Honoring & Remembering: Master Chief Petty Officer Gary G. Bliss

Master Chief Petty Officer Gary G. Bliss, USN Retired, was born April 11, 1936 to Herbert and Coral Bliss.  They lived on a farm on Bluff Road, where he was born.

Gary Bliss

During his senior year at Vermillion High School, a recruiter convinced Gary and two of his friends to join the reserves.  So, he attended drill meetings along with his friends.

A while after he graduated from Vermillion High School, he enlisted in the United States Navy in Sioux City, IA on Jan. 13, 1955.

He was sent to Great Lakes, IL, for Boot Camp.  While there he was selected as "Honor Man" for his recruit company.  There was one man chosen from each company.

First duty station for Gary was on the USS Lake Champlain CVA-39, an attack aircraft carrier, whose home port was at Mayport, FL.

His next duty was in Athens, GA, where he attended Navy Supply School.

The USS Zellars DD-777 was where he went next and its home port was Mayport, FL.  He ran the ship's office.  They were part of the US Navy Armada during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a near nuclear confrontation.

"When our notification of deployment was given, most of our crew was on leave.  We had to send telegrams to all of them to get back so we could have a crew and get underway.  When we arrived in the area we had to stay out of port because of the situation the United States was in.  So, fueling became a problem.  We had to refuel at sea while underway," he said. "We had an officer on board who spoke Russian, so he communicated for our ship to the Russian trawlers. We were on patrol all of the time for two months.  It was touch and go the whole time.  Finally the Russians took down the missiles and we went home with a terrible tragedy having been averted."

Gary's next duty was Patrol Training Squadron Thirty VP-30 aircraft at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, MD. It was during this time that he advanced to Chief Personnel man.

Later he relocated to San Diego, CA, and was assigned to Staff, Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet at North Island, San Diego.  Again he was promoted to Senior Chief.

His final duty was at Enlisted Personnel Distribution Office, U.S. Pacific Fleet at Nas North Island and promoted to Master Chief.

After 20 years serving our country, Gary decided to retire.  He and his wife, Verna, and their two children stayed in San Diego, where he eventually started his own business and is now retired from that.  They  keep busy with their two children's families, especially their three grandchildren.

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