The USS Vulcan AR-5


USS Vulcan AR-5 at James River

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It was right around this time of year when I first saw the Vulcan. My heart had to have been racing with all of the thrill an 18 year old kid could muster…I was going live on this ship. Often times today I can go by a certain kind of equipment-something loud…and it takes me back to hear the sounds of the ship.
The Navy was going to be a chance for me. A new start-a hope to get back on track with my father,and the beginning of my life as a man.

I woke up about four this morning. Every morning I’d wake up and feel the failure and remember what happened and this morning was no different. It is really very strange-even to me…all of these years and that is what I wake up to-the memory of the failure and the regret of how it all went wrong.
I am feeling defeated. Back then I trusted what the USS Vulcan stood for-defending my nation and standing up to do my part for my country and constitution and I was so proud of my uniform .
My brother mutilated my uniforms.
Yes…that was another part of it-my brother. I was given the opportunity to serve with my older brother. What a mistake that was.
In the Bible there are countless stories in the old testament about the relationships of brothers. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery-that because they were jealous of him,and the relationships of sons with their fathers. They all seem like just plain old stories but in reality they mix with the contents of our own lives and become real.
My brother treated me like dirt when I came aboard the Vulcan-as I said,he mutilated all of my uniforms-so I was unable to work in areas of the ship…or stand watch,or stand out in an inspection. Instead I was placed with him in his station…the ships laundry-and was treated like shit.
I did not have the proper pay to replace my uniforms-so I had to wear what I had….my shirts with sleeves cut off of them and the moniker ‘Lil Herron’ over my shirt pockets to identify me as my brothers subject.
It was’nt what I was expecting. I could’nt understand why my brother rejected me-of course,we hardly knew each other…but that was the point.
Somewhere in this catalog of my life I have written about being caught in the snow storm and the way things went from there. I never really considered it that my brother had much to do with my being put into barracks D,but I think he did…maybe to teach me a lesson?
Frank was jealous because the ships education officer was treating me with certain specialty. He had given me some tests and I was qualified for further education to go to school and be given a degree and all I had to do was trade some of my life which was an easy trade because already loved the Navy and this was going to be my world….it still is,but not way I expected it.
I did nothing wrong-so it all goes to show that innocence is not always treated fairly.

I cannot go through it all-again,here…but in these past years one thing has been very certain-I have a hard time with trust. That because it was taken away from me many years ago…shown to be a thing of little value because every time I reach out for it my hands get switched-smacked like the old elementery school teacher used to do when you were’nt behaving well and she’d hit your hands with the edge of a ruler.
I really do not know how to explain myself-I really dont know how to tell you how it has been to live me since those days and nights in barracks D…the lessons of ‘trust’ learnt there have endured from the moment they were given. They will never be pursueded to change-I can see that now.

My recent experiences with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Gainesville have shown me that.
I adjusted. I did life in ways others do not…drank until I could’nt stand up. Did lots of drugs. Tried to act the bad ass,then it all caught up with me and I had a stroke. This whole thing was mine…my past. The events in barracks D had molded the way I live-yet after the stroke things changed around and the other things kicked in (my rattle snake bride-and the Americas Most Wanted incident…) and one day I get asked by the VA clinic if I ever get depressed. Yes…yes yes. That is for certain. The response was medication…drugs. I’m pretty sure that would have been the extent of it all-the treatment…aka pills that make you jolly! But what a slap in the face…should’nt drink to erase your woes. Shoud’nt do drugs to erase your woes. Have woes…take one of these-drugs. Its all the same. By the way…I’m still depressed,its worse now!
I thought I found a place to trust at the VA. I wrote a letter back then to protest the use of the drugs and outlined why I was in the state I’m in…the results of the rapes-the results of seeing my brother Carl go sliding under the wheels of a car…seeing Mr.Hoke blast his brains out….hearing my mother tell me it should have been me and not my brother that died…over and over and over.
There is only one place of trust-this I know,and that is the grave. How I wish I could go there-I wish it had been me in that hearse that carried my baby brother.
The VA responded to me and gave me an island. I was so full of doubt that I would not be able to remain on the island…but I was told that I would be there as long as it takes.
That is not so. So there it is–trust….trust….where art thou trust?
To be honest with you…I thought there was going to be good in this. God how wrong I was!

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10 Responses to “The USS Vulcan AR-5”

  1. Megan Says:

    Did you ever talk to father?

  2. Megan Says:

    Did you ever talk to father?

  3. Megan Says:

    Dad’s really excited… The Phillies are doing wonderful. I told him we have an Angel (Pop) in the Outfield who wants the Phillies to win more than anything. Montgomery County actually declared today Phillies Day and everyone is supposed to wear Red or Phillies stuff! Wooo!

  4. ron abrams Says:

    when i first seen the vulcan i wondered how long it could keep afloat,then a chief told me it was dry docked on coffee grounds. i was alright after that. abrams 1956–1959 bt 3..

  5. jayherron Says:

    Ron Abrams-when I went out to sea on my only voyage the ship cracked its hull and we made way to Gauntamino Bay…there we sat until they repaired the repair ship.
    Glad you added your experience!
    coffee grounds??…no wonder the coffee was so bad!

  6. Mark L Montoy Says:

    I have a simaler story i had to fight the entire time i was on the uss vulcan and i think i should be compensated.
    i had done very well in the navy until i got on bourd the uss dixie and the uss vulcan where i was threatened with hazing.

  7. setu samundram Says:

    setu samundram…

    […]The USS Vulcan AR-5 « a males life after rape[…]…

  8. BJensen Says:

    Vulcan was the first US ship to bring females on board as part of the actual crew. Our arrival at Rota, Spain in ’79 was met with the waving of pink scarfs and a big sign that read… “Welcome Love Boat!”… and another sign… “Lots of luck, you’re gonna need it”… courtesy of the Shenandoah crew during turnover.

    I forget when the N. Atlantic cruise was but we holed up in a Norwegian fjord so our divers could patch the hull after going thru some rough weather. I managed to get a couple pics of our welders on the boat deck making repairs to tie downs that broke loose and almost lost a forklift.

  9. john Says:

    I was on the vulcan from 80-84.saw some really bad hazing to others.Mark Montoy, were you the one that sold a susuki 400 in boston?Jensen, that north atlantic cruise was my first on the vulcan.jay herron,when was you on board? your name sounds familiar.you guys,look me up on facebook if ya want.

  10. john Says:

    my name is john sheridan

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