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Navy shipmates, fellow AEP retirees reunite after 46 years on land

by on February 14, 2012
AEP retirees and Navy veterans Harry Morris (left) and Randall Babcock got together for the first time in 46 years to swap stories of their time together aboard the USS Pocono.

MARIETTA, Ohio — Two U.S. Navy shipmates and AEP retirees, Randall Babcock and Harry Morris, reunited recently after working their entire AEP careers — a total of 46 years — without seeing each other. In fact, they didn’t even know they had worked for the same company until recently.

Morris, of Wooster, Ohio, retired in 2005 after working 38 years as an area servicer in the Line Department at AEP Ohio’s Wooster Service Center. Babcock, who lives in Belpre, Ohio, worked at Muskingum River Plant for 31 years as a conveyor/equipment operator until his retirement in 1999.

Both Babcock and Morris served aboard the USS Pocono, AGC-16, an amphibious force command ship. The USS Pocono had extensive radio, radar and communications equipment for controlling and commanding amphibious operations. The ship, launched in 1945 and decommissioned in 1971, had facilities for officers and crew of approximately 1,330.

They learned about each other via email, and reunited recently in Marietta where they shared photos of their time in the Navy and swapped some sea stories.

Morris came aboard the ship in 1964 as a seaman and participated in a NATO training exercise in connection with the then-new conflict in Vietnam. He was a crew member when the USS Pocono participated in NATO amphibious landing exercises off the coast of Spain in October-November 1964. In late 1964, the ship returned to Norfolk, Va., and went into drydock at Portsmouth, Va., and had new personnel come on board.

This photo of the USS Pocono was taken in 1969 in Puerto Rico.

One of those new sailors was Babcock, also as a seaman. In May 1965, the two were on the ship when it was ordered to Santo Domingo as part of peacekeeping operations and rescue of American civilians held captive in the Dominican Republic region. In 1966, Morris was transferred off the ship to an amphibious unit homeported in Japan, in support of operations in Southeast Asia.

“That was the last time I saw Randall,” he said.

A few years ago, Morris discovered Babcock’s email address and made contact with him, still not knowing that both had worked for Ohio Power and AEP all those years. Then they arranged a get-together at a Marietta restaurant to recall their time of service together.

“After 46 years, it was the first time Randall and I had met after leaving the USS Pocono,” he said.

“We noted what things we learned on the Pocono during our sailing days that helped with our employment throughout the years — dealing with the weather, equipment, line handling, working at heights and working with personnel of all ranks,” said Morris.

From → News From AEP

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