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20161009 navy enlistment anniversaryNobody who joins the military ever forgets the date they join. It's as second nature as their birthday, the date they get married or the date of their first child. Guess I’m feeling kind of nostalgic coming up on my 25th anniversary of the date I joined the NAVY. Having just finished up scanning over a thousand old pictures, I thought I’d put together a complete photo album of my US Navy tour. After looking through all the photos of these 4 whirlwind years of my life, I realize it was an experience of a lifetime that I would not have traded for anything. Proud to be a NAVY veteran.

Here is a "raw" PHOTO GALLERY that includes many of the activities and destinations of my tour.

Some highlights of my 4 years include:
  • Shooting automatic weapons & thumping M203 grenades with a Seal Team at AP Hill
  • Being Plane Captain/Landing Signalman Enlisted and working on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier
  • Sailing two six-month Mediterranean cruises and logging over 15 months at sea
  • Loading 2 of our helicopters into, and flying in a C5 Galaxy... the largest US aircraft
  • Watching/feeling a Phalanx weapon system shoot 75 rounds per second
  • Living 8-weeks on a cot in a tent eating MRE’s in Cuba during the Haiti conflict
  • Launching off an aircraft carrier in a C2 Greyhound
  • Transiting the Suez Canal twice

Destinations, assignments & liberty in the US:

  • Great Lakes, Illinois
  • Millington, Tennessee
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Jacksonville Florida
  • Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Pax River, Maryland
  • AP Hill, Virginia
  • Washington, DC
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Cherry Point, North Carolina
  • Fallon, Nevada
  • Reno, Nevada

Liberty ports & destinations over seas:

  • St Marten, Virgin Islands
  • Autec, Bahamas
  • Guantanamo Bay Cuba
  • Naples, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • Brindisi, Italy
  • Corfu, Greece
  • Rhodes, Greece
  • Haifa, Israel
  • Jerusalem, Israel
  • Bethlehem, Israel
  • Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates

Waters I’ve sailed:

  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Ionian Sea
  • Adriatic Sea
  • Red Sea
  • Gulf of Aden
  • Arabian Sea
  • Gulf of Oman
  • Persian Gulf

Aircraft I flew in:

  • Boeing DC-9 Passenger Jet (Several Flights)
  • Boeing 707 Passenger Jet (Several Flights)
  • Boeing 727 Passenger Jet (Several Flights)
  • H-60F Seahawk (USS Theodore Roosevelt to Brindisi, Italy)
  • HH-60H Seahawk (Several Flights)
  • C-130 Hercules (Norfolk, Virginia to Autec, Bahamas)
  • C5 Galaxy (Norfolk, Virginia to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba)
  • H-47 Chinook (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to USS America)
  • C2 Greyhound (USS Theodore Roosevelt to Sicily, Italy)

Naval Ships I sailed on:

  • CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt (471 days)
  • CV-66 USS Americav (7-days)

20160718 emeraldisleThis year's family vacation took us and the Keba family (some of them!) to Emerald Isle, NC with a slight detour through Alexandria, VA on our way there. 

Looking for somewhere to spend the night until we checked into our Condo on Sunday, we spend a night in Alexandria, VA which is just 5 miles south of Washington DC.

As luck would have it, the city of Alexandria was celebrating its yearly celebration and our hotel was 3 blocks from the center of festivities at a local park including an  orchestra and fireworks over the Potomoc. A walk down King Street can't be missed if ever in Alexandria too.

We ended up loving Emerald Isle and would go there again in the future. It's not as touristy as Myrtle or even North Myrtle Beach but not as desolate as the true outter banks. Still a couple restaurants to choose from and some putt-putt for the kids... and me. And the beaches were clean, with white sand, nice waves and beautiful.

With perfect timing, Dylan was fresh back from a mini-deployment to the Baltic Sea and got to spend a few days with us and caravan the trip home to start his 10 day leave.

We took a half-hour drive up to Atlantic Beach during the week and rented a pontoon boat for the day which turned out to be the highlight of the trip.  Everyone had a blast swimming in the intercoastal and visiting Shackleford Island and seeing wild horses. Highlights were jumping the waves with the pontoon boat and ancoring at the islands.

Here is a small photo gallery of our vacation.

20160625 missiontripI had the opportunity to go on the week long mission trip with the St Joan of Arc CHAOS Youth Group to Cumberland, Kentucky.  This was the 5th year in a row I was able to chaperone the group. This year was the largest group we’ve taken with 15 kids and 4 adults. Most importantly, Aly was old enough to make the trip, which meant the whole family was able to go. I was excited that Jean was able to experience and visualize all the stories we’ve told her over the past few years.  It was pretty awesome for the whole family to make the trip down and help out the Appalachian region. 

We worked on several projects while down there including:

  • Installing drywall in the church and taping/mudding
  • Replaced a rotted subfloor and laminate in a needy house
  • Installed volleyball posts/net for ours and future groups
  • Fixed a gutter on the convent
  • Worked on the complete residing of a house that had bare untreated wood as exterior walls
  • Painted the bathroom in the dorms
  • Painted the basement of a church in the neighboring city.

