Instructor Duty, Electronics B School, T.I., San Fran, CA

By: Old Blue Jacket

Navy Schools Command
Electronics Technician Class “B” School
Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA

October 1969 - July 1973

Upon graduation from ET-B School, I received orders to remain at NAVSCOLCOM Treasure Island and become an instructor at the same school I just graduated from. I first had to attend a 4 week Instructor Training Course in San Diego, which I graduated second. I then spent the next 4 years teaching advanced electronics theory at ET “B” School. It was probably the most rewarding tour of my 22 years in the Navy.


IT School Graduation Class - Dec. 1969. I’m in the third row, second from the left.

We moved from an apartment in Oakland into Navy quarters on Treasure Island. We got into a brand new two-story three bedroom townhouse-style (end unit) home. Later, we bought a 20-ft motor home and a 21-ft boat and did a lot of camping and fishing those next 6 years. We would launch the boat right there on the island and troll for striped bass in the bay.

In 1972, I made Chief Petty Officer (my second attempt). After taking that rating exam, I knew I had made it, I just didn’t know where I would be on the list. The questions they had selected for this exam were right out of our test bank at ET “B” School! And I had written many of them!

These pictures (below) were taken at my CPO initiation. You may be wondering why I am holding a car bumper. One of the trumped up charges against me was that I had prematurely placed an E7 sticker on my car bumper. When appearing before the judge, and after hearing the charge, I denied the charge. Well, they walked in with the front bumper of my car with the sticker on it! Some of the other charges against me was that I had propped open the door to the restroom while my division head and another chief were using the urinals. Also, I disassembled one of the chief’s hats, throwing some parts in the trash and hiding the others. I figured that I might as well get my digs in prior to the initiation. I ended up paying for it though! Also, notice that I am wearing a wading hip boot on one leg. The spectators used this to dispense their stale beer or other liquid refreshments in. When it was fairly full, I had to go out on the stage and do a somersault and therefore drenching myself. It was a lot of fun.


My Chief Initiation At The TI CPO Club


CPO Initiation. Behind Me Is My Boss (And Defense Council) ETC Curtis.

During my CPO initiation, my defense counsel was my boss, ETC R. Curtis. I still remember a funny incident that occurred with Curtis, while I was working for him on the curriculum development & improvement team. We had an old mustang Lt. LDO (Lt. Leggitt, I believe his name was) as the Officer-In-Charge who could talk for long periods of time (and not really say anything) and you couldn’t get a word in edgewise. On one particular morning, Curtis arrived to work with a terrible hang-over. You guessed it, the LT decided to telephone Curtis for a status report or something. Curtis answered the phone, and sat there with the phone about a foot from his throbbing head, stopping on occasion to say “yes sir” into the phone. The LT kept rattling’ on, as usual, and Curtis was fidgeting’ around in his chair in real pain with his hang-over. He would hold the phone out, a couple feet from his body, so we could hear the rambling’. He would lay the phone on his desk and lean back in his chair, all the while the LT was continually rambling along. Then, Curtis opened a desk drawer and put the phone in the drawer and closed it, got up from his chair and gingerly walked over to the coffee machine and poured himself a cup of coffee, slowly adding his usual condiments. Then, he gingerly walked back over to his desk, sat down, took a few sips of coffee, and then opened the drawer. Then, I swear to God, that he timed it just perfectly as he picked up the phone, the LT had just concluded the conversation and Curtis said “yes sir” and hung up! It was a wonder that the LT never heard us in the background because we were rolling on the floor laughing our guts out! Later on, while a new CWO2 on the USS Chicago, I heard Curtis was now a ETCM and the ET Detailer in Washington D.C.. So, I decided to call him up one day to just shoot the breeze. Sometime during the conversation, I complained that I only had one ET1 in my division and billets for four. Well, you might know it, a few weeks later I had ET1’s coming out of my ears! I think I ended up with five or six ET1’s in total.

Curtis, myself, another ETB Chief used to work part-time as Bingo Callers at the CPO Club each week. We would have drinks lined up, 6-8 deep, on our table provided free from many of the little old ladies playing Bingo. I had trouble driving home on many of those nights, it’s a wonder I never hit anything. I did park the car in a few weird places though. I usually wasn’t in very good shape the next day either.


