On November the 10th 1938, in the small farming town of Bassfield, Mississippi at 3PM, Leon and Avie White became the parents of a baby boy they named Ralph Duel White. Ralph grew up on the family farm, hard work with little money to show for it. However, it was a good life with lots of fond memories.
Ralph started grade school at Hawthorn elementary school where he had a red headed third grade teacher named Ms. Ruth Barns. Some how Ralph managed to get through that year and the rest of school. He graduated from Bassfield High School in 1957, a middle of the pack student.
After HS, not wanting to stay on the farm and not wanting college, Ralph joined the Navy in July 1957. Boot camp in Great Lakes, IL. MM A-School then to the USS Independence CVA-62 for 1 year. He began submarine school in Jan. 1959. After sub school, Ralph reported aboard USS Rasher in San Diego California. He made one West Pack run where he spent most of the run getting qualified while the boat was in the Bearing Straits. (What a miserable two months that was!) The boat pulled back into Mare Island Shipyard in January 1960. The next day the Captain gave Ralph his Dolphins and promoted him to MM3(SS) and a set of orders to New Construction USS Theodore Roosevelt. SSBN 600 in Mare Island Shipyard in Vallejo, California. Ralph stayed on this submarine for 4 patrols in A-Division.
Ralph met Joyce Samick, the daughter of Leo and Agnes Samick of St. Mary’s Pennylvania in July of 1961. After two years of dating they were married on 20th July 1963.
On the 29th of July, 1963 Ralph and Joyce reported aboard the USS John C. Calhoun, SSBN-630, Gold Crew as an MM2(SS). Through the new construction,shakedown and 4 patrols on Calhoun we had a great tour of duty. Joyce and Ralph were blessed with two daughters Marjorie in June 1964 and Susan in May 1966 while on board the Calhoun. In Sept. 1965 Ralph was promoted to MM1 (SS).
In May 1967 Ralph was transferred to reserve training instructor in San Francisco, California. In April, 1968 Ralph was promoted to MMC(SS). Joyce and Ralph stayed in SF for two years then came back east to the USS James K. Polk SSBN-645 in New London,CT. In Nov. 1971 Ralph was promoted to MMCS(SS). Ralph made 3 patrols on Polk then took her into the yards in Newport News,Virginia. While in the shipyard Ralph received orders to pre-commissioning crew USS Los Angles SSN-688.
On May 1 1973 Ralph reported aboard Los Angles. In Sept. 1974 Ralph was promoted to MMCM(SS) then in Jan. 1975 was given the job of COB. Ralph was the first official COB in the Navy. He was the first with the COB job code number.
In June 1977, after 20 years in the Navy, Ralph was tired of making his own bed and retired from active duty.
Ralph went to work for Riverside Hospital in Gloucester VA, as Director of Maintenance. In Jan. 1978 Ralph started to college taking two of three courses a semester two or three nights a week. In 1986 his oldest daughter, Marjorie graduated from William & Mary and he from Thomas Nelson College.
After 25 years at Riverside Hospital, Ralph retired in Dec. 2001. He feels very lucky to have had two great jobs in life.
Joyce and Ralph are now enjoying retirement. They are doing a lot of traveling, working in the garden, fishing and catching up on reading.
Ralph is a volunteer in the Rescue Squad (drives the ambulance) one or two days a week.
LIFE IS GOOD!