American Legion Spotlight

Charles M. “Mike” Ryman

Military service: I served in the U.S. Navy from July 1965 until October 1968. I was a RM3 aboard the USS Venture (MSO-496), an ocean-going minesweeper sent to various places that I am still not supposed to talk about due to my knowledge classification.

I was sent to the Venture, if memory serves me right, in early 1966 to serve as a radioman until October 1968. I was one of five radiomen aboard but the only one who didn’t get seasick, which wasn’t as good as it sounds since it meant I was on watch a lot, sometimes for hours on end due to the other radiomen lying sick in their cots. Our duties included communicating with other ships, shore stations, etc. Communicating was by Morse Code mostly, but also voice and teletype. Out of five ships in our division and approximately 30 radiomen in all, I was awarded a gold-plated Morse Code speed key for being the fastest Morse Code operator in the division. Unfortunately, my award was stolen from my locker in our bunk area 20 days before my discharge. I also earned various medals and honors during my military service.

Life was good aboard our ship – good comradery, good food, etc. We were a test ship of sorts, in dry dock in Portsmouth, Virg., at one time undergoing some physical changes on the ship’s propulsion systems because of ships in our class being blown up in Vietnam due to prop vibrations causing mines to detonate.

After military service: After my military service, I worked in tool and die for a short time, was a police officer for 24 years, worked in conversions for Santa Fe Vans, and in sales for Renegade in Bristol.