Morning Muster In Front Of Electronics “B” School - From Two Angles

We used to do a lot of crazy stuff during my tour at “B” School. A couple of us instructors, while getting a cup of coffee in the coffee mess, would make up some outlandish rumor and casually discuss it out loud. Then, we would wait and see how fast it would spread throughout the students in school, which amazed us at times on how fast it would spread. We had a lot of fun with this until the Master Chief caught on and told us to knock it off. Another funny story (that I had completely forgot about) was just recently passed onto me by ETCS E. Sedlacek: I had you for an instructor while at ETB School 1971-72. Remember right after you had your vasectomy, one class tried to nail you with rolls of toilet paper! Well, shipmate, I was a part of that fine class, and you know, we never ever meant to hit you in the crotch!! The reason I forgot about it was probably because that was a miserable time for me - physically anyway. I went through a real sore rehab period after I had that vasectomy (from an almost-a-doctor newbie at the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital). I had trouble walking up the stairs to my classroom because it hurt so bad. Then, to add insult to injury, when I went in for a test a month or two later, I found out that it grew back! And, I had to have it done again! From what I went through, another fellow instructor, who had been contemplating having the operation, changed his mind!

For our weekly physical fitness training, we would have beer softball games - usually playing one of the classes. I remember Chief Jones, playing second base, with a quart pitcher (as a beer mug) set down near the second base bag, so he could take a swig whenever he needed.

During GMT (General Military Training) periods, we were supposed to be showing military training type movies in the classrooms. This one Chief, on occasion, would walk by the classrooms and peer into the classroom, via a small window in the door, to check that there was a military training film showing on the movie screen (at the front of the classroom). But, because it was very dark in the classroom, he never did notice that the class was turned around and watching a 8mm porno film on the back wall!

At Christmas time, it was one Christmas Party after another. I remember wearing out my father, who was visiting us over the Christmas holidays. He was a pretty good partygoer in his own day, but he hadn’t seen anything like the slew of parties we had. Of course, one of the parties had to be at our home.

Just after Christmas, in 1969, I remember late at night racing across the base, onto the bay bridge and down the Nimitz freeway on our way to the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital because my wife was going into labor. I must have been doing 60-70mph across the base and close to 100 going down the freeway - it’s a wonder I wasn’t stopped. I pulled up to the emergency entrance and they took my wife inside. I quickly got her checked in, went up to the floor where she was at, and the doctor came up to me and asked “do you want to be in the delivery room and watch the delivery?” I said “no thanks, that’s what that waiting room was built for and I’ll be right in there.” Then, I just barely got sat down, when the doctor came into the waiting room and said “congratulations, your wife just had a baby girl!” I almost passed out!


Family Photo - December 1972

During my Instructor and ADCOP tours, I worked at three different part-time jobs, to make some spending money. I worked as a movie projectionist at the Basilone (base) theater, bingo caller at the CPO club, and parking cars at a parking garage downtown San Francisco. From the movie projectionist job, I still see those dots (which signals the end of the reel and prompting to change-over projectors), in the upper right hand corner, of a movie.

Myself and a couple other shipmates, after obtaining a First Class FCC License (with a radar endorsement) worked on the radar on the Special Services charter fishing boat. For this, we were paid in free Salmon fishing trips. One memorable fishing trip on this boat sticks in my mind, mainly due to this one Chief. His name was Chief Jones (his first name was Bob, I believe) and he was an unconsciously lucky individual - if there was a contest, he usually won. On these trips, we ran two pools - one for the first fish and one for the biggest fish. Sure enough Chief Jones had the biggest fish and it looked like he was going to win at least one of these pools. Well, we couldn’t let that happen! So, we took the next biggest fish, which not only weighed about 3-pounds less, but even physically looked smaller, and stuffed a couple 3-inch diameter 3-pound fishing sinkers down it’s throat. When Chief Jones went to collect his pool, we said “not so fast, Chief!” We stated that an official weighing was necessary before paying off. He raised quite a ruckus, because physically there was no contest, but relented. When we weighed the two fish, of course our fish weighed a pound or so more. Chief Jones was incredulous and couldn’t believe it! After awhile, upon a close inspection he finally discovered the sinkers and we had to pay him. We all got a good laugh out of it, including Chief Jones.

