left for my 2nd cruise on the USS Robison DDG 12 and headed for Hawaii. We couldn't pass an engineering drill so we spent 2 months in Hawaii while they rebuilt the engines. After leaving Hawaii we went to the Far East stopping in Pattaya Beach, Thailand, where I took a road trip to Bangkok. After leaving Thailand we rescued 2 boats with Vietnamese Refugees, one boat had 262 survivors on board and the other had 22. After processing them we went back to Subic Bay and Hong Kong before heading back to Hawaii to end our cruise in Jan 1981.
During 1981 I was in Bremerton, Wa in the ship yards for a major overhaul of the USS Robison DDG 12. In Sept 1981 I reenlisted for 3 more years. In the Fall of 1981 they were making the TV Movie "The Winds of War" and filming all the ship scenes on the USS Missouri BB 63 (the battleship the Japanese surrendered on). I was an extra in the movie along with 35 other shipmates. I got to spend 2 hours with Robert Mitchum, and I met Ralph Bellamy and John Dehner.
In December 1981 I left the USS Robison DDG 12 and transfered to another Destroyer the USS John Rodgers DD 983 home ported in Charleston, SC. Where in Feb 1982 I Deployed on my 3rd cruise to across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea and through the Suez Canal to the Persian Gulf during the start of the Iran and Iraq war. We were protecting the shipping lanes so Iran or Iraq wouldn't blow up any oil tankers, however they did shoot each other down in nightly air dog fights. During this time we stopped in Bahrain for fuel and a few days on land in hell. We also made a port call back to Mombasa, Kenya exactly 3 years to the month I was there last on the USS Robison DDG 12. We tied up to the same dock the USS Robison DDG 12 did proving I had been completely around the world mostly on water and driving across the US. During that trip we also had a Shellback initiation. This time I was a Shellback and played Davy Jones. We had 35 Shellbacks who had to initiate 261 Pollywags. After several months in the Persian Gulf we went back through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea. Before crossing the Atlantic to head back to Charleston, SC we stopped in Malaga, Spain, where I took a road trip to Torremolimos, Spain. We also went to Trieste, Italy where i took a train to Venice, Italy. And we pulled into Naples, Italy where I took another train to Rome.
After returning to Charleston in July 1982 a month later we left on my 4th deployment through the Panama Canal to the west coast of Central America during the Contra situation. The only place we got off the ship during this 3 month cruise was Panama City before going through the Panama Canal heading west. Now that I was back in the Pacific Ocean I have now sailed completely around the world.
In the Spring of 1983 we Deployed again across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea where we anchored out at Monte Carlo for the 4th of July where I had a drink with Roger Moore and Princess Caroline kissed me on the cheek. Then we went back to Malaga Spain and on the way had a change of Command.
After leaving Spain we spent the next several months 3 miles off the coast of Beirut during a peace keeping operation there. During that time we had to repel boarders as two boat came out for us one night, one was a bomb boat and the other a boarding party. After successfully doing that we headed to Ashdod, Isreal for a week were I took road trips to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. During this time the ship that relieved us started firing their 5" guns in the hill above Beirut. We left Ashdod and went back to Beirut where we fired over 350 of our 5" rounds. Then the Battleship USS New Jersey BB 62 showed up and fired their 16" guns. We left Beirut shortly after the New Jersey got there and headed to Alexandria, Egypt. While in Egypt I took a 3 day tour to Cairo, the 3 famous pyramids and several other less famous ones.
After leaving Egypt and heading back to Charleston we got word that the Marine's barracks was blown up by 2 truck bomb killing 241 US (Marines) and 58 French Peacekeepers and 6 civilians October 23, 1983.
In January 1984 I Deployed for my 6th and final time to the North Atlantic. This was the only cruise I was on that wasn't in a war zone or we rescued refugees from another war. During this cruise we went above the Arctic Circle in Feburary with a foot of snow on our decks and got our Blue Nose. We also followed an Ice Breaker that was clearing the shipping lane to Helsinki, Finland where we played a football game against their Army personnel and beat them. We also pulled into Kiel, Germany where I took a trip to the Iron Curtain and flipped off the East German guard in his tower. We also pulled into Copenhagen, Denmark where my Great Grandfather immigrated from in the late 1800s.
