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Abstract Oral history interview of Mr. Ralph Bowdish. Interview conducted by Sara Nazarian at Westminster in Winter Park, Florida on 10/23/2019. Interview topics include, Introduction; Birth and Parent's Occupation; Siblings; Childhood in Amarillo, Texas; Camping in Camp Don Harrington; Effects of Oil Crisis in Texas; Move to Fort Worth, Texas; Father's Occupation at Fort Worth; Failed Attempt at Postsecondary Education; Attempt at avoiding the draft; Father's reaction to avoiding the draft; Enlistment in the Navy Reserves; Boot Camp Experiences in Great Lakes, Michigan; Advanced Training on Treasure island; Assignment on USS Allen M. Sumner DD-692; Failed Promotion/Revoked Security Clearance; Transfer to YR-71; Flight on Air America; Climate Shock in the Philippines; Duties on YR-71; Assignment on USS Henry B. Wilson DDG-7; Decision to leave the Navy; Work at the National Steel and Ship Building; Decision to not complete college education; Reenlistment into the Navy; Mixed up Orders; Report to Navy Yard, Washington DC, Bd. 214; Experience in Diving School; Assignment to Harbor Clearance Unit One; Combat/Diving Rotations; Diving Dinosaurs vs. Scuba Divers; Orders to Greenland and Assignment to USS Florikan ASR-9; Experience on USS Florikan ASR-9; Mixed Gas Diving; Problems Docking Submarines; Stays in Hong Kong; Attempt to be Reassigned to Key Port, Washington; Assignment to Experimental Diving Unit in Washington, DC.; Saturation Diving; Freedoms/Off Base Activities as Member of Experimental Diving Unit; Beryllium Mixed Gas Diving Experiment; Motorcycle Accident/Hospital Patient; Cancelled Orders to Vallejo, California; Assignment to USS Prairie; Duties on USS Prairie; BRAC under Johnson; Pulling out of the Western Pacific; Decommissioning the USS Prairie; Decision to request US station; Proposal to girlfriend during leave; Assignment on USS Tringa; Security Clearances/Personalities Onboard; Dilapidated Condition of USS Tringa; Marriage and Moving; Cross Deck to USS Sunbird; Dilapidated Condition of USS Sunbird; Experience working on the USS Sunbird; Assignment to Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City, Florida; Birth of Eldest Son; Failed Promotion Attempts to Master Diver; Assignment to USS O'Brien in Sardinia; Promotion to Division Chief/Duties; Back to Dive School; Rolling Back One Class; Assignment on USS Holland; Assignment on USS Shenandoah; Diving Accident on USS Shenandoah; Distrust of commissioned officers; Leaving the Navy; Reflections on service; Death, Cancer, and Agent Orange; Pay in the Navy; Conclusion.

Date of Birth



Video; MovingImage

Branch of Service

U.S. Naval Reserve


Nazarian, Sara

Interview Date

Fall 10-23-2019

Location of Interview

Westminster Winter Park, Florida

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

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 & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type