U.S.S. LITTLE ROCK Crew Member's
Oral History given by

Roger Oosterink - DC3 (DC2)


Page last updated: 24 September, 2016

Old Salts



U.S.S. Little Rock Association
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM


Interviewee:  Roger Oosterink

Interviewer:  Rod Ritterbusch

Interview Transcript:

RITTERBUSCH:   ...interviewing Roger Oosterink, who served on the CL 92, USS Little Rock. This is Tape Number R2. We are at the sixteenth annual reunion of the Little Rock Association being held at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Buffalo, New York. The date is the 20th of July, 2007. The purpose of this interview is to get to know Roger better, and from his recollections learn about the life and duty

Roger, for background purposes, please summarize your early life, education, work experience if any, before joining the Navy.

OOSTERINK:   I started working on construction when I was twelve years old, and I worked up until I went into the Navy every summer in construction. Or I also worked one summer in the railroad business, and also worked on farms during the time when I was in school so that I could supplement my family from myself. I came from a large family of seventeen children, so I had to work and help out the family.

I joined the Navy in December of 1944, right after my seventeenth birthday, and they called me up in the spring of 1945, and from there on it’s history. I served both in the Pacific and the Atlantic and part of the atomic bomb tests in 1945 at Bikini Atoll. From there I came back to Seattle, Washington, and went aboard the battleship New Jersey and served just about a year on the battleship New Jersey, and then was transferred to the Little Rock and finished up my career aboard the USS Portsmouth, which is also a light cruiser. So that’s kind of my history at that point.

RITTERBUSCH:   That’s a very varied career. That’s amazing. That’s great. When and where did you join the Navy itself?

OOSTERINK:   I joined the Navy in Grand Rapids at the Naval center at Reeds Lake. It’s not there anymore, but that’s where I joined the Navy. I went all by myself. Came home with the papers and my mother said she wouldn’t sign it. My dad said, “Give me it. I’ll sign it.” So that’s how I got in the Navy (chuckle).

RITTERBUSCH:   Briefly describe boot camp back then and any schools or other assignments you had before reporting to the Little Rock.

OOSTERINK:   Well, of course, I left high school in the 10th grade. In fact, just a little side thing, in May of 2001 I received my diploma from my high school. On there it says I graduated in 1947. They gave me credit for my years in the Navy. I had never had any problems with not having an education, but I got this for my grandchildren so they’d know that Grandpa graduated from high school.

RITTERBUSCH:   Great.

OOSTERINK:   You asked me what I remember about coming in the Navy. Boot camp was over in Great Lakes. We about froze our butts over there. I happened to be put into what they called the dental company at that time because I needed some repair on my teeth.
When I first got there I used to hang around with the football team and so I was asked by the coach, Brown, if I would like to join the team, so I did join the Great Lakes Naval team for a very short time until my body got so black and blue. I was a quarterback, and I don’t know if any of you people remember the football played Merrigan Motley, but he was a defensive player. Weighed about 260. And when 260 tackled 160, there’s not much left of 160 pounds. Anyway, we had a pretty cold winter there at Great Lakes. We had to stand duty in the coal room where we used to stuff the furnace. I was made right away what they called athletic petty officer, so I was in charge of the athletes of our company. I can’t remember the number of it now, but that’s immaterial. That’s my boot camp time.

RITTERBUSCH:   All right. And you said you reported to the Little Rock in August of 1947. Where was she berthed then?

OOSTERINK:   She was up in Newport, Rhode Island. I was in Brooklyn Navy Yard decommissioning the battleship New Jersey and they told me I was being transferred to the USS Little Rock. I had no idea what that was until I got there and found out it was a light cruiser.

I got my first rank aboard the battleship New Jersey and I went up there as a third-class petty officer. At that time it was called carpenter’s mate, and shortly after that they changed it to damage controlman, so that was my rank after that.