After getting back to Charleston, SC in the mid Spring of 1984 we started getting ready for a major overhaul. After unloading all the weapons and 5" gun mounts we headed to Pascagoula, Mississippi to the ship yards. During this trip we were allowed to bring on an adult male family member so my Father came for the ride (Tiger Cruise). Between Charleston and Fort Lauderdale, Fl he got so sea sick that he didn't want to make the trip from Florida to Mississippi but he did and that leg wasn't very rough. This would be the last time I went out to Sea on a Navy ship.
I spent the summer of 1984 at the Ship Yards and was Honorably Discharged in August 1984.
To recap I served 10 months inactive reserves
7 years active duty
Completed Data Systems (DS) "A" and "C" school
32 Months on the USS Robison DDG 12
32 Months on the USS John Rodgers DD 983
6 Deployments (Cruises)
4 of them to War Zones
Rescued 284 Vietnamese refugees on 2 diffrent boats
Went throught 2 Shellback ceremonies 1 initiated 1 initiator
Ran both ditches twice each the Suez and Panama Canals
Blue Nose for crossing Arctic Circle
Received two Accommodations one from President Reagan and one from Secretary of the Navy
After my Discharge from the Navy I moved to Harlingen, TX where I got into the family business with my Dad and his brother, carpet cleaning. In Dec 1984 we move the headquarters of the business to Houston where we ran stores in 12 different cities across the southern states from Texas to Florida and as far north as Omaha, my home town.
After 10 years of that I was tired of that business and started remodeling houses until 2008 when my Father passed away and I took over his carpet and flooring store with my Brother.
Currently I own my own carpet and flooring store in La Marque since 2013. I've lived in Galveston since Jan 2009.
USS Robison DDG 12 right before I came aboard. She is covered in oil after assisting when the USS Ranger and an oil tanker collided. 1979
USS Robison (DDG-12), named for Rear Admiral Samuel Shelburne Robison, was a Charles F. Adams-class guided missile armed destroyer in the service of the United States Navy.Robison was laid down by Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, Michigan on 28 April 1959, launched on 27 April 1960 by Mrs. John H. Sides, wife of the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, and commissioned on 9 December 1961 at the Boston Naval Shipyard, Comdr. D. V. Cox in command.Robison served as plane guard for carriers on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, participated in Sea Dragon operations, patrolled on search and rescue duties and carried out Naval Gunfire Support missions during the Vietnam War.
During the time I served on her.
After fighting in Vietnam in the '60s, she participated in the rescue of two groups of Vietnamese refugees in 1980. The first group was spotted while doing maneuvers with the Thai Navy in the South China Sea. When the Robison arrived that evening only 262 people survived of the 300+ that disembarked from Vietnam to escape the horrors of their homeland. Many died during their ordeal in the sea or ended their lives after giving up hope before the Robison arrived. These refugees were "housed" under tarps on the gun deck of the Robison, cared for and nursed back to health by members of the crew until permission was granted to take them to Thailand to be processed and, eventually, taken to the United States. Within weeks of rescuing the first group, a second group was spotted with a very small contingent of people; 21 to be precise. The seas were stormy so the people were taken below decks and cared for as the ship transited to the Philippines where they would be processed for emigration to the United States. The members of her crew received the Humanitarian Service Medal
Robison earned seven battle stars for service off the Vietnamese coast
The guided missile destroyer decommissioned on 1 October 1991, was struck from the navy list on 20 November 1992 and sold to Consolidated Metals, Inc., for scrapping.Robison was decommissioned on 1 October 1991, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 20 November 1992 and sold for scrap on 20 June 1994. The plan was that it would be converted to a power barge with her sister ship, the USS Hoel (DDG-13). That plan for Robison was apparently changed after the power barge failure of the Hoel.The hull of the Robison eventually[when?] was sunk off the coast of South Carolina as part of the Marine Resources Division of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resourcesartificial fishing reef project. The hull of Robison is now located at 32°29.271′N 080°00.074′W.
