Interview Transcript

BAILEY:Testing one, two, three, four, testing, testing, we're recording. This is an interview with Karen Gilbank--?


BAILEY: --who served with the United States Navy during the periods November 1979 through August of '87 in active duty, and also May 1989 through December '91, in the reserves. This interview is being conducted at the Hedberg Public Library at the address of 316 South Main Street, Janesville, Wisconsin. Today's date is May 6, 2013. I am the interviewer, and my name is Chuck Bailey. Karen, where we'll start is actually before your military service, so first touch on your background and your life before you went into the military. What year were 1:00you born and what was your hometown?

GILBANK: Well, I was born in 1955. My parents--folks--lived in Palo Alto, California. My dad was a pilot in the Navy, so we weren't there long before we moved.

BAILEY: I see. Did you attend school there in California?

GILBANK:I was what they referred to as a Navy brat where you're traveling, and I lived in a variety of places as a child in the States and also in Guam. But when--right before I started high school my father retired from the Navy and they settled in the Mountain View-Los Altos, California, where I started high school. So, I had four years of high school there and, I got a degree from Chico State University in Chico, California.

BAILEY: Following your regular high school.


GILBANK: Right, actually--

BAILEY: Right out of high school you attended college?

GILBANK: Yes I did. I went to Foothill junior college in Los Altos Hills for two and a half years, and then I transferred to Chico State, and I've got a degree [coughs] a Bachelor of Science degree in June of 1978 in business, business management.

BAILEY: Okay. And you decided--you mentioned your father was in the military--and so that required a degree of travel. Do you have any siblings?

GILBANK: Yes I do. I have a sister--an older sister--well, two younger brothers, and then my father. My parents were divorced when I was in high school and my father remarried. And so I have two brothers--a brother and a step-brother of his marriage, second marriage.

BAILEY: I see. Was it your intent then, after high school and attending college 3:00that you may get into the military?

GILBANK: Um, I liked being a child in the military. I liked the camaraderie, traveling in different exotic places, and so it was always in the back of my mind. But when I graduated from college I went to work at San Francisco for an insurance company for a year, and it was that time that I decided I wanted to see the world. And so I joined.

BAILEY: Okay. Well, now we'll get into your military service. Um, so you were working with an insurance firm?


BAILEY: And was that in northern California?

GILBANK: That was in the San Francisco Bay area.

BAILEY: I see.So you indicated why you entered, and actually you enlisted, so 4:00you felt pretty good about your intention to enlist. And was it what you thought it might be when you first signed up?

GILBANK: Well, Officer Candidate School was a new experience. I mean, you're not--I didn't, wasn't, you know, it was all new to me--that is the training portion--from what I had experienced as a child, of course. That's pretty intense and rigorous.

BAILEY: Now, oftentimes officer candidate training will be conducted in college. What you're referring to was after you enlisted, you were sent to Officer Candidate School?

GILBANK: Right. There was three different avenues you could take: you could go through the academy--which I didn't--you could affiliate with a college that operated a ROTC scholarship program--which, I didn't do that--or you could get your degree and then enlist, and that's the avenue I went, because while you are in Officer Candidate School, you are considered enlisted E grade, E-5. And you were paid as enlisted and it wasn't until you got your commission as an ensign 5:00that you were paid as an officer.

BAILEY: So, when you initially volunteered for the Navy, what--were there any guarantees other than you were promised to attend officer candidate? Was there any additional guarantees the military gave you on assignment or type of specialty that you might work in?

GILBANK: No, and it works a little bit different from the enlisted side. I was going as an eleven-o-five which is unrestricted line, and so you are eligible for a multitude of jobs. So that's different from whether you're designated for a certain field like diving and salvage, or seals, or something. I was designated as eleven-o-five, and so with the obligation of serving four years. 6:00And it wasn't until I got to Officer Candidate School that they gave you a preference card and you could put your preference in order of one--first, second, or third choice of whether you wanted the billet or the station. And I chose as my number one choice Guam, because I had lived there as a child, and I really enjoyed that experience. And I made a promise to myself when I was seven years old, living in Guam that I would one day return which some people refer to as my MacArthur moment.

BAILEY: I see.

GILBANK: So that--so the location was my number one consideration, and I figured it was my best opportunity to get Guam.

BAILEY: So of the two options--billet or station--you picked station and you were given three choices. What--where else could you put down?

GILBANK: Well, you could put the type of station, for example, whether you 7:00wanted to be in a naval station or a naval air station, or you could pick location, or you could put the type of billet you wanted to perform. And so I went for location just because of that pledge I had made to myself when I was seven years old.

