“I’m very proud of our families military service and it’s been an honor to serve this fine nation”. Enjoy the pics. -Jim Farmer
My son Derek spent most of his childhood life traveling around different Navy bases with me and my career. I was a single parent for the last half of my career and my squadron members were like family to him. He joined the Army in Oct. 04. These are a few pictures from my son Derek’s combat tours in Iraq:
Sleeping quarters at the outpost
Derek’s unit at the FOB
They were loading gear to come home from a long deployment to northern Iraq
Green Zone with Iraqi counterparts
Derek and Melissa’s wedding shortly after Derek enlisted in the Army
A little about my Navy career from 1982 through 2002.
When I joined the Navy in 1982 I had no idea what I was getting into but I felt a strong desire to serve my country and carry on the tradition of our family.
I joined the Navy in the summer of 82 and spent most of my career working in Navy fighter and fighter/attack squadrons. It was always fast paced hard work with a little danger and a lot of travel thrown in, but it was an experience I could of never imagined as a youngster growing up in the Midwest. After 20 years of Navy life I decided to call it quits and go see the world! Ha ha. I retired on a hot July evening at the Sunset Bar and Grill on a little Key just north of Key West, Fla. Key West and the surrounding keys was probably my favorite place to hang out and fish. Over the years our fighter squadrons would participate in adversarial ACM or “dog fighting” training or we would help with drug interdiction operations and fly out of a small air base on Boca Chica near Key West. At times, we spent so much time in Key West and Boca Chica, it was like our second home so we became friends with a lot of the locals. I still return to the Keys to do a little fishing on occasion and I probably always will.
We had scheduled a training detachment for the same time I was retiring so we decided to have my retirement ceremony while we were there. I had scheduled a deep sea fishing trip for the next day so about all I was thinking about during the ceremony was getting out in that blue water and dropping a line on a sailfish or bull Mahi Mahi. A Navy retirement is a ceremony full of tradition and can be pretty interesting to see and can be a tear jerker for some. I had to hold back the tears myself. Lisa and my son Derek got to be there with me and we got to hang out and fish in the Keys for a few days after I retired. Retirement Day photos:
This is the exact moment my Navy career on active duty ended. You can see the boatswains mate blowing the boatswains whistle in the background to pipe me ashore. As I walk down the red carpet, that signifies walking down the gangway and going ashore at the end of a career. I think it should be noted that those 6 guys and gals lining the path were some of my best friends in the Navy and we worked side by side through thick and thin. We donated a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the years and we probably spent more time together, away from home than we did with our families.The picture doesn’t show that.
This was the Boatswains mate presenting me with the whistle that retired me. That whistle is encased in my shadow box.
The flag in the shadow box was presented to me at the ceremony. The flag was flown over the USS Arizona and our state capitol before being encased in the shadow box.
This was my squadron skipper. Great guy and we had a lot of fun while he was the squadron Commanding Officer.
Derek with his first military attaboy. He’s gotten several since.
These were some of my co-workers, friends and spouses from our squadron attending the ceremony.
My good friend and master of ceremony, LCDR Rudy Chavez. Rudy and I were distance runners and competed on the same Navy marathon team as well as competing against each other in smaller races.
On my 3rd re-enlistment, a good friend and SEAL Team Commander I met while stationed in San Diego dropped by my F/A-18 squadron in southern Louisiana in his uniform and swore me in for another 4 years. When I left San Diego for La. he had just returned from Operation Desert Storm and received a Silver Star to go with a couple bronze stars. His girlfriend and I were partners on the same coed billiard team so when he was in town we got to hang out and have a few beers. Good guy to have around in a bar while having a few cold drinks and shooting pool for money.
It’s not very often that a Navy SEAL with the ranking of Captain walks through the halls of a fighter squadron in uniform for a re-enlistment ceremony. More than likely a first but I will always be very humbled that he took time out from his busy schedule, got dressed up and flew half way across the country to swear me in for another four year tour. It was one of the proudest moments of my Navy career and something I’ll never forget. It was very small, very personal and private. Although our Navy careers took different paths, it was nice to sit around and have a few beers and talk about where we grew up and few of our adventures. God bless our Navy SEALs.
On my 2nd re-enlistment, my Maintenance Officer and close friend Lieutenant David “Lucky” Lopez swore me in. He and I spent a lot of time fishing just about everywhere we went. We were a close nit group of fishermen in the squadron and Lucky usually provided the entertainment for all of us. I think he spent most of his career getting us out of trouble but he never complained a bit. Lucky passed away as a result of a car accident while we were on a short detachment to an Air Guard base close to Klamath Falls, Ore. He and one of our civilian tech reps had a car accident while they were returning to the base from a fishing trip to one of our favorite trout streams. Lucky was full of life and a great friend. It was very tough on all of us, especially us fishermen in the squadron.