RITTERBUSCH:   When you got to the Little Rock in Newport what was your initial impression of the ship?

OOSTERINK:   Oh, it was almost new. It had been only commissioned a couple years before that so it was practically a brand new ship. We had nice quarters. They were in the fantail and we were one deck below the main deck. I had a very good billet. Being a third-class petty officer you kind of got your choice of where you bunked, and so I had a very good bunk. And then our shop was on starboard side right by the 5-inch there. That’s where the damage control shop was. And I was also in No. 1 damage control station whenever we had battle stations, so I was mostly always on main deck.

Yeah, thinking back to those years aboard that ship there was a lot of good memories that go back into those years.

RITTERBUSCH:   So you were in what division?

OOSTERINK:   The R Division.

RITTERBUSCH:   R. Division. And exactly what was your assignment, your job? Besides battle control did you have any other watch stations, battle stations?

OOSTERINK:   Well, our assignment was to maintain tightness on the ship, and my job aboard that ship was to oversee the sealing of the compartments. We’d go around and seal off the compartments and then test them. We’d pull a vacuum on them and after we pulled a vacuum on them we had to have the vacuum within two percent. And I tell people that and they say: How do you get a compartment aboard ship pulled down to within two percent on a vacuum? But we had to do that. Most of the time the leakage we’d find in the seals on the ventilation system, so it wasn’t that hard to fix. Some of the seals on the hatches, or the gears that operate the hatches, some of the times those would leak and we’d have to pack those, but, again, that wasn’t hard to do. And I had a crew of four guys that would go around and take each compartment.

That was my duty most of the time aboard ship until I became appointed — not officially given, but appointed — second class. And then my job was to set the duty rosters and things like that. I had taken the second-class exam. I wasn’t eligible for it but our second-class was shipped off the ship and they needed another second-class, and our chief petty officer, who was chief carpenter, said that: I’m not going to go and get somebody, Oosterink; I’m going to promote you as a second-class temporary ranking, so I became a temporary second-class until I got transferred to the Portsmouth, and then they told me that I was no longer second-class, which was fine with me. I didn’t want any more duties over then anyway. So that’s where my second-class came about.

RITTERBUSCH:   While you were aboard the ship for those thirteen months were there any interesting ports of call?

OOSTERINK: Oh, yeah. Italy. Well, in fact, several interesting ports of call. We went, of course, to the Med. We went to the Rock of Gibraltar, or Gibraltar, and we were able to go on liberty there. We had to catch up all of our shots in one day, but that's a lot of fun (chuckle). They were shooting us from every side. Then we were able to go on liberty there and that was an interesting place to be.

I am not bragging about this, but I never drank, and so when I was in the Navy my whole life was set on sightseeing. I wanted to see everything I could see. I felt as though I’d never get back to see it again, and the inside of a bar was not interesting to me. So I never went into a bar and drank. I stood a lot of shore patrol. I had starboard shore patrol, so on the port we were on liberty and on starboard I was on shore patrol. So I stood a lot of shore patrol, but I didn’t mind that because that meant I was off the ship two days in a row.

While we were in the Mediterranean we had a lot of exciting things happen to us. We went to Greece, of course, and while we were up in Greece for Christmas we had the orphans come aboard ship and we fed the orphans, a big orphanage from Greece. And that was exciting because all these kids came aboard the ship and we gave them....

Before we left New York — we went into New York, and before we left New York we had a big shopping spree. We bought thousands of dollars worth of gifts and brought them over there. We knew we were going to go with the orphanage so we gave these gifts to these kids, and you’ve never seen anything as exciting. I had the privilege of serving them ice cream, and these little children would come up there and they would not go by that ice cream dish unless we put it on their tray. We kept telling them to come back and get it — we don’t want to put it with your mashed potatoes and turkey and stuff like that. But no, they wanted that ice cream NOW. And so I was putting ice cream mixed with mashed potatoes, but that didn’t make no difference because those kids wanted it. But that was one interesting thing.

