Oral History interview of Robert Andry. Interview conducted by Dull, Joshua at Lake Buena Vista, FL.
0:32 Birthplace; 0:42 Childhood; 1:12 Father; 2:11 International Experience; 4:03 Joining the Navy, Purdue University; 5:57 Basic Training; 6:51 Communications Technician School; 8:21 Deck Seaman In Guam; 8:45 USS Cimarron (AO-22); 9:30 Becoming an Electronics Technician; 11:06 Getting Married, Reenlisting; 12:41 USNS Observation Island (T-AGM-23); 14:45 Instrumentation Duty, Missile Testing; 17:58 UGM-27 Polaris Project; 21:04 Cold War Deterrence; 22:40 Missile Accident; 26:43 Another Missile Accident; 27:39 Operational Testing; 32:15 Civilian Interactions; 33:26 Cape Canaveral, Saturn V Rocket; 35:00 Operational Testing Group, Transfer; 38:54 Missile Assembly Facility; 39:40 Missile Testing; 41:22 Security Alerts; 42:26 Cuban Missile Crisis; 44:10 Retirement, Building a Home; 44:49 Life Today, Engineering; 46:51 Advice to Those Wanting to Join; 48:18 Interstate Electronic Vans; 53:30 Transit Tracking System; 55:19 End of Interview.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
White - Non Hispanic
War or Conflict
Begin/End date of Service - 1st
Entrance into Service
Branch of Service
Unit of Service
Jan. 1955 Navy Reserves, Indianapolis, Ind. Feb 1956 Active Duty. March 1956, CT School, Imperial Beach, Calif. Sep. 1956 USS AFDM-8 Medium Floating Dry Dock, Guam. May 1958 USS AO-22 Long Beach, Calif. Aug 1959 EAG-154 Polaris/ Poseidon Experimental Test Ship, Cape Canaveral, Fla. July 1963 NOTU Polaris/ Poseidon Navel Ordinance Test Unit, Cape Canaveral, Fla. Nov. 1965 NOTU Polaris Operational Test Unit, Cape Canaveral, Fla. Feb 1970 Back to AG-i54 Poseidon Test Ship, Cape Canaveral, Fla. August 1971 POMFLANT Missile Assembly Facility, Charleston, South Carolina. June 1975 Released to Fleet Reserves (retired).
Location of Service
Indianapolis (Ind.); Imperial Beach (Calif.); Guam; Long Beach (Calif.); Cape Canaveral (Fla.); Charleston (S. C.)
Prisoner of War
Service Related Injury
Good Conduct Medal Navy Unit Commendation
"My daughter asked me to write about my navy experience so my grandkids would know what I did in the navy. This is it! My Navy Times. By Bob Andry. Why and When the Navy. In 1954 I was a junior in high school and looking forward to my eighteenth birthday. The Korean war was still not settled and the talking heads on black and white TV were talking about the USSR and the cold war. I had hoped to go to Purdue U and become an electrical engineer. Since the draft was still active then, I didn't want to turn eighteen and get drafted into the army during my senior year in high school, which had happened to some young men. Several of my buddies and I talked it over and decided that before our eighteenth birthday we would go to Indianapolis and join the navy reserve. The navy men, at least, had some where to sleep other than a mud hole and usually had pretty good chow. The navy also had some pretty good technical schools. In January of 1955, just prior to my February eighth birthday, I joined up... The navy reserves (USNR) go to a two week boot camp (basic training) rather than the eight week one the regular USN guys have to endure, I did mine in the summer of 1955 after graduation from High School. That fall I was off to Purdue on my great adventure into real life. My stay at Purdue was a lot shorter than I had planned. In my first day in English Composition class we were informed we were to write a short one page composition for each class except on Friday. Friday's composition was to be four pages long and a total of four spelling and/or punctuation errors on any composition was an automatic 'F'. I was doomed! I couldn't spell then and I still can't and there was no spell check then, everything was long hand with paper and pen. I got 'A' over 'F' on all my papers. 'A' for content and 'F' for (you guessed it) spelling and punctuation. By the end of the first semester I was on scholastic probation. My other classes grades were OK except for chemistry. The class and lab grades were good but I could never seem to memorize the complete periodic table of elements with all the valence numbers. This was one of the tasks the professor had laid on us, so as a result I squeaked by with a 'C'. When I had gone to Purdue I had transferred from the Indianapolis navy reserve unit to one at Purdue. The one at Purdue was a security unit (whatever that was) and I needed a security clearance. The next thing I knew I was receiving questions from folks I knew wanting to know what I was up to because the FBI was nosing around my past. I must have been a good boy because my Top Secret clearance came through and I attended USNR meetings once a week while at school. As the end of the first semester drew near, I knew I was not to become a Double E, at least not at Purdue. So I announced my intentions to my parents who were not too happy with my decision and requested from my USNR unit commander that I be transferred to active duty. Communication Technician (CT) School. The CO of the Purdue USNR unit had asked me what I would like to strike for (what navy trade to learn) and if I would like to go to a navy school. I had told him I would like to do something with electronics. He secured a slot for me in a quota at CTR school. After a train ride to Norfolk Naval Receiving station and a plane ride to San Diego I arrived at Naval Communications School, San Diego, Calif. which was actually south of San Diego at Imperial Beach. Now up to this time I still didn't know exactly C.T.s did. I was about to find out! C.T.s are the Navy's equivalent of CIA's electronic spies. There are three main branches of C.T.s: CTAs which are the clerical types, CTMs which are the equipment repair types and CTRs which are sort of like the navy's radiomen who send and receive radio messages (Morse code, fax, etc.). It took a while for me to learn this and while I was getting up to speed on what a CT was I was learning to receive and type Morse code up to thirty words a minute... There was a short break in my education while I went to Balboa Naval Hospital and had my eyes operated on. It seems that I had double vision all my life and no one had discovered this. The constant close work in the navy school had caused the situation to become acute enough to be noticeable. No wonder that my scoring was lousy while I was in high school playing basketball. I was always shooting at the wrong basket. The next step after a CTR can copy code at thirty words a minute…" – The Veteran.
20 years good conduct; Unit commendation for first Polaris firing at sea.
City of Birth
Country of Birth
Location of Interview
Lake Buena Vista, FL.
Andry, Robert B.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Navy
Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
Contributor Affiliation / Organization
RICHES; University of Central Florida
Length of Interview
Department of History, University of Central Florida
All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/
University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UCF Community Veterans History Project
Central Florida, RICHES, "Andry, Robert B. interview" (2017). Veterans Oral Histories. 482.