Lucky with a pacific sheepshead he caught while we were on a 2 night charter. My dad is in the background taking a picture of me taking a picture of Lucky. There were 5 of us on this trip and we had a blast. We ate fish, played poker, smoked cigars, drank whiskey at night and fished all day.
This picture was taken when I was leaving my job as the LPO of the Marine Mobile Repair Unit. We worked out of little refrigerated boxes, and we could be mobile and repair electronic equipment on the battlefield at a moment’s notice. The little fella in the foreground was Gunny Sargent Lane presenting me with a framed Barlow knife encased in a wooden box made by my good friend Sargent Wood. Gunny Lane was a former Marine drill instructor and pound for pound, the toughest Marine I’ve ever known. I worked with the Marines a lot during my career and working with the guys and gals in the unit was hard work but a lot of fun.
I really enjoyed competing in Navy sports as well as local civilian sports wherever I was stationed. I competed in military and civilian softball and baseball teams, track and field, distance running, golf teams and leagues, tennis and I’ve competed in billiards tournaments and leagues wherever I traveled while in the Navy. Here are some random pictures of our running teams.
This was my buddy Rob and I after the Blue Angel Marathon in Pensacola, Fla. Feb. 2002. We took first place in the military team branch competition and dethroned the Kansas National Guard team who had owned the competition for years. It was a very happy day for our team. Our team names were put on a trophy that is on display at Naval Station Pensacola.
This was the trophy and our team, minus Rob with the Commanding Officer of NAS Pensacola
This was taken at my last marathon in 2004. This was a team Rob had put together with Rudy and I. I think we took first and this picture was myself, Rudy and Rob with the Commanding Officer of Pensacola presenting us with the award.
Rob and I presenting the NAS Atlanta Commanding Officer with our 1st place finish plaque for his trophy case.
This picture was taken during the anchor leg of the 2000 Atlanta Track Clubs Ekiden Corporate Marathon Challenge. It was the first and last time I’d ever ran a team marathon event. I ran the final leg for team Southern Power. When I took over my leg, Home Depot was leading the challenge. At the end of my leg, I had passed the Home Depot runner and went on to win the race. One of the best races I’ve ever run. I timed my pace perfectly. The picture below is just before the finish line with the Home Depot runner in the background.
My Ekiden teammates
Run the Reagan half marathon in Snelville, Ga. NAS Atlanta Running Team
Pensacola with Rob, Russ, myself, Bruce and Morris clowning in the morning before the race
My first Marathon team, Pensacola in 98. We took 3rd in team competition that year.
This was a few runners and our support crew for the race
I think this was 99. We had 2 teams and team 1 took second with team 2 finishing 4th
Here’s a picture of myself and my teammate Chris with coach Mike Smith during the 2010 Atlanta Falcon Wounded Warrior Project. Coach Smith is a class act and really enoys working with the wounded warriors.
Here’s one I found which is a birds eye view of my day to day job on Aircraft Carriers. We generally worked through the day and into the night, doing this over and over. The crazy thing about working on the flight deck of the carrier is that the whole thing is like a well orchestrated dance that plays out all day long. Everyone knows their place and their job. There are colored lines on the deck that help with where you can go and where you can’t go during flight operations.
This is another video of my workstation aboard the Aircraft Carriers. I was a Final Checker or “Checkered Shirt” aboard ship and I was one of those white shirt guys looking over the aircraft as it rolled into the catapult area. Final Checkers are the last set of eyes to look over the aircraft before it launches. We were trained to look for anything that would keep the aircraft from flying in the form of a catastrophic problem. The pilot was depending on us to see anything that may be a problem and we had about 60-90 seconds to inspect or “Smoke Over” the aircraft while it was rolling into the catapult area. This is a good video to show what that looked like from my perspective. We usually worked a minimum of a 12 hour shift and nothing but this all day and into the night. This video was what we would call a “Dog and Pony Show” for guests like foreign dignitaries, political types and Navy brass. Blow it up to a big screen to get a high definition look.
One of the most impressive capabilities is for a fighter jet to break the sound barrier or perform a high speed flyby. We always got a kick out of that and when we were out at sea we would have small dog and pony shows and one or two of the jets would bust mach for us.
The following video is a great demonstration of what happens when you provoke a Tomcat pilot and RIO. You get Sparrows and Sidewinders up your ass. You gotta love that growl of the heat seeking head on that sidewinder right before he smokes the second mig.