Here are some later photos of Treasure Island.


Treasure Island - Our on base housing quarters, 1214 Bayside Drive, (red arrow)


The old ET”A” School classrooms.


Building One - Treasure Island, Inside Main Gate


Aerial view of east side of Treasure Island and navy Pier.


Aerial view of Treasure Island Naval Base with San Francisco in the background.

A Blimp view of Treasure Island Naval Base. The two spoke buildings are the Enlisted barracks. I believe the old ET”B” School buildings were located just left of where the baseball

diamond and large grassy area is now located.


Another blimp view of Treasure Island Naval base

Treasure Island Marina - I used to work on the radar of the Special Services Charter Fishing

Boat moored here, which I was paid in free Salmon fishing trips.


I believe this is the old Buttercup & DC Schools


Navy Exchange Complex


Bowling Alley


View of Bay Bridge & San Francisco out the window of the CPO Club.

More photos of Treasure Island - taken after base closure


Photo courtesy of EW1 Rich Cunningham


Photo courtesy of EW1 Rich Cunningham


Photo courtesy of EW1 Rich Cunningham


Photo courtesy of EW1 Rich Cunningham


Photo courtesy of EW1 Rich Cunningham


Photo courtesy of EW1 Rich Cunningham


Photo courtesy of EW1 Rich Cunningham


Photo courtesy of EW1 Rich Cunningham


Photo courtesy of EW1 Rich Cunningham

Thanks Rich - great photos!

More photos of Treasure Island. These photos are provided courtesy of Danny Farrow, who took these photos while attending ET “A” School from Jan to Oct 1966.


ET “A” School. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


Navy Exchange complex. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


ET “A” School Radar Section. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


Basilone Theater. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


ET “A” School. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


ET “A” School and Navy Exchange. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


RD “A” School. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


BOQ. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


Bank of America branch. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


Laundry and Dry Cleaning. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


Mess Hall. Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow


Photo courtesy of Danny Farrow

Thanks Danny - excellent photos of TI in the mid-60s!

Treasure Island 1950-51
Photos taken by George R. Larson USN Ret., instructor at TINS EMS School 1950-1951. Photos are provided courtesy of his son, Kevin Larson.


Company Street


Company Street


Building 28


Barracks 20 - EMS


Brig (1951)


Map of the World - From 1938-1940 World Expo


Map of the World (1938-1940 World Expo) with RDA School in Background


Looking Down Avenue H


LST (foreground) and old MSTS ship moored


USS Colahan DD-658


USS Thomas F. Nickel DE-587


Sunset over Building 28 and Golden Gate


Barracks Life (Barracks 24)

Thanks Kevin - for sharing your father’s great photos of TI in 1950-51!

TREASURE ISLAND TODAY

Slide Show of photos that I took on Treaure Island Aug. 3, 2007.

If you lived on Treasure Island, or were stationed on Treasure Island, you may want to read this article.

Navy Subcontractor Breaks Silence About Treasure Island Radiation

ET”B” School Classes


Photo courtesy of Sabahattin Sertcetin, Turkish Navy (Front Row: Second from left)

History Of Treasure Island

Yerba Buena Island, in contrast with Treasure Island, is a natural island. In 1775, the Spanish entered San Francisco Bay. They gave the Island the name Yerba Buena. Yerba Buena is Spanish for “Good Herb” and was reportedly given to the Island for the wild mint that grew there in abundance and was used by Spaniards to flavor their tea. Yerba Buena Island was also known as Wood Island, Bird Island, and most popularly, Goat Island, its official name from 1895 to 1931. The name came from the herds of goats raised there for food from about 1850 to 1931, when the name was officially changed back to Yerba Buena Island.