And, of course, going to Italy. We happened to be there when Mount Vesuvius was erupting so we got to see that at night, and that was beautiful. And when we went to Venice there was.... The executive officer aboard ship, and I don’t remember his name now, he came to me and said that, “I understand you like to ski.” I said yeah. And he says, “Well, we’d like to put a ski group together to go to Trieste. We’ve been invited to go up and stay at the German lodge. It’s going to cost each man $15, and if they would like to go you get a bunch together. We’d like to have at least a hundred.” Well, I’ll tell you, I had a hard time getting five at first until we found out they could get a pay before we left. And once they found out we could get a pay before we left, and that $15 of it would go back into the trip, I got a hundred very easy. We took three buses and we went up to Trieste and we were up there skiing for three days. I got a telephone call up there from the ship and they asked me if I’d be willing to stay for another three days because they were going to ship another group up. And so I stayed there for an extra three days and got in some more skiing and had a great time with the guys. A lot of guys never got to the ski slope; they got to the local pub and that was as far as they got, but I was able to handle that. It was a lot of fun. That was one of the exciting parts of our trip.

We had a plane crash and flip over. There’s some pictures around that are from that.

RITTERBUSCH:   That was one of your observation planes?

OOSTERINK:   Yeah. He came in on the wake and he got off on the wrong side of the wake and it flipped over. I happened to be on damage control during that day, so when the siren went off I had to get to the whaleboat and out we went and put our lifejackets on. We hadn’t seen him come up yet, and the officer, an ensign, that was on the boat said, “Oosterink, you’re going to have to go out and get him.” And as I got close to the bottom of the pontoon, all at once POP! Here comes the pilot up out of the bottom. Was I glad to see him, because I had trained in Norfolk how to go down there and get a person out of that thing, but that’s not an interesting thing to do. So anyway, we got him out and brought him back aboard ship and we got the plane back aboard ship. There’s pictures of that that are in a memorial to the other ship. That was an exciting time.

We had that, and another exciting time — well, not exciting time, we had a sad time. We had a young man get killed. We were tying up in Newport, Rhode Island, and I don’t know if I’m giving this in sequence but we were tying up in Newport, Rhode Island, and I was in a whaleboat at that time. The crew goes out and brings in the chain to tie up to the buoy. And the buoy started spinning. This coxswain that got up on the buoy — I had hollered at him and told him not to get on it because the ship was backing down a little bit and when the ship was backing down it caused the buoy to spin. He spun off and he got decapitated with the rope. We had a funeral in Newport, Rhode Island. And the sad part of it, he had just gotten married. I happened to be a pall bearer for that, so I remember that very well.
 
And then another exciting time was when we were coming through the hurricane in 1947 and the ship just about busted up. Just ahead of the main structure in the first section, where the first section joins the second section of the ship, it began to split. Split all the way across the deck and all the way down the sides to below the waterline. We stood watch, watching that thing split, and we didn’t know whether we were going to leave half of it out there and bring only half of it home. We had the compartments all sealed off. And we got to Boston Navy Yard and they got it all put together again.

I went home on liberty because I had some liberty coming. I went home on liberty and while I was home I got a telephone call that I had to return back to the ship. My mother called me; I was on my dad’s construction project. So I had to go to the airport and they got a ticket there for me and I flew back to Boston. I no more than got off the airplane than they met me there with my baggage that they had sent up for me and they sent me up to Maine to help fight forest fires. And so I was able to get that part out of my life, too. So that was an exciting part of my Navy career.

So I had a few things that happened in my Navy life that were kind of exciting. Those are just a few of my memories.

RITTERBUSCH:   Can you remember about living conditions on the ship? The quality of food, gedunks, barber shop, things like that?

