Jack Cleavenger Jr, USN, N0RSN 1974-1975
Started working with MARS while
stationed at the Naval Communications Station, San Miguel Philippines.
Started out just for something to do on my off time, in between my regular
radio watches. The most exciting call I remember patching was one of a
young private in the U. S. Marines who had called home and found out that
he was a proud father of a boy. Time and time again, the thing that kept
me going was a excitement in all my callers voices. I feel that just
hearing the joy that these calls made is what kept me working with MARS.
On the flip side of the coin, there were times that I had to fight to
operate. Case in point, while station on a destroyer, my CO did not want
MARS running on his ship. Even though I was his Radio Chief and assured
him there would be no interference, he still rejected MARS. Hurricane HUGO
in 1989 changed his mind. The fleet was told to leave Charleston, South
Carolina and head to sea. We came back in port behind the hurricane. The
Cooper River had been blocked by a sunken civilian freighter, all the
navigation were blown off station and had to be replaced by the U. S.
Coast Guard prior to us returning home. We set just miles off shore
watching local tv for news of how bad it was. Everyone was glued to the TV
just hoping to get a glimpse of their neighborhods. During all this mess,
MARS was fired up and the CO talked to his wife and within hours had
called to check on all the ships crew's families. The CO became a believer
in MARS that day.
I am still active in
radio. I recently renewed my radio ticket. I still need to upgrade, but I
getting there. I also run 11 meters at home and in my truck as well.
Staying on 36LSB, sideband callsign Alfa Romeo 199. MARS operations
probably affected me the most in the sense that it got me through some
rough times overseas. It helped me when I would have been bored and it
helped bring laughter and joy to so many people. I can't count the people
that called back later, just to say "Thank You" for bringing them closer
to their families back in the states. THAT is what made it worth it all!!