******** James E. "Frenchy" French ********
The following is an email in which Tim French remembers his father, James E. "Frenchy" French.
Thank you for responding to my post. As a military man myself, I understand how important it is to preserve our history, culture, and the name and deeds of our brothers and sisters. So, having said this thank you in advance for anything you can do to support the memory of my Dad.
Now, let me try to answer your questions and if possible, shed a little more light on who my dad was.
First, I am pretty sure my dad entered the Navy in 1959 or 60 but I'm not sure where or the exact date. He did this shortly after graduating from Dana College (Blair, NE, school now defunct) with his AA degree.
His full name was James Eugene French, born 3 Dec 1939 in Pender, NE.
I'm pretty certain he was an ET. Or as I believe the long name is: Electronics Technician. I'm not sure where he went to his rating school, it cold have been Pascagoula, but I really don't know. All I do know is he got stationed there around 1960 or 61. He met and married my Mom, and I was born there in Feb 63.
I don't know what his rank was while there but I know he was eventually medically retired as an ETR-2. He contracted some form of fungal infection or disease in his lung and had to have open lung surgery. Eventually, he was medically retired I guess because he could not/did not "fully" recover to the high standards the Navy required for him to continue service on a sub. Although he had the surgery (not sure when though), he stayed in the Navy for a time and did a tour at Treasure Island (San Fran I think) and then at what I believe is called Knolls Atomic Power Lab in west Milton, NY. I think he was an electronics instructor on an element of the Triton subs that were built there before being shipped to CN for assembly. I think he eventually was discharged from the Navy there and then continued to work there for a while longer as a civilian.
I'm pretty sure when he was younger many friends called him Jim or Jimmy. I think his closest friends affectionately referred to him as Frenchy. If you listed him has James E. "Jim" French or James E. "Frenchy" French, either would be fitting. Personnaly, I prefer "Frenchy" as he sometimes called me "Little Frenchy" when we were together.
I realize I've given much more info than you asked for but I've done so on the off chance that there is a forum or historical page that may be appropriate for such info that you can place it in. If you did that, I'd be very grateful, as I know there are still quite a number of his shipmates out there that would want to know of him and perhaps would be willing to contact me to share their memories of him with me. And yes, please feel free to use my email as a POC.
Finally, I'd like to say that I know my dad was a bit of a hell raiser. He told me he used to like to drink and party quite a bit. Now that I think of it, when I was between 19 and 25, about the same age in years my dad was before getting married, I did the exact same thing.
In summary, I'm fairly sure his dates of service were from about 1960 to about 1972. But I'm not certain of his dates on the DACE. I was hoping someone may be be able to assist with that. Perhaps there are some records that can be accessed to verify his time on the boat? I think he was in Pascagoula until around 1965.
Written by Tim French, Master Gunnery Sergent USMC