SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) – Did you know the Navy has more planes than the Air Force? For this week’s edition of Veteran’s Voices, we learn about a South Sioux City man who was part of that massive fleet.
When Larry Brostad was just 18-years-old, he made a spur-of-the-moment decision to enlist in the Navy.
“We had some classmates and they had joined, and they were back for boot camp and we were all drinking a little beer and they talked about how cool and great and neat the navy was everything. And I somehow agreed to go down and join the navy the next day down in Omaha, Nebraska,” Brostad said.
During Brostad’s time in the Navy, he served on the U.S.S. Oriskany as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate in the Tongan Gulf.
“Our pilots flew fighter cover for the A7 attack aircraft. That was our primary mission, the secondary mission was to strafe anything they could in the Ho Chi Minh trail. And we literally repaired almost everything on board the ship,” Brostad said.
Brostad worked in a fast-paced environment.
“We worked 12 hours on 12 hours off. We were at flight quarters 24 hours a day. We launched every hour on the hour and recovered every hour on the hour. And it was a routine and it just went on and on and on and on,” Brostad said.
Brostad returned stateside in December 1970 before his second tour in April 1971.
“Actually I was pretty excited about it… because in 1970 we had Vietnam won,” Brostad said.
But, Brostad’s excitement would soon end.
“The second time we went over we didn’t fly 24/7 and we didn’t fly many night ops. It was very disappointing that we worked that hard the year before and then went over and saw it all go away,” Brostad said.
And his return home couldn’t come sooner.
“I got out of the Navy down at 32nd street naval base in San Diego, and my wife said she never saw a bigger smile on anybody’s face,” Brostad said.
Some of the planes Brostad worked on during his time on the U.S.S Oriskany were F8 Crusaders and F4 Phantoms.