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Journal of Monty Compton
page 1 - Letter - This Page
| page 2 - Towards
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|As a young man Monty Compton served aboard
the USCGC Staten Island from 1971-1973 as a
Marine Science Technician Third and Second
Class. This is the story of his journey during
an annual relief of Antarctic bases as part of
Operation Deep Freeze in the 1971-72 Austral
This Page - page 1 - Letter
February 27, 2013
Dear Bill and Mike / and all of Tom’s family –
Before I begin this, I share your grief and understand it too. When I was age 35 my father suddenly died immediately from a sudden cardiac arrest. He was only 60 years old. So please accept my sincere sympathy and understanding of your sorrow.
There is a term about the "bonding" of "foxhole buddies". Overnighting in a foxhole with another individual during combat battle conditions is understandably shared experience that can last a lifetime. Although Tom Beckham nor I were in ever in a combat situation – much less fox holes in the Coast Guard – sitting in McMurdo Antarctica, 8,000 miles from Seattle (as the crow flies), on a vessel that has no fuel to get underway, in sub-freezing temperatures – for several weeks – with no formal withstanding, in the early 1970s – created that unique bond of men as described as fox hole buddies. Other friends of mine "don’t get it"!
As for me, your father was a true blue friend. We shared an awesome adventure together and we grew out of childhood to adults in a most unique place experiencing a life time of adventures that many do not experience. How many people do you know that have been to Antarctica - or the Arctic aboard a ship for that matter? Tom and I talked about these adventures, other crewmen often and marveled at our luck.
I consider myself a pretty smart person, graduating from Marine Science School with honors and later college with Cuma Sum Laude. Tom was a couple of years younger than me. At first I made the mistake that he was of average intelligence. My first impression of your dad was that he was extremely friendly. Then I noticed his unending since of humor that bonded me with him the most.
As I grew to know him it became apparent that he was an extremely intelligent individual. He taught me how to adjust and read radars - how to track targets and compute CPAs. First by hand and later how to do all this complex mathematics in my head. These teachings lead me later in life in obtaining my Master License to which I put to use in my life long career until retirement 7 years ago. My license expires in April 2014 and I will not renew it. I will retire it in honor of your father. His teachings were out of the kindness (and boredom?) that is only unique to Tom. He did this as a friend. I was neither in his department nor in his field of training. He did this with ease as teaching a child. At the end of two years I realized that your dad was one of the most intelligent people I have ever known and surpassed me in my own abilities. I was not jealous of that.. your dad’s demeanor would not allow me to do that. He made it too easy to become a lifelong friend that I cherished and will deeply miss.
My wife, Sherri, is due for hip replacement surgery on March 26 next month. It will take another 2 two weeks for her to recovery from it. I do plan on attending your dad’s services in Vancouver this Spring. The priority first is to take care of her during her recovery. For now I will put this memory journal together as to share with you at least one of our big adventures. Please know this is the story of the USCGC Staten Island as I remember it from October 1971 to June 1973. Your father Tom was aboard her when I reported aboard and he was aboard her when I was transferred off. This is your dad’s story as well.
The attached pictures were when we went to Antarctica and 2 separate Arctic trips afterwards. They are over 40 years old and I am actually surprised how good condition they are in. The back stories to some of these pictures are from my perspective. Believe me when I tell you that your Dad – Tom was by my side on many of these escapades. I am also sharing this with a co-worker of your Dad, RD3/2 Jerry Fields – I got in contact with him this past week and will be sending him these pictures and a copy of this letter too. He lives out of Visalia California (Bakersfield area). This story will go into a journal (along with other stories) that I am compiling for my kids and future generations. It is something that I do not have of my grandfather and his fathers. Please be patient with how I present this.
A list of the names of individuals aboard the Staten Island are located at the end page – as best I could remember. Maybe Jerry Fields can help me add to these names.
PS – sheeesh! I did not expect this to be that long!!
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