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Rank insignia for a U. S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer

My Military Biography:

USS Oklahoma City CLG5
Rank insignia for a U. S. Navy Lieutenant Commander

On 26 August 1994 a ceremony was held aboard the USS Nautilus SSN-571 (The worlds first nuclear powered submarine) at the Naval Submarine Base, New London, CT, celebrating my 28 plus year career in the U. S, Navy. Below is the biography that was included in the ceremony's program.

Lieutenant Commander Thurman "Ray" Plumlee, United States Navy

Lieutenant Commander Plumlee enlisted in the Navy on April 26, 1966 at Portland Oregon. After completing Recruit training at San Diego, CA he reported to his first ship the WW II vintage cruiser, USS Oklahoma City CLG-5, home ported in Yokosuka, Japan.

In January 1967 the Oklahoma City was relieved as the Flag Ship for Commander U.S. Seventh Fleet by the USS Providence CLG-6. He then "cross decked" to the Providence. In December 1968 the Providence returned to San Diego, after participating in seven campaigns in Vietnam, where it became the Flag Ship for Commander U.S. Third Fleet.

While aboard the Providence Commander Plumlee attended Interior Communications Electrician "A" school, and specialized schools for both the Mark 19 Gyroscope and the Automatic Electric Co. telephone switching system.

In April 1971 he was transferred to the USS Norton Sound AVM-1, home ported in Port Hueneme, CA. During this tour he participated in the "Snorten Norton's" only deployment. The Norton Sound deployed to the French Atoll's in the south pacific to observe an "A" bomb test. All he could say was, "it was spectacular".

In October 1972, a once-in-a-career "good deal" happened when he was transferred to the U.S. Naval Communications Station, Japan. The Navy booked first class passage for him and his family aboard the cruise liner SS President Cleveland for a cruise to his new duty station from San Pedro CA via Honolulu. The old sailor said "it was great to be a passenger"

Commander Plumlee then served aboard the USS Goldsborough DDG-20, home ported in Pearl Harbor, HA. From the Goldsborough he volunteered for Submarine duty and in April 1978 was transferred to the USS John Marshall SSBN-611 (Gold) where, during his first deterrent patrol he earned his silver dolphins signifying his qualification in Submarines. During his second patrol the ship fired three Polaris missiles on his birthday, giving him big candles that did not fit on his cake. To complete this tour he was selected for the Limited Duty Officer Program and on 2 April 1979 he was commissioned an Ensign.

Commander Plumlee then reported to USS Los Alamos AFDB-7, in Holy Loch, Scotland, serving as the Docking Officer.

In July 1981 he reported to the pre-commissioning crew of the USS Mckee AS-41 as the Hull Repair Officer. After the McKee was commissioned he became a coveted "Plank Owner."

In May 1983 he reported to the USS. Holland AS-32 home ported in Charleston, SC as the Main Propulsion Assistant. During this tour he made his first "ditch-to-ditch" around the world cruise via the Suez and the Panama Canals. This cruise included three months in Diego Garcia with the Holland tending ships of the U.S. Middle Eastern Force. Culminating this cruise he earned his gold Surface Warfare Officer pin.

In November 1984 he reported to Trident Refit Facility, Bangor WA (God's country), where he served first as the Waterfront Services Officer and Docking Officer and then as the Hull Repair Officer.

Commander Plumlee then reported in April 1988 to the USS Emory S. Land AS-39 home ported in Norfolk, VA as the Chief Engineering Officer. During this assignment he again made a "ditch-to-ditch" around the world cruise via the Suez and Panama Canals.

In October 1989 he reported to the USS Simon Lake AS-33, home ported in Holy Loch, Scotland, serving as the Submarine Refit Site One Boat Operations Officer for all small boats and yard craft.

In October 1991 he was assigned to the Staff of the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Under Sea Warfare at the Pentagon in Washington DC. He served as the Head of Training for Hull, Mechanical, Electrical and Diver Training Requirements.

Finally, in November 1992 he reported to his last duty station at the Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton CT where he served as Division Officer of the Environmental Compliance Division.

In addition to the Surface Warfare Officer Breast insignia, Enlisted Submarine Dolphins, and the Submarine Deterrent Pin, Commander Plumlee has been awarded the Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation (2 awards), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4 awards), Overseas Service Ribbon, Navy "E" Ribbon (2 awards), Vietnam Service Medal (7 campaigns), Good Conduct Medal (5 awards), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with device (1960-), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2 awards: Korea, Persian Gulf), Combat Action Ribbon, RVN Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross), and Expert Marksman Ribbon (Pistol).

Commander Plumlee feels a point of interest for his more than 28 year career was when he first crossed the equator in November 1966 becoming a "Shell Back". He has re-crossed the equator twelve more times on seven of his ships. Aboard the Goldsborough he became a "Tri-fold Shell Back" by crossing the equator three times in one cruise. He had brother duty aboard the Providence where "Shell Back" Plumlee took "Polly Wog" Plumlee across the line.

To begin retirement Commander Plumlee will attend college, until he figures out what he is going to do, now that he has grown up. He will reside at 1508 E. Main St., Emmett Idaho 83617.