BAILEY: Where did you attend Officer Candidate School?

GILBANK: It was in Newport, Rhode Island, at the Naval Education and Training Center.

BAILEY: So, can you tell me a little bit about the base, and the facilities, and your experience after you checked in and going through training?

GILBANK: Well you check in and basically it's a series of different subject matter that they teach you in Navy, and navigation, and personal administration. I know there was six different types of issues, or subjects, I'm sorry. And so there's a lot of material thrown to you in a very short amount of time, and it's 8:00all new. It was all new material. And so then you were tested repeatedly, you know, past certain standards so you had mastered--not mastered, but qualified--in those areas.

BAILEY: So, you had examinations you had to qualify in or pass each of those topic areas that you cover in training?

GILBANK: Right. We just had to pass them. There was a certain standard you had to meet, but in the same time that you were--my husband referred it to like college course material, because actually that's where I met him too. He was in my company--Delta Company--in Officer Candidate School. And of course we didn't date until after we had both gotten our commission, but he happened to be in my company too. But at the same time, you're standing personal inspection, how to 9:00wear your uniform, your standing room inspection which had to meet certain standards, you had fiscal education standards. Um, you stood watches. You might book a watch where you were walking around, and but--

BAILEY: Fire and security type.

GILBANK: Right, and from two to four in the morning in the winter of Rhode Island and there was a boiler room you were allowed to go in and get warmed up. Or you might stand, like your company would have an inspection for the living space--living quarters--and you, your company--they stress working as a team there. So your team mates were required to help clean the space--the hallways--and the entryway to the rooms or the quarters. And then you would, one person would stand inspection. So you--after dinner--so you would be waiting out there in the hallway for the officer in charge to come around at maybe nine 10:00o'clock at night to inspect those spaces. And of course if you flunked any of these things that I have mentioned, you would have to stand re-inspection, and if you flunked re-inspection, you got to march around with your rifle on Saturday mornings. And so, I had that experience several times.

BAILEY: [Laughs] Maybe we can put this this occasion into perspective with what time frame was this that you arrived at OCS [Officer Candidate School] and how long did it--

GILBANK: OCS is normally a sixteen week course, so I started in November I believe--

BAILEY: November of what year--?

GILBANK: 1979. I believe that they gave us about two weeks over Christmas break. So the officers and enlisted that ran the program, we would be able to have a 11:00break there. I ended up getting my commission on May 30th of 1980, was when I was commissioned ensign.

BAILEY: Now you mentioned two weeks over Christmas that they pretty much shut the place down. Do you stay there at the base? Did you go somewhere else for Christmas?

GILBANK: No. I actually--I had a grandmother lived in Pennsylvania, and so I managed to get transportation down with some other people going in that direction and spent the two weeks with my grandmother which was really nice, 'cause normally with my family living on the west coast and she being on the East Coast, it gave me a chance to reconnect with her for those two weeks.

BAILEY: Must have been nice.

GILBANK: It was thank you.

BAILEY: Hmm. Well you mentioned you met your husband at OCS, and we'll touch that in a moment, but can you recall any instructors or any other individuals in OCS training that might stick out in your mind?


GILBANK: Um, well I remember the company officer's name. The thing is, I like to get permission from the people before I use their name in case they don't want it used. But I will just say that the officers, and the staff, and the senior enlisted that helped run the program were very professional and they did a good job.

BAILEY: And so the same would be in the case of buddies. Was there any one that--

GILBANK: Oh, I did. I had my very first roommate. See, once again, I haven't, I lost track of her--

BAILEY: I understand, but maybe we could just talk about the person rather than your hesitation about identifying her.

GILBANK: Okay. Great, that's great. We got along great. My first roommate, she was great. And then, what happened was, there was two other individuals in the company that didn't get along so well, so they ended up moving my roommate over to "foxtrot" company, and I got one of the other two individuals which was kind 13:00of disappointing to me. But, you know.

BAILEY: Well, I was stationed near New England and I--there were a number of things that I did in my military career. While you were there in Newport, was--what kind of recreation were you involved with?

GILBANK: Well, Saturday mornings they--we had P.T. physical education where we played running Frisbee, and we had competition between the companies. And then after you had P.T. on Saturday mornings, when you got more into the program, first they would give you liberty, but you couldn't go off of the base. And then towards the end of the program, you would get given liberty and you could actually go off of the base. That was between Saturday afternoon and through Sunday night.

BAILEY: Do any of those off base opportunities stand in your mind while you were there?


