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TACAMO Fallen Veteran - Rey Sanchez, VQ-3

AFCM Reynaldo I. Sanchez, USN Retired

submitted by Rey Sanchez, JR


Born in Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines Jul 26, 1936. The eldest child of 13 children. He was witness to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines from 1941-1945. He was relocated multiple times with his mother and brother, while his father served with the guerilla resistance. His parents refused to let Reynaldo and his brother attend Japanese School.

After attending Far Eastern University in Manila he joined the US Navy at Sangley Pt in 1955 to serve as a steward, the only role Philippine Nationals were allowed to perform.

Following Recruit Training he was assigned as the Captain’s Steward on the USS Newport News (CA-148). At the completion of his tour, the captain helped him change his rating from Steward (TN) to Airman (AN) and he attended “A” school for Aviation Machinist Mate in 1956.

He was a pioneer at that time as Philippine Nationals were not permitted to change their rating specialties until 1971. Following his conversion to the aviation field he served as a Flight Engineer in various types of Naval aircraft in commands all over the world for 30 years.

His service to his country has been recognized through personal awards: Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Battle “E”, 7 Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service (3 bronze stars), and Vietnam Campaign Medal (2 gold Wreaths)

Duty Stations:

RTC, San Diego VC-10, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

USS Newport News (CA-148) VT-27, Corpus Christi, TX

VA-33, Atlantic City, New Jersey VR-21, Barbers Pt, Hawaii

USS Intrepid (CVA-11) HT-18, Milton, FL

VC-5 Det Alfa, Cubi Pt, Philippines VQ-3, Agaña, Guam/Barbers Pt, Hawaii

VT-27, New Iberia, LA Naval Recruiting District, Los Angeles

His most rewarding “NAVY” assignment was serving as the Command Master Chief of VQ-3-NAS Barbers Pt. The spirit of the Squadron, his many friends, and his thousands of flight hours in the EC-130 were a highlight in his 30 years of service.

His most important assignment was VT-27 at NAS New Iberia, Louisiana, where he met and married the love of his life, Beverly St. Clair. Three years later they were reassigned to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where their son Rey Jr was born. Two duty stations later their son Rick was born in Hawaii.

Rey was the head of a true Navy family that embraced the adventure of multiple moves over the years. He was proud of his son, Rey Jr, and Daughter-in-Law, Gema’s naval service, his younger son Rick, and his two adoring grandchildren, Veronica and Trey.

After he retired from Naval Service, he and his family settled in Apple Valley, CA. He spent the rest of his professional career as a Gas Turbine Test Engineer with General Electric for 15 years.


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