Golden Gate International Exposition. In 1935, the residents of the City of San Francisco decided that the City should hold a “Fair” to celebrate the engineering of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco and Oakland Bay Bridge, as well as to celebrate the ascendancy of California and San Francisco as an economic, political and cultural force in the increasingly important Pacific region. There was also the thought that the City should create an international airport. Six sites were considered. They included Golden Gate Park, Presidio of San Francisco, China Basin, filled lands south of Hunters Point, the Lake Merced area, and the shoals north of Yerba Buena Island. The shoal area was ultimately chosen because it was accessible from all parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. Thus, Treasure Island was born.

The construction of Treasure Island began in February 1936 and was completed in January 1939. To build the 403 acre island 29 million cubic yards of sand and gravel were transported to or dredged from the Bay and the Sacramento River delta. The name “Treasure Island” refers to the gold-laden fill dirt that washed down from the Sierras into the Bay, from which fill was dredged to create the island. Approximately 259 thousand tons of rock were used to create a rock wall to contain the Island.

Buildings and structures for the Golden Gate International Exposition were going up even before the Bay fill dried. Many San Franciscans at the time simply referred to the exposition as the “Fair”. The Fair opened in February of 1939. It reopened in May of 1940, and eventually closed in September of 1940. Records showed that over 200,000 people attended the last day of the Fair on September 29, 1940. At a cost of $50 million, the Island was adorned with exhibits, temples, pavilions, pools, gardens, gigantic sculptures and monuments from or representing the interests of foreign nations, American states, California cities and counties, and national and local industries. The theme of this international exposition was “Pageant of the Pacific.”

One of the most spectacular structures, and the centerpiece of the Fair, was the Tower of the Sun. The Tower of the Sun was a slim, octagonal needle with a statue of a phoenix at the top that extended majestically 400 feet into the air. The phoenix symbolized San Francisco’s rise from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire. A 15-foot scale model replica of the Tower of the Sun can be seen on the concourse level in Building One on Treasure Island.

Big bands and Hollywood stars appeared at the hundreds of free outdoor shows. Judy Garland and Irving Berlin performed at a music festival in September of 1940, less than a week before the Fair closed.

World War II. As American involvement in World War II was becoming more certain, on February 28, 1941, the Island was leased from the City of San Francisco by the United States Government. On April 1st, 1941, it became a military base known as Naval Station Treasure Island which also included portions of Yerba Buena Island. It became the headquarters of the 12th Naval District. The Islands served as the ” Gateway to the Pacific” in the battle of the Pacific.

The conversion from the Fair to airport to Naval Station was fairly casual in the beginning. Very little money was allocated by the Navy until the attack at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, in December 1941. The bombing of Pearl Harbor caused the nation’s priorities to change. As the war in the Pacific and Europe called for more and more Navy men, many women put on uniforms and took the title of Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). By 1945, more than 800 women officers and enlisted women were stationed at Treasure Island.

During World War II, the Islands served as a gateway to and from the Pacific. After the War the Islands served as a major center for thousands of Navy personnel returning for the War.

Today. After the war, Treasure Island was primarily used as a naval training and administrative center. Approximately 3000 military and 1000 civilian personnel worked at the Naval Station. Some of the major functions were the Fleet Training Center, Commander Naval Base San Francisco, waterfront facilities, troop and family housing, personnel support including the processing of Pacific-bound and homecoming personnel, and a museum featuring Exposition, military and aviation exhibits.

In 1993, Congress and the President selected Naval Station Treasure Island for closure and disposition by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) acting under Public Law 101-510 and its subsequent amendments. The Department of Defense subsequently designated the City and County of San Francisco and, then, the Treasure Island Development Authority as the Local Reuse Authority (LRA) responsible for the conversion of Treasure Island under the federal disposition process.

The US Coast Guard Installation at Yerba Buena Island occupies approximately half the Island at the southern side. This facility will remain an active Coast Guard Installation.

Chief Petty Officer (Electronics Technician)

While stationed on Treasure Island, my wife became very involved in volunteer work and in the local chapter of the Navy Wives Clubs of America. She was elected president in 1973. I used to joke that she had more power on that island than I did. And, it was true!

She continues to be active in the Navy Wives Clubs of America today.


My Wife Taking The Gavel As The New President Of The
Navy Wives Club Local Chapter On Treasure Island.


My Wife Accepts Award For The Club.


My Wife Receives Award As Volunteer Of The Month.


Please Sign My Guest Book