William L. Smith, ETR2(SS)
I was born September 1943, the second son of Clarence and Anna Smith. After growing up in and around Knoxville, Tennessee, I joined the Navy in June 1962 following high school graduation. After processing and being sworn in at Nashville, I was sent to NTC San Diego to undergo recruit training. After boot camp, I was assigned to ET “A” school at Treasure Island Naval Station, San Francisco, CA. Following “A” school, I received orders to Submarine School at New London, CT. Enroute to Sub School, I took leave and married my high school sweetheart, Brenda Farmer. Brenda and I have been married ever since. We have one daughter, Tracy, who was born in 1966, at the old Navy Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. Tracy is married to Chuck Stansberry. The live in Knoxville and have two fine sons; Charlie and William.
My seven and a half Navy years can really be summed up in just a few brief lines:
Jun 1962 – Jul 1963 Electronics “A” School at Treasure Island
Aug 1963 – Oct 1963 – Basic Submarine School, New London, CT
Oct 1963 – May 1964 – USS TRUMPETFISH (SS 425)
May 1964 – Oct 1964 – Nuclear Power School, Mare Island, Vallejo, CA
Nov 1964 – May 1965 – Nuclear Prototype Training, NPTU Idaho Falls, ID
I reported to USS JOHN C. CALHOUN (SSBN 630) Blue crew in July 1965. After making 8 patrols on CALHOUN from 1965 – 1969, I was part of a combined crew of Blue and Gold that took the CALHOUN from Charleston, via the Panama Canal, to Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA. I was then transferred to USS BARRACUDA (SST 3) for the remaining 6 months of my service and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in January 1970 after 7 1/2 years.
My hobbies include by two grandsons, photography, genealogy, wood butchery, tinkering (with this, that, and occasionally the other thing), and of course, telling sea stories.
My number one goal in life, after my discharge from the Navy and submarine service, was to spend every night sleeping in my own house, in my own bed. While I’ve not been totally successful in meeting that goal, (into every life a little travel must happen), my success rate over the last 34 years is very nearly 99%. I also vowed that I would “work to live” not “live to work”. I’ve turned away from several opportunities because of that vow and I do not regret my choices.
As for working to live, in March 1970, i went to work for Litton Automated Business Systems as a digital computer service technician based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The work was interesting, challenging, and on the cutting edge of technology but in required too much travel and too many 12+ hour days.
In March 1973, I left Litton ARS, and went to work for St. Mary’s Medical Center, as an electronics technician. The title was later changed to Biomedical Electronics Technician, and later still to Biomedical Equipment Technician. In this capacity, I performed preventative and corrective maintenance on all types of electronic and electromechanical medical patient monitoring equipment, such as; heart monitors, EKG machines, defibrillators, IV pumps, laboratory analysis equipment, x-ray equipment, etc.. Once again the work was interesting and challenging but it became a rut. Remember, the major difference between a rut and a grave are the length and the depth, and the fact that you can climb out of one but not the other.
While working at St. Mary’s Medical Center, I began attending night school at the State Technical Institute in Knoxville in September of 1976. I graduated with an Associates degree in Electronics Engineering Technology in June 1979.
In June 1980, I went to work for Hewlett Packard Company, Medical Products Group, as a Field Service Customer Engineer. Based in Knoxville, I was responsible for for the installation and maintenance of HP equipment in the East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, and Southwest Virginia areas. I essentially continued to perform the same kinds of electronics and electromechanical service work that I did at St. Mary’s Medical Center, but specific to Hewlett Packard brand of monitoring equipment. On November 1, 1999, the Hewlett Packard Company divided itself into two companies; the “new” HP and Agilent Technologies. The Medical Products Group became part of the Agilent Technologies as the “Health Solutions Group”. In March 2003, I retired from Philips Medical Systems, which had purchased the Health Solutions Group from Agilent in July 2001.
Brenda and I attend Churchwell Avenue Baptist Church in Knoxville. I’m a member of Bright Hope Lodge #557, Free and Accepted Masons in Knoxville, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Valley of Knoxville, Orient of Tennessee, and Kerbela Shrine Temple A.A.O.N.M.S. of Knoxville, Tennessee; and of course, editor of the Ditty Bag for the JOHN C. CALHOUN Veterans Association.