OOSTERINK:   Well, we always complained about the food but I had to eat in the petty officers’ mess so they served us there so we had a little bit better privilege. But there was always complaints about the food. But being in the damage controlman, which was the carpenter’s mate shop, we always had people that wanted things made, and the cooks always wanted things made. So there was a tradeoff there. I mean, cinnamon rolls and cookies and doughnuts and stuff like that came our way pretty easy because the cooks usually wanted something made and we were always being able to make things for them.

I probably made a dozen sea chests while I was in the Navy, for captains, executive officers, and people that treated you good. If they didn’t treat you good they had to make a request, and the request never got passed through. So most of the guys treated you pretty well. I happened to have the perfect (phonetic) shop. The carpenters shop was the perfect shop. But we had the machinery, we had the material.

But yeah, the food was all right aboard ship. I mean, hey, we weren’t going to get fat on it, but I never complained about the food. That stuff on the shingle I didn’t eat too much of. (Laughter)

RITTERBUSCH:   How about some of your close buddies and colorful characters among your shipmates? Do you remember them?

OOSTERINK:   Yeah, I remember some of them. One of my best buddies was a fellow from up in Massachusetts, Olszewski. Francis Olszewski; we called him Ski. He was a great, great friend. I happened to have a thing happen to me today right here at the reunion where we were talking with three of us guys and all at once a fellow said, “Well, you’re from the 92.” He said, “My schoolteacher was from the 92.” And I said, “Well, where are you from?” And he said, “I’m from up in Massachusetts.” And he says, “Where they make the Yankee candles.” And I says, “Not Olszewski.” And he says, “Yeah, he was my shop teacher. Did you know him?” I says, “We were the best of buddies.” And so I just met a guy today that was a student of my old buddy.

RITTERBUSCH:   Is he still alive, do you know?

OOSTERINK:   Yes, he is, but he’s unable to travel because he has health problems. We keep in contact with him. We send him Christmas cards and stuff, and keep in contact with him.

Then there was another one. His name was Caparelli, and I’ve often looked to see where he’s at. He was from Pennsylvania and he was another one of my buddies. The only thing I had wrong with Caparelli, and him being Italian, I’ve carried him back aboard ship too many times and sometimes he heaved on my uniform. (Laughter) But he was an alright buddy. We had a lot of fun with him.

There was another one by the name of Moser, and he was also from Pennsylvania. He was a character. He had been a first-class petty officer and a seaman. Then he went back to first-class petty officer, and then he was a seaman again. And when he got discharged he was a seaman. So he had a few little problems, but he was all right.

RITTERBUSCH:   Do you recall any moments of great shock, fear, or excitement?

OOSTERINK:   Yeah. The greatest shock I had was when a young man fell from the mast and landed right next to our shop, right by the 5-inch turret. I happened to be in the shop and heard him hit the deck. I walked out and saw that and it was something I never want to see again. That was probably the greatest shock I had aboard that ship. I don’t know his name or anything like that, but I still remember that very vividly.

RITTERBUSCH:   Do you have any interesting recollections of your leading petty officers or division officer, skipper, or exec? Chain of command?

OOSTERINK:   Not really. I got treated real well aboard ship, I guess because I never drank and I didn’t come back aboard ship hung over. A lot of guys who had that problem would sometimes get in trouble with their petty officers and the ship’s officers, but I never had any troubles like that.

I happened to be part of the — we had a man that was in the post office there that set up a Protestant service, because we had a Catholic chaplain aboard the ship. He set up a Protestant service and I happened to be part of his group of guys and we’d meet in the mess hall every Sunday and have a service together. That kind of worked out real nice for the Protestants because, as a Catholic priest — and I had nothing against him; he was a wonderful person — he, in fact would encourage us to get our Protestant friends together. We had between twenty-five and thirty guys. It averaged out. It would depend on how the guys — if they had liberty coming they wouldn’t show up, but we had between twenty-five and thirty guys that would meet regularly and have our services together. This fellow was in the post office and, again, I don’t remember him.