20160619 clevelandcavaliers nationalchampions

Cleveland and a national champions are two items that haven't really gone together in my lifetime. As a life-long all-sport Cleveland fan, its been a hard road watching every other team, in every single sport, rise to the top around us, especially the dreaded Steelers.

So glad that this drought has come to an end as the Cleveland Cavaliers win the title in 2016.

This entry had to be post-dated since the whole family was on a mission trip during game 7 of the finals! Yes, damn near off the grid during the most important sports competition of my lifetime. In today's total connectivity age, we found ourselves deep in the mountains of Kentucky with barely enough cell-phone signal to refresh a google-score. I felt like I was in the 1930's huddled around a radio, envisioning what was going on. It was terrible not being able to watch history unfold, but to ultimately see the time left reaching 00:00 and Cavs still in the lead was the only trigger we had to start celebrating, and that we did.

Both guys and girls dorms emptied into the common space and screamed and celebrated at nearly midnight in a tiny church in the tiny coal-mining town of Cumberland, everyone else in the town, likely asleep not caring about what was going on. It was an incredible moment and anyone in Northeast Ohio will know exactly where they were at this moment in time.

20160610 fishingboatWe’re super excited to have a new fishing boat. It’s the same style boat pops had for several years that Pops, Nate and I went out on several times. Brandon was never old enough to go out before pops sold it and Brandon's always let me know that. :) I’ve thought about it many times over the past several years but the right boat at the right price just came along. It’s a small 14 foot aluminum v-bottom boat but just what we need to get out on the small lakes around here. Our first trip out, the day after I got it, took us to Mosquito Reservoir to test out it’s float ability and 2 motors.  All worked well, and although we got skunked without a single bite, we had a great time motoring (or rocking!) around the lake and enjoying each other’s company. Can’t wait to get the girls out on the water.

20160531 memorialday salbergcampWell it's been along time coming.  Since all of our friends have taken up camping with us, we haven't made it back to Salberg Camp in over 2 years. With everyone's schedule crazy this Memorial Day weekend, we were able to make the treck back to the place that kicked off our camping ventures. Camp Salberg.

As always we had and awesome, quiet, relaxing weekend. Although too cold to have fun swimming, we had a blast around camp and took a great hike on the Indian Trail at Cooks Forest. Lots of frisbee, singing, baseball,ring-hook-thingy, bang-bangs and sea-stories kept us busy the whole weekend.

Thanks to Mark and Joy for inviting everyone to their place time and time again.

Here's a small photo gallery of some of the fun.

20160513 jeanalydcMarking probably the last field trip either Jean or I will chaperone, Jean was able to go with Aly’s 8th grade class to Washington DC. Since I have  been there four times already and went with both Nathan and Brandon’s class, I would have been a hog to go there again before Jean went once! It’s one of my favorite field trips and they got to see most all the major monuments. Jean and I's favorite one is the halocaust museum which is just incredible.

Can't wait to go there as a family some-time.

20160413 alyson annieReally proud and excited to see Aly in her role as Annie in the 8th grade play at St Patrick School.  

She's been practicing like crazy and excited and nervous about it.

It's playing at the Kent Stage on the corner of Main St & Depeyster and if you're able to make it, it's FREE.

Showtimes are Friday, April 15 at 12:30p and 7:00p as well as Saturday, April 16 at 12:30p.

This article appeared in the Record Courier ealier this week.

Good Luck Aly.

20151106 summer champsUnfortunately there's not alot on my website regarding my niece, Summer Heidish. The 1000 miles between us is something the Giunto clan isn't used to with close family!

Congratulations in winning 1st in the state (Florida) with your team in your event, the 200 medley relay.

Summer along with her teammates Caroline White, Claire Maiocco and Grace Olivardia beat their school record while winning state, with a time of 1:42:98.

Congratulations Summer. Always rewarding when hard work pays off!

20151024 dylan bootcampWe had a pretty awesome last couple days at Parris Island, South Carolina. 

We had a whole group of the family (12 of us) that went down for Dylan's Marine Corps bootcamp graduation which took place on October 23. The family day and graduation festivities are done very well and well worth the trek down, even if we were in the state around 48 hours! Made for a grueling road trip, down and back.

It's been a long 12 weeks that I'm sure he's glad is over. Just thinking about his last 3 months brought up lots of memories from my Navy bootcamp, which was nowhere near as physically demanding. An accomplishment that can never be taken away from him.

A huge congratulations to him for attaining the "High Shooter" award in his company which included around 489 recruits from 6 platoons. Not sure if he realizes what an accomplishment that is. Great work. I think Nate is trying to take credit for that from all the years of airsoft battles on the compound.

He's home on leave for a bit, then off to infantry training at Camp Lejeune, and ultimately off to see the world!

Again, congratulations and God speed!

