Keith Carlaw

posted Apr 26, 2014, 6:54 AM by Scott Vaden   [ updated Jun 28, 2014, 5:34 AM ]

I grew up in the suburbs outside of St. Louis MO. My folks started me in Cub Scouts when I was old enough and I stayed with it, making Eagle Scout. I played a lot of organized baseball growing up. One of my school coaches told me to try out for the high school football team after seeing me throw a football. I could throw it a country mile back then, but it turns out I could not hit the broad side of a barn with it. I did play a lot of hockey until entering the Navy.

I graduated high school in 1972. Tried college at the University of Missouri for 3 semesters as a Forestry Major. College was not for me, so in 1974 I joined the Navy as they had the coolest uniforms and were not stomping around in the jungles in South East Asia.

I did pretty good on my tests so my Recruiter offered me either Nuclear Power or Advanced Electronics. I knew that a lot of submarines were nuclear powered so I picked Advanced Electronics. We know how that worked out! I’m glad it turned out as it did.

After Sub school, and A and C schools, I was assigned to the U.S.S. John Adams SSBN 620 as a MT3. She was going thru overhaul in Portsmouth N.H. After 4 patrols out of Holy Loch, Scotland I transferred to the FBM Training Center in Charleston as an Instructor. I taught an Electronics refresher course along with courses in Radiation Control, Hovering and Depth Control and several DC power supplies that were used in the Missile Compartment. There I finished my last 3 years. I was E7 board eligible, but decided to try the civilian life.

I was hired by Eastman Kodak Co. as an electrician/mechanic at their plant in Colorado. As the business changed, I transferred to Dallas TX as a copier repairman and later transferred to Nashville TN. I have been doing this for 32 years.

There, a little more than 20 years ago, I met the love of my life. It turns out Gayle and I both have a passion for fishing. In fact our first date was fishing in my new boat. (I think the new boat did it)  I even proposed to her while we were fishing. I guess dangling a diamond ring on a fish hook was the right presentation as she has put up with me for 19 years. We have always enjoyed doing things together, riding motorcycles, camping and of course fishing (even though she always catches more than me).

Music has always been a part of my life. I started with the clarinet in 4th grade, playing until I left college. Later I picked up the mandolin and became a shade tree Bluegrass picker. About 10 years ago, I started playing the bagpipes. The pipe and drum band I belonged to played a lot of events around Nashville including with the Chieftains (an Irish group) at Nashville’s symphony center. Now I concentrate on Weddings, Funerals and Military events.

I have been a member of U.S.S.V.I about 10 years. It has given me the opportunity to make a lot of new friends and relive our times on the boats. I have never met a better group of old salts.