The paymaster and I got along real well. I don’t know why we got along so good but we did. He came to a few reunions and I’ve seen him here a couple times. But I don’t know if he’s here now or not. I can’t remember his name, but he remembers me because I put together this thing up to the mountain.

RITTERBUSCH:   The Trieste thing?

OOSTERINK:   Yeah, going to Trieste, skiing.

RITTERBUSCH:   That would be a lot of fun.

OOSTERINK:   Not Trieste, but Cortina.

When we were in Trieste, Italy, I was on a shore patrol and we had some boys that decided they wanted to go to Austria. They got into the country over there, and I happened to be with a Marine lieutenant and myself; we went over and got them out. They were lucky they got out. They were lucky they didn’t get thrown in a prison over there, because at that time they were not a friendly country. Of course, Trieste was right up against Austria there.

RITTERBUSCH:   Yeah.

OOSTERINK:   There was one other thing. We also cruised in the straits there by Trieste, the Trieste straits. We cruised to pick up mines, floating mines that were still out there floating. And we got one one night. I had the privilege of going out with a mine detector — the guy had to go out and snare (phonetic) that mine. So I happened to have the privilege of being in the whaleboat with him because he went out to disarm that thing. And that kind of had your goose-bumps standing on both ends all night long (chuckle), as we turned that thing around. I was in the water with him handling the special wrenches that they had for it. But he knew what he was doing. You know, when you’re a young eighteen, - nineteen-year-old kid you don’t have that fear of anything at all. So we disarmed that.

But a destroyer that was cruising with us, they disarmed one too. They disarmed it on the fantail. We towed them back into harbor. They didn’t sink, but they got a pretty good blast out of it. So those were a couple exciting times too.

RITTERBUSCH:   Yeah. Did you ever have any admirals on board the ship?

OOSTERINK:   We had an admiral — when we were in the Mediterranean we had an admiral for a couple of days. He came aboard for what is called the annual inspection. But other than that, the only time I had an admiral aboard ship as far as being aboard the ship is, we were the admiral’s ship when we went overseas on the battleship New Jersey. And then we had an admiral the full time we were there.

RITTERBUSCH:   When and where did you detach from the Rock?

OOSTERINK:   I detached from the Rock in September of 1948. Went aboard the USS Portsmouth to serve out the rest of my time. I got discharged in November of 1948 in Newport, Rhode Island.

We had several cruises. We cruised down to take these what we called ninety-day wonders down there. But other than that the last part of my enlistment was checking off the calendar. (Laughter)

RITTERBUSCH:   You pretty much have described your whole Navy career so I don’t think we have to add any more to that. When you left the Navy, what civilian job did you return to?

OOSTERINK:   I returned to construction. My dad was a construction superintendent and my uncle owned a construction company, and because I worked with them before I left to go to the Navy, even though times were a little bit tough there was a law that if a person went into the service and he was working for you they had to rehire you.

I was going to go back to high school, and they told me I had to go full time. And I had a girlfriend and we were engaged to be married and I couldn’t see that I could go to high school full time. So anyway I went back in construction. I spent forty-two years as a construction superintendent on major projects throughout Michigan and Florida. I did some big projects in Florida. I was transferred down there with the company to run a portion of the company. So I was most of the time on school buildings, hospitals, colleges, a lot of treatment and sewage plants. So I was in large construction building most of my career.

And then when I supposedly retired from the construction business I decided to start my own business, which was a consultant firm, and I had that down in Florida for about five years. And then I retired from that. I was going to retire permanently and I was retired for about six months.

Then I went to work for another company as a consultant for them and I’ve been working every since. I’m working full time and I’m just shy of my eightieth birthday. I have a full time job working for a consultant firm. And if anybody wants to know what retirement’s about I’ll tell them it’s not anything I want any part of. You can do just so much golfing, you can do just so much pissing, you can do just so much setting around, and pretty soon you’re going to get sick of it. I enjoy what I’m doing, and if I live to be ninety I hope I’m still doing it.