United StatesName:Robison (DDG-12)Namesake:Samuel Shelburne RobisonOrdered:17 January 1958Builder:Defoe Shipbuilding CompanyLaid down:28 April 1959Launched:27 April 1960Acquired:29 November 1961Commissioned:9 December 1961Decommissioned:1 October 1991Struck:20 November 1992Fate:sold for scrap on 20 June 1994General characteristicsClass and type:Charles F. Adams-class destroyerDisplacement:3,277 tons standard, 4,526 full loadLength:437 ft (133 m)Beam:47 ft (14 m)Draft:15 ft (4.6 m)Propulsion:
Speed:33 knots (61 km/h)Range:4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)Complement:354 (24 officers, 330 enlisted)Sensors and
USS Robison DDG 12 Coat of Arms.
Fashioned after the Robison Family's Coat of Arms for whom the Destroyer was named after. Rear Admiral Samuel Shelburne Robison
Meaning of Symbols & Colors on the Robinson Coat of Arms
Or/Yellow/Gold Represents Generosity.
Vert/Green Signifies Hope, Joy and sometimes, Loyalty in Love
The Chevron Denotes Protection. Often granted as a reward to one who has achieved some Notable Enterprise
Stag/Buck/Deer Signifies Policy, Peace and Harmony
Shamrock/Trefoil Signifies Perpetuity
USS John Rodgers (DD-983), a Spruance-class destroyer, was the sixth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the three generations of the Rodgers family who served in the navy.John Rodgers was laid down on 12 August 1976 by Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss.; launched on 18 March 1978; sponsored by Mrs. Roy C. Smith, Jr., the great, great-granddaughter of Commodore John Rodgers; and commissioned on 4 September 1979.
During my time aboard her
During the early 1980s, John Rodgers sailed into the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans under her commanding officer, CDR Wagner. She traversed both the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal. Under U.S. policy, John Rodgers sailed into the Persian Gulf in support of Iraq, during Iraq's war against Iran.John Rodgers crossed the equator on the way to Kenya. This resulted in the initiation of the "Pollywogs" (those who have not crossed the equator) by the "Shellbacks" (those who have crossed the equator). During this period, John Rodgers made port calls on four continents, including Panama, Spain, Italy, France, England, Denmark, Morocco, Egypt, Bahrain and Kenya.On September 16, 1983 while operating off Lebanon, John Rodgers fired her guns against Syrian controlled portions of Lebanon in response to Syrian shelling near the residence of the U.S. ambassador. This made her the first ship to use the Mk 86 Gun Fire Control System in combat.On 19 September, U.S. policy shift from presence to direct support of Lebanese Army forces defending the strategically important village of Suk El Gharb in the Chouf Mountains east of Beirut. Along with Virginia, the two ships fired a total of 338 5-inch rounds. Ongoing fire support missions continued through 21 September.
John Rodgers was decommissioned and stricken on 4 September 1998; she was stored at NISMF Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, awaiting sale for scrap. By 2005 she had been sold to International Shipbreaking Limited of Brownsville, Texas although scrapping work had yet to be completed. On 29 December 2005, John Rodgers (DD-983) was spotted heading south along the east coast of south Florida under tow. She has since been broken up for scrap.
