A Navy Dad: H. L. "Larry" Monroe

Remembrances

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Remembrances
The following are remembrances from people who worked with
Larry at some point during his Navy career.
Please scroll down to see most recently added material.
(Reprinted with permission.)
(Excerpts from an e-mail sent by Dave Waggoner)

Dear Mary,

In February, 1961, I checked aboard VAH-7, at the time had A3D's. I was an AT2. In May, I made AT1 and soon after, my new Division Officer checked in. He was LT Larry Monroe. He was my division officer throughout my tour in VAH-7. I can honestly tell you that he was the best Division Officer I ever had in 20+ years of Naval Service. He was an officer, but he never forgot what it was like to be an enlisted man.

There are two instances that I recall that really show what kind of man and officer your dad was. [Aboard the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65)] One night after flight quarters had secured, but plenty of work yet to be done, my gang had a bombing computer to replace. It was a very large, heavy, and awkward piece of equipment. Normally, we would have taken it down on the deck edge elevator but, since flight quarters had secured, the elevator was also unmanned. I told two AQ-3s to take it below, three decks, to the shop and return with a replacement. I did not tell them how to do it and they took the flag elevator in the island. It was three in the morning and no one expected any flag officers to be up, but the Chief of Staff was. He was a captain and was very perturbed to see two greasy enlisted men in the elevator. Well, he called the Commander of the Air Group, who called the Skipper of VAH-7, who called the Maintenance Officer who called your dad. So, at about 3:15 AM, into the shop walks your dad in his bathrobe and sleepy eyes wanting to know what happened. I think he had just had a good chewing on by someone and he was ready to do the same. But, after hearing what happened, he laughed, asked for a cup of coffee, sat down and told a few sea stories. We all knew that he felt that the job had to be done and after that, nothing else mattered. We all loved Mr. Monroe because of the way he treated us.

The other time involved a down radar on the plane that your dad and the skipper, CDR Heath, were to fly the next cycle. We were having an Operational Readiness Inspection and everything counted. The crew would have followed your dad down the barrel of a cannon, so we fixed the radar. The scary part was that we had to have the entire radar package hanging down in a high wind, so the job was supposed to be done on the hangar deck. Even the Chief we were working for went to the CPO mess for coffee instead of watching. Anyway, when the crews manned the airplane and the skipper and your dad found that we had fixed the radar, they were ready to give us the ship. As I recall, at our next port of call, your dad made sure that he found the guys who did the job and bought a few rounds for them on the beach.

Mary, I don't know when your dad passed, but he was one of a kind, and we won't soon see a better man.

Sincerely,

Dave Waggoner, ATCS, USN-RET

Excerpts of an e-mail from Peter "Pete" L. Petersen, North American Aviation Tech Rep:
 
JUNE 1960.....
    I was hired by North American Aviation and was placed in Engineering.  I had just completed four years in the USAF working on B-47's and was going to school at Ohio State.  Because of my past background with Navigation systems on the B-47 they assigned me to assist in maintaining the ASB-12 Radar/Nav/Bomb system because it was holding up deliveries of the aircraft to the Navy.  We worked on second/third shifts six/seven days a week. Special flights were flown out of Palmdale and that's when I went out there in Dec 1960 and Jan 1961.  I met your Dad and Cdr. Heath for the first time and were they charged up to break that altitude record.  They flew at least two flights, as I remember, because the first day they didn't make it. I remember the aircraft was stripped down the second time to reduce weight...which is the norm.  They bought and received a lot of drinks at the bar that night......as I remember...
 
MAY 1961 through MAY 1962....
    We moved to Pax River for BIS trials.  Again the ASB-12 system was failing entirely too much and the original designers were called upon to help from California and of course your Dad was telling them what was going on in flight and asking a million questions and giving suggestions as well.
 
JUNE 1962....
    We moved to Sanford and I was assigned to RVAH-7. Your Dad was already there training "REARS" on the use of the system.
 
AUGUST through OCTOBER 1962....
    First cruise for the A5A aboard the USS Enterprise...What a cruise ...we had a lot of problems, but we flew more flight hours than anybody else....and the Vigi started to get noticed... Your Dad was the leader for the back seaters training them all the time....
 
OCTOBER 1962...
    Less than a week after we returned to Sanford, we were recalled to the base...had four hours to pack....left on cargo planes that came in at night and they took us to Norfolk. The next day we left on the Enterprise, headed south, and three days later they flew us off the ship and we returned to Sanford. It was the Cuban Missile crisis and the 'POWERS THAT BE'
 said they didn't need the A5A's...
 
JANUARY through AUGUST 1963...
    Another Med cruise.....and so many stories...but the most famous one I remember...your Dad said the A5A had the best and longest reaching radar system of any aircraft on board. So the A5A's again flew more flights than anybody else and was used in Search/Hunt missions. NOTE:  In those days the A5A had 12 aircraft aboard the ship...lots of flights/maintenance/people/parts...etc. In later years the RA-5C went to six,,,then three aircraft per squadron. So it was busssssssssyyyyyyy in the first days.
 
SEPTEMBER 1963 through JANUARY 1968....
    I was assigned to the Avionics shop at Sanford. Lt. Rich Martin was the OIC and there we serviced the ASB-12 black boxes from all the Sanford aircraft with various pieces of test equipment/module repair.  I remember your Dad retired with quite a ceremony in front of the Headquarters building......[NB:  Larry retired in July, 1967]
 
Last impression of your Dad.....
   Smart...consistent...energetic...forward thinker...teacher....never stopped asking questions...family man....loved the Navy....loved flying....great with people...always there for his people....someone you can count on.....describes your father.....I only hope you remember him that way too....