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Oral History interview of John Byron. Interview conducted by Mersch, Catherine and Tuthill, Michael at University of Central Florida Library in Orlando.


0:01 Introduction; 0:30 Birth and childhood; 2:26 Parents Occupation; 5:10 Family Members in the Military; 6:38 Age when enlisted/ Reason for enlistment; 10:52 Boot Camp/ Great Lakes; 13:00 General Classification Test; 16:08 Memorable day at Boot Camp; 17:10 Fleet Sonar School at Key West; 20:00 SOSUS; 23:00 Other Service Locations; 25:55 Service in Vietnam; 28:00 Memorable experience at the University of Washington; 28:30 Missile Patrols; 29:16 Last Spec opp made by a diesel Submarine; 29:51 Life on a Submarine; 31:20 Reviewing The Hunt for Red October; 35:15 Attitude of Sailors on a Submarine; 38:40 Submarine training; 40:45 Promotion; 41:36 Specialized Submarine training; 46:50 National War College; 52:04 Being Faculty at the National War College; 54:05 University of Washington NESEP; 58:38 Writing for the Naval Institute; 1:02:23 Naval Ordinance Testing Unit; 1:10:00 Medals and Awards; 1:11:00 Looking for Job after Military Service; 1:13:24 On assignment in Brazil; 1:18:00 Board of Cocoa Beach; 1:19:00 Naval Submarine League and other memberships; 1:24:53 Lasting Lessons from Navy.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Omaha (Neb.)




White - Non Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

Cold War Era



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Navy

Location of Service

Key West (Fla.); Vietnam; Seattle (Wash.); Brazil; Cocoa Beach (Fla.)

Highest Rank

Chief Petty Officer; CPO; E-7; Captain; Capt

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury





Legion of Merit


See video for details.


Retired as Captain (& former Chief Sonarman) in 1993 with 37 years continuous active duty. Qualified in Submarines & Surface Warfare; served in cruiser (plankowner) & 5 submarines. Shore assignments in program management, officer personnel, SOSUS, & Secretary of Navy staff. Commanding Officer, Naval Ordnance Test Unit, Cape Canaveral (1990-1993). Director of Navy Tests for the Eastern Range - 52 successful Trident missile launches. Faculty, Department of Military Strategy, The National War College (1988-1990). Commanding Officer, USS GUDGEON SS-567 (1979-1981). 11 squadron, type commander, & Navy-wide unit awards. Author of about 100 articles & essays for Navy's professional journal, US Naval Institute Proceedings. 1983 and 1992: Proceedings Writer of the Year. Prize-winning essays in US Naval Institute's Arleigh Burke Essay Contest (1998, 2002, 2004, 2005) & Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategic Essay Contest (1982- later published in Proceedings). Awarded Legions of Merit three times.

City of Birth


Country of Birth

United States


Mersch, Catherine; Tuthill, Michael

Interview Date


Location of Interview

University of Central Florida Library in Orlando


Byron, John; Cold War -- Personal Narratives; United States. Navy

Collection Description

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


Mersch, Catherine; Tuthill, Michael

Length of Interview

95 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida


Video; MovingImage


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

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type