Local veteran shares memories of his 27 years with the Navy
In honor of Veteran's Day, we spoke with a local veteran who served in the military for 27 years.
Glenn Starnes has been all over the world with the U.S. Navy and shared some of his memories from the Korean War with us.
Starnes is a retired Lieutenant Commander with the U.S. Navy who was in charge of aircraft maintenance and air terminal. He experienced a lot during his years of service and says the one word to describe his time would be adventurous.
Glenn Starnes is 90 years old. He joined the U.S. Navy at 17. He had a lot of assignments in his time, but the Korean War was the only one in which he was in combat. The majority of his time was spent in the air.
"There was a pilot sitting in front of me and I sat right behind him, and we were always looking for trouble,” Starnes told us of his role.
Starnes was on the lookout for enemy planes and any suspicious activity. He recalls one day when he spotted something that saved several lives.
"A mine are these things that float in the water. If it hits a ship, it'd blow up. I saw it and radioed it in and a destroyer went over and blew it up before anything could happen."
He also remembers another time when he could have been on the other end of that. His crew was attached to the aircraft carrier, USS Bennington, and they were flying to Quonset Point where the ship was headed when he received some bad news.
Starnes said, "And on the way, we were going there, we got on the radio and we found out the USS Bennington had an explosion."
A lot of his friends lost their lives that day.
"You see them laid out on the hangar deck, about a hundred or so bodies. The guy that slept next to you, he was gone," Starnes told us.
He felt lucky to be alive.
Starnes told us "If I had been on that ship, it might have got me,”
While there were a lot of close calls, he said he has way more happy memories than sad ones. He feels blessed to have served.
"Grateful. Really grateful. On a scale of one to ten, ten plus."
Starnes says people see his retired U.S. Navy hat and come up to him all the time and thank him for his service. He feels more appreciated today than back then. Hopefully, he'll feel extra special on Veteran’s Day.