U.S.S. California
DLGN-36 / CGN-36
The Golden Grizzly
In The Beginning, Memories of a Plank Owner

Hello, my name is Rich Schetroma and the little guy that I am holding is my grandson Jonathan. I am a former Navy Electricians Mate-2 and a Plank Owner of the USS California (DLGN-36). In June of 1997, feeling a little nostalgic on the 20th anniversary of my discharge from the Navy, I did an Internet search on the USS California and found no information about her early days. Going through my scrapbook, I realized that I had enough information to publish a page.
I hope that you enjoyed the tour of my California scrapbook. Any former California crew members are invited to email me any information, sea stories, or scanned pictures that you would like to see included on this site. I am trying to document a list of all Commanding and Executive Officers; if anyone has biographies from cruise books, I would appreciate it if you would Email me a copy.
I was born and raised in Natalie, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the Mount Carmel Area School District in May of 1971. I had already enlisted in the Navy's delayed enlistment program the previous December and I entered active duty on 15 June 1971 from the New Cumberland Army Depot and reported for Basic Training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Illinois. I was a member of Company 167 (Campbell's Cowboys); 1st Regiment; 13th Battalion. Recruit training commenced on 21 June 1971 and was completed on 13 August 1971.
After Basic Training, I remained at Great Lakes and attended Basic Electricity and Electronics School and Electrician's Mate 'A' School where I was a member of Class 2417 graduating on 11 February 1972.
I was next assigned to temporary duty for six months aboard the USS Henley DD 762. During this time I made several 2 week Reserve Training Cruises and a Battle Readiness Cruise to GITMO.
I then reported to US Naval Nuclear Power School in Bainbridge, Md. where as a member of SECT. 73-01-5 I graduated on 2 March 1973. I then reported to the TYPE D1G Nuclear Power Plant Training Unit at West Milton, New York.
Upon graduation I was assigned to the pre-commissioning crew of the California at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Virginia. I remained a member of the California's Crew until my discharge on 14 June of 1977.
I was married on 10 August 1974 to Mary Theresa (Cimino) who is still my bride and have two children. Our son Jeff was born in September 1976 during the California's first Med Cruise. He is now a Staff-Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and is currently stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. Our daugher Cathy graduated from Elizabethtown College in May 2000 and is presently a fifth grade teacher in the Derry Township School District's Intermediate Elementary School in Hershey, Pa. (Chocolatetown, USA! Yes the town really does smell like chocolate and the streetlamps are shaped like Hershey's kisses!)
After my discharge from the Navy, we moved back home to Pennsylvania and I was hired as an electrician at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. Where I now serve as the Electrician Supervisor.
When I first learned the sad fate of the nuclear powered cruisers, the California and the South Carolina were the only 2 remaining. The Navy had scrapped all four of the Virginia Class Cruisers even though these were "new" ships; (the Arkansas was commissioned in 1980). Now, the last of the nuclear powered cruisers are gone.
The Navy continues to expand the fleet of nuclear powered aircraft carriers. They extol the virtues of unlimited range and no dependence on foreign oil supplies in an age where the "hot spot" of the world is the oil producing area. What will be the life expectancy of these carriers if the rest of the battle group is out of service due to a lack of fuel?

According to Navy officials, ships with the least potential for future growth and are the least cost efficient to operate have been proposed for decommissioning.
The high expense with overhauls and refueling, along with their high cost of supporting the necessary infrastructure, has made the nuclear cruisers a target for replacement.

In January 1993 CALIFORNIA completed a three-year refueling complex overhaul, including new high endurance reactor cores and the New Treat Upgrade Combat Systems Suite. Upon completion of the overhaul, basically, a new ship was returned to the fleet. After only five years, the Navy scrapped her!

Talk about being cost efficient! One must question the wisdom of returning to the old oil guzzling days.

My Wife-Theresa, Daughter-Cathy, Me
son & daughter
Son-Jeffrey and Daughter-Cathy
son's family
Jeffrey, his wife-Jamie, & Son-Jonathan
Jonathan Michael Schetroma
Born-8 December 1997
Photo at age 5 weeks

Four Generations of Schetroma Men
Four Generations
Anthony F.
U.S. Marine Corps
5/42-5/46 &
Jeffrey S.
U.S. Air Force
9/94 - Present
Richard L.
U.S. Navy
6/71 - 6/77
Jonathan M.
May there be no need

Front Page The Ship The Crew Ship's Insignia Pictures The Commissioning
CO's List XO's List The News Sea Stories Awards Previous Californias
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