20150720 missiontripFor the 4th year in a row I accompanied the st joan of arc youth group to kentucky for their week long summer mission trip. Nate, Brandon and I were all able to make the trip this year. Our 9 kids and 3 adults while meeting up with 24 other kids, all rode the ‘big-bus’ down this year, which was a first for our small group, having always had our own van in the past.  We stayed at the new mission center at St Stephen’s church in Cumberland Kentucky. It serves as a great base-camp for our efforts.

We were able to work on several individuals' homes, meeting lots of incredibly nice and humble people that thanked us tremendously. We had a varying amount of tasks through the area. Here are some of the things we all did:

  • Installed new exterior door on a house
  • Removed and replaced 4 windows in a home
  • Painted the complete exterior of a house and most of the church's rectory
  • Visited a local nursing home
  • Performed some basic repairs and cleaned up another catholic church in a nearby city
  • Helped stock and then distribute TONS of food at the local food-bank
  • Made miscellaneous home repairs such as hand-rails, hanging porch ceilings & patching homes
  • Were all cued up to help the "sisters" run VBS but unfortunately, no kids were able to make it!

Rain kept us down a bit, but it didn’t keep us out. We will did ALOT of great work every day. And with hours and hours of cards, volleyball & swimming, the kids had a blast during free-time.

Thanks sis (Tina) and Rick for being great chaperoning company.

As always, John and Harold lead the crusade, thanks for devoting your entire summer to the mission. And thanks to all who donate to The Diocese of Youngstown as they fund most of the operations and give us a great venue to let our kids do good work.

20150629 florida vacationIt’s been a couple years since we took a family vacation so we were ALL looking forward to getting out of town by the time vacation actually hit last week.

Being no strangers to long car-trips, we packed up the family and began our 16 hour drive to Orlando, via a detour in Jacksonville to stop by my old Navy Base (NAS Jacksonville) as well as cruising through our old neighborhood.

We ended the road trip in Daytona Beach to spend a couple days with family. Thanks again to Scott and Diana Devault for putting my whole family up for 2-days and feeding us until we couldn’t eat any more. It was a great pre-vacation vacation with you guys! Yankees doing southern hospitality right.

The following week itself was just as awesome staying at the Summer Bay Resort in Orlando. The first time we’ve ever stayed at such a place. Beautiful condo, lots of space, many pools and nice lake with toys. It was great for Teresa and Summer to come and visit with us a couple days as well.

We hit SeaWorld and Bush Gardens this trip down. SeaWorld being a favorite and Bush Gardens being one we’ve never gone too. All 3 are roller-coaster fanatics now that their older. Lightening and rain unfortunately chased us out of both parks earlier than hoped. Tall steel roller-coasters and storm clouds don’t mix apparently.

After 2,500 total miles on the caravan and a LONG trip home, it was back to the grind.

20150530 washingtondcfieldtripI chaperoned a field trip with Brandon’s 8th grade class from St Pats this last week. We had an awesome 4 FULL days of touring that left everyone exhausted. I made this trip once before with Nate so I suppose I’ll let Jean go next year with Aly seeing as she’s never been to DC before!

It’s pretty amazing how much we got to see. I logged 23 miles of walking over the 4 days! My highlight was watching some fool jump a fence at the whitehouse and get put to the ground.

Here's a photo gallery of the field trip.

Incredible job organizing to Mrs. McCrady and Mrs. Palmer. Here is a list of things we saw and experienced this week.

  • Arlington National Cemetery (& Changing of the Guard)
  • Vietnam Memorial
  • Korean Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Reflecting Pool and Mall
  • World War II Memorial
  • Iwo Jima Memorial
  • National Archives
  • Air & Space Smithsonian
  • U.S. Capital
  • City of Alexandria
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
  • Halocaust Museum
  • Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • Air Force Memorial
  • Whitehouse
  • FDR Memorial
  • MLK Memorial
  • Jefferson Memorial
  • Mount Vernon

20150422 rockrollinductionceremonyJean and I had an awesome time this last weekend at the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Public Hall in Cleveland.

Turns out it’s only in Cleveland every 3 years, rotating between CLE, LA & NY. We scored the 2 tickets through my work and Jean was jacked about it all week long.  

Not being a music buff, I wasn’t as excited, however once we got there and I realized how awesome it was, and we had a blast. Being able to see so much talent in 1 place was incredible and likely something we’ll never experience again.

During the 6 hour show… yes 6 hours… we saw all of the following perform…. in no particular order; Green Day, Stevie Wonder, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, John Mayer, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Zac Brown, John Legend, Bill Withers, Miley Cyrus & Beck. Amazing!

Thanks for the tickets Rich!

20150308 catholicfamilyoftheyearWow, I was definitely caught off guard at church this last weekend when the Knights of Columbus presented us with the 2015 Catholic Family of the Year award. A great appreciation to whomever was involved in giving this award to our family.

I can’t say how super-proud it made me that we all were recognized to that extent. Many thanks to Jean and the kids as you all really help keep me on point and make me want to be the best I can be.

The recognition the kids received at church and at the KofC Founders Day Dinner is really what makes the heart warm. They’ve definitely been mine and Jean’s driving force over the past 16 years, so it’s good to feel they have a better-than-average chance of not becoming dirt-bags.

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