United StatesNamesake:Three generations of the Rodgersfamily who served in the USNOrdered:15 January 1974Builder:Ingalls ShipbuildingLaid down:12 August 1976Launched:25 February 1978Acquired:25 June 1979Commissioned:14 July 1979Decommissioned:4 September 1998Struck:4 September 1998Motto:Sea Eagle TriumphantFate:Disposed of by scrapping, dismantling, 30 December 2006Badge:General characteristicsClass and type:Spruance class destroyerDisplacement:8,040 (long) tons full loadLength:529 ft (161 m) waterline; 563 ft (172 m) overallBeam:55 ft (16.8 m)Draft:29 ft (8.8 m)Propulsion:4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 80,000 shp (60 MW)Speed:32.5 knots (60 km/h)Range:
Complement:19 officers, 315 enlistedSensors and
The shield of John Rodgers symbolizes the service of three generations of the Rodgers family. The anchor represents the service of Commodore John Rodgers, who acted as president of the Board of Naval Commissioners, following the War of 1812, serving until 1837. The compass rose is symbolic of the service of his son, Rear Admiral John Rodgers, who led exploring expeditions in waters off China and through the Bering Strait in 1855. The wings on the crest refer to the service of Commander John Rodgers II who was a pioneer of naval aviation, and the great-grandson of Commodore Rodgers.
The sea eagle, a sharp-eyed, marine bird-of-prey, represents the ship's primary mission of detection and tracking, with the addition of incredibly deadly striking ability. The three arrowheads refer to the multi-mission capabilities of the destroyer, as well as the naval service of the father, son, and great-grandson for whom the ship is named.
Sea Eagle Triumphant
Awarded by United States Navy
Type Medal Eligibility US Navy officers and enlisted Awarded for Landed on foreign territory and engaged in operations against armed opposition, or operated under circumstances which, after full consideration, shall be deemed to merit special recognition and for which service no campaign medal has been awarded.
Status Currently Awarded Clasps Wake Island Statistics Established August 5, 1936 First awarded 12 Feb 1874 (Retroactive) (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands)Last awarded 15 Dec 2002  Precedence Next (higher)U.S. Navy - Fleet Marine Force Ribbon
U.S. Marine Corps - Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal Equivalent U.S. Marine Corps - Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal Next (lower) China Service Medal Related Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Obverse and reverse of the Humanitarian Service Medal
Awarded by Department of Defense Type Service medal Eligibility U.S. military personnel
April 2, 1975 - present Awarded for meritorious direct participation in a significant military act or operation of a humanitarian nature. Status Active Statistics Established Executive Order 11965, January 19, 1977 Precedence Next (higher) Armed Forces Service Medal[ 1] Next (lower) Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal  Related Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service
The Navy Good Conduct Medal is the third oldest continuously awarded medal in the United States. The "U.S.N." Type I medal was authorized on 26 April 1869 and was produced by E. V. Haughwout Company of New York. The medal was issued with a red, white and blue material suspension ribbon without a suspension pin. The medal is in the design of a Maltese cross and the name of the recipient was engraved on the reverse
A Sea Service Ribbon is an award of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, the United States Army, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration which recognizes those service members who have performed military duty while stationed on a United States Navy, Coast Guard, Army, or NOAA vessel at sea and/or members of the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard who have been forward-deployed with their home unit.
The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (NAM), is the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps' version of the Achievement Medal. The United States Navy was the first branch of the United States Armed Forces to award such a medal, doing so in 1961, when it was dubbed the “Secretary of the Navy Commendation for Achievement Medal”. This title was shortened in 1967 to simply, the "Navy Achievement Medal". On 19 August 1994, to recognize those of the United States Marine Corps who had received the Navy Achievement Medal, the name of the decoration was officially changed to the "Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal". The award is referred to in shorthand speech as a "NAM".
The Navy Unit Commendation (NUC) is a United States Navy unit award that was established by order of the Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal on 18 December 1944.Navy and U.S. Marine Corps commands may recommend any Navy or Marine Corps unit for the NUC that has distinguished itself by outstanding heroism in action against the enemy, but not sufficient to justify the award of the Presidential Unit Citation. A unit must have performed service of a character comparable to that which would merit the award of a Silver Star Medal for heroism, or a Legion of Merit for non-combat meritorious service to an individual. Normal performance of duty or participation in a large number of combat missions does not, in itself, justify the award. An award will not be made to a unit for actions of one or more of its component parts, unless the unit performed uniformly as a team, in a manner justifying collective recognition.