RITTERBUSCH:  Just might do that. What lessons, outlooks, and values did you take away from your Naval service that helped you in your future years in your career?

OOSTERINK:   Very much. I maintain that that was the best almost four years of my life. I maintain that they still should have the draft and that every young man should have to face the military service. And the reason for that is that.... I wasn’t a cocky person when I went into the service. I wasn’t the person that thought I knew it all. But I was brought up in a big family with a great deal of respect and my dad was very strict. But I learned one thing while I was in the Navy. That there are people in this world that you continue to respect.
You know, Captain Kent (Siegel). I met him a couple years ago and I don’t call him by his name like a lot of people do. I call him “Sir,” because that’s the way I was taught. When I was a young boy my dad, if I called a person older than me by his first name I knew what it was to feel a hand across my mouth. They were “Mr.” or “Uncle.” But I didn’t call them by their first name. And when I got in the Navy I learned respect.

I remember a chief petty officer at aviation technical training school where I first started out my Navy career in Chicago. He said to me, he said, “Roger,” he said, “you keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut and you’ll go a long ways in this United States Navy.” He told everybody that. That was one of his favorite sayings. And, you know, I never forgot that to this day. So many people have their mouth going in gear before they think of what they’re saying.

And, I don’t know, respect is what I learned in the Navy. I take that back to way back when I was in the Navy, that you had to respect.

RITTERBUSCH:   That was the key. Respect.

Can you tell us a little bit about your place of residence and your family, community involvement, volunteer activities, or anything like that.

OOSTERINK:   Well, I’ve always been very active in church. I’ve served on several different things in church. So that was one of my very active....

I love music. For thirty-some odd years I was a volunteer sound technician. I was told many times that I was a professional sound technician but I always called myself an amateur sound technician. I built my own sound system; I had that to take gospel singing groups around. I set up sound for several major people that, if I start dropping names you’ll think I’m just dropping names but there were several major stars.
I remember one time I got a telephone call and the guy said his name was Mickey Gilligan. I kind of laughed a little bit and I said, yeah, this is my son-in-law. And I thought it was my son-in-law because he’d told me he was going to tune the piano for Mickey Gilligan. So I said, “Yeah, Richard. I know you’re Mickey Gilligan.” He said, “No, no. I am Mickey Gilligan.” I says, “You are, really?” He says, “Yeah.” I said, “What can I do for you?” He said, “I’d like to have you run my sound here in Grand Rapids, at the Gerald Ford Museum when we have the dedication. Would you be willing to run my sound?” And I says, “Yeah.” (Laughter) So that’s just one of them, but I did it for several people. But that was one of my things.

I was the father of the athletic boosters club for our high school. I started that. My wife and I did; we put that together. I volunteered, I was president of the athletic boosters club. I served on the board of directors of the athletic boosters club. I served on the board of directors of a church camp for twelve years. So I was very active in my life.

And, of course, I was active in the construction industry. I was on several boards with that.

You asked me a while back what schools I went to in the Navy. I went to the firefighting schools in Norfolk, Virginia. I also went to the — they put me off the ship and gave me three weeks training at the police academy, or whatever you call it in Norfolk, when they set up that some shore patrols would be able to carry arms and stuff, and I was one of those that went to that. Those are a couple of things I did while I was in the Navy, and I forgot about those. I guess there are a lot of things I forgot about.

I also traveled with a traveling softball team in the Navy, and was able to travel with them on several occasions. It would depend upon where I was at, but if it was all right, because they had so many Reserves they could pick up. But I was able to travel on a couple, three tours with them, and played softball. We had pretty fancy uniforms and stuff (chuckle). I think it’s the Ninth Fleet, wasn’t it? Atlantic fleet was the Ninth Fleet?

