Monday, April 7, 2014

A Letter from Jim Robb

Gus was 31 or so when I met and knew him (1975-1977).  We were on board the USS Butte (AE-27).  Gus was an Electrician's Mate 1st Class and came into our shop (UNREP Shop - later called Winch Division and still later Stream Division) in about 1975 to replace our Leading Petty Office who for whatever reason was leaving.  We had a tight knit group of guys - Machinist Mates, Electricians, Electronic Technicians and a Boatswain Mate-me. We were all tops in our field and we knew it, which made Gus' transition into the shop difficult.  We were not what he was used to.  We were cocky, didn't follow orders very well but we knew how to work on the winches, elevators and fork trucks that our shop was responsible for.  We also had no qualms about working as long as it took to get something repaired, or back on line to complete a mission.  I recall repairs that caused us to work 48 hours straight with just catnaps and sandwiches and always, plenty of coffee!  Your Dad was perceptive and understood the group early on.  He "got" us.  He allowed us to do what we knew how to do.  I recall someone in our shop (probably Ken Jackson, a machinist mate) told him Gus, just stay out of the way and we will make you a star.  Gus did better than that, he pitched in and showed how good an electrician he really was while also giving us plenty of space.  He was a star!

Your Dad was a fair & decent man.  He was 12 or so years older than me and had years of Navy experience at that point & he was my boss, but he used that depth of experience to help rather than hold it over me.  It was a pleasure to know him and work for him.  He was a friend & shipmate!

Jim Robb