RITTERBUSCH:   Let’s see. Sixth was the Mediterranean, and the Second Fleet was the Atlantic. It may have been different back then.

OOSTERINK:   Yeah, I think it was the Ninth. But anyway, we were part of that. We went around playing Naval bases and Marine bases. We never did any flying; we rode on those old gray buses (chuckle).

But out of the Navy I had a very active life. And, like I say, I have six children. My wife and I have six children. We have thirteen grandchildren and four and a half great-grandchildren. I have a granddaughter and a grand-son-in-law in the United States Marines at Quantico. I always say I have a great-grandson in the United States Marines too. He’s just turned a year old but I guess he’s in the Marines because Mom and Daddy are both in the Marines, so he’s stuck on the base. (Laughter) They’re over at Quantico. So we’ve had six wonderful children and had a great life with those. Most of our life has been active. My wife has served in several committees around and stuff.

Right now, like I say, I’m almost eighty, so I’ve kind of slowed down on activities. Kind of let the younger people handle that kind of stuff now. I love to golf, I love to fish, I love to hunt. I still do all that. I’m going to slow down one of these days.

RITTERBUSCH:   There you go. How long have you been a member of the Little Rock Association?

OOSTERINK:   I’m a lifetime member. I joined the Association — I don’t know if it was the first or the second members’ meeting and I became a lifetime member. I think my number is Number 2.

RITTERBUSCH:   How many reunions have you gone to?

OOSTERINK:   Oh, don’t ask me that. I don’t remember how many reunions we’ve been to. Probably — how many years have they been doing this now?

RITTERBUSCH:   This is the sixteenth.

OOSTERINK:   Okay, so we’ve probably been to seven or eight of them. I’m also a member of the (USS) New Jersey Association and there ain’t no way I can spend six thousand dollars a year going to these things. (Laughter)

RITTERBUSCH:   No.

OOSTERINK:   And they’re getting more expensive, just like they’re talking about. I can remember the first time we went we stayed in a hotel for $62 a night. And now it’s eighty-some dollars. And they’re talking about $127. I know it’s all relevant, but us older guys don’t make that kind of money anymore. (Chuckle)

RITTERBUSCH:   I know. Have you ever been a Little Rock Association founder or officer?

OOSTERINK:   Nope.

RITTERBUSCH:   No, just a member.

OOSTERINK:   Just a member.

RITTERBUSCH:   So, Roger, are there any final thoughts or comments you want to share with the....

OOSTERINK:   Well, every time I come to an association like this here tonight something different happens, and that’s really nice. I mean, like meeting this fellow today that was a student of a good friend of mine for many years. That just makes the whole trip worth it. We didn’t sign up for anything to go to anything. We didn’t even sign up to go on the cruise tonight, because we’ve been on that a couple of times and, you know, again, that price has really gone up.

We have other things that we’re going to do. We didn’t just drive over from Grand Rapids to here. We’re leaving here and going on into Pennsylvania to visit some friends over in Pennsylvania. From there we’re going to Washington, D.C. I want to go to the World War II Memorial because I’ve never been there. And then I want to go to Quantico to visit my great-grandson. We’ll visit with the parents too, but I’m really interested in my great-grandson. (Laughter) So this is a trip that, you know, we’ll put out a couple thousand dollars on this trip and, you know — I’m not a tightwad but you’ve got to kind of watch where your money goes. I spent out, this last year and this year the insurance paid out, but I had a little of it, but over $60,000 in hospital bills.

RITTERBUSCH:   Know the feeling.

OOSTERINK:   You know the feeling. I’m sure you do, Rod. (Laughter) I had back surgery and that kind of set me off for a few months. I’m still recovering from that right now, but I’ve got to keep going.

RITTERBUSCH:   That’s right. Well, if there’s nothing else to be said, this ends the interview with Roger Oosterink. This is Tape Number R2.

- - - - - End - - - - -



Return to Oral History Page

Return to Association Home Page