GILBANK: No 'cause I didn't have a car. [laughs]

BAILEY: I see.

GILBANK: So you're kind of landlocked there--on base.

BAILEY: Okay, so you mentioned your husband there at OCS and you were in the same company, so I don't know what made me think it would be all women and all men, so the companies were I guess you could say co-ed?

GILBANK: Right. I--now this is just from memory, but I think it was around 1978 where all the women were housed together in one place, but when I was there in November of '79, they had incorporated the men and women at, I believe it was King Hall and into the same company. And so you had--maybe in Delta Company, we started off with thirty people and you'd have two to a room. You'd of course have another female. I had another female. The others did too. The women had other females. And then you were like every other room basically of men and women 15:00officer candidates.

BAILEY: I see. Well, also being as I mentioned--having spent some time up in New England, do you have fond memories of Newport, or an experience of OCS?

GILBANK: I do. I really liked Newport because they also had different type--opportunities, like they had these YPs you'd throw out to simulate what it would be like on a Navy ship when you did navigation.

BAILEY: And an YP would be?

GILBANK: I think yard patrol boats. Now remember we're going back over thirty years here. Okay. And they had what they called the buttercup, where it was like in the pool. It was to be like a ship and you would get on it, and it was cold water, and they try and sink it on you, and you would have to go and plug up the holes, damage control, those kinds of things. And you had swimming criteria to 16:00meet, and jump off the platform, you--

BAILEY: Tread water.

GILBANK: You tread water, and run a mile in such and such amount of time. [coughs]

BAILEY: And now you mentioned, to touch base again with your husband. Were you married then, soon after you graduated or--?



GILBANK: Excuse me. After I graduated, I attended a five week communications course at NETC, Newport, Rhode Island, the same place. And he--while I was there, he had gone off to the ship he was gonna be stationed on, and he came back for service warfare officer's school. And so while I was going to communications school, I had my--

BAILEY: Commission

GILBANK: Commission. He had his commission and he was going to vet school. We 17:00started dating, but the Navy was good enough to grant my request, and I got orders to Guam. And so now we had this long distance communication going.

BAILEY: Where was it that he went to his training after OCS?

GILBANK: He went to Norfolk, Virginia. He was on the USS Page.

BAILEY: I see. So, where you had your five week security, then did he have additional training after OCS, or did he go straight to--?

GILBANK: Well he went to Officers Candidate School and when he got his commission. He actually got his a little earlier than I did. He got his in March of 1980. He went to the USS Page for training until he could get a spot at the department head school service, for service warfare officer.

BAILEY: So they would've cutting orders from the Page to surface warfare training.

GILBANK: Well, they cut the orders and I think it's the Navy Military Personnel 18:00Command in Washington D.C. And then they would have, and he would have received them on the Page directing him to report to the surface warfare office.

BAILEY: Now on that occasion would his attending the surface warfare training as being a member of the crew of the Page, would he return to the Page, or after--?

GILBANK: He did.

BAILEY: He did, okay.

GILBANK: He did after he finished his surface warfare training he did report to the Page, back to the Page.

BAILEY: And now you did mention, now, that was at Newport and after your communications training you were going to Guam.

GILBANK: Right. And, it was like a fifteen to eighteen month unaccompanied tour.

BAILEY: Twelve months?

GILBANK: Yes, it was.

BAILEY: Maybe before we get into the Guam, tell me a bit about the communications training. You said it was five weeks.

GILBANK: Right, just basic communication type theory, and 'course you have 19:00training on how to handle tugs, because you have to be able to keep track of secure tugs, that type of thing. And--but see, when I got to the Naval Communication Area Master Station, NavCam, [inaudible] Guam, basically the ensigns that had to ride there previously to me which were mainly females, because most of the males ended up--if they didn't have a special designator like diving or something or, they went to the ships. So back in there, I did have two classmates that went to sub tenders that were stationed in Guam. But back then, women could not serve on combatant vessels or in a combat unit that might be deployed in a combatant situation, and so a lot of the women and the 20:00ensigns at that time ended up taking shore billets. And so when I got to Guam, the ensigns that had arrived there before me had pretty much filled, were filling the division officer billets at the communications station, so I ended up being the human goals officer.

BAILEY: I see. When you concluded your five week training in communications, did that give you a designator then for communications?

GILBANK: No. We didn't--we were still considered unrestricted line officers.

BAILEY: Eleven-o-five.

GILBANK:No matter what job in your career you went to, as long, you would still stay in the eleven-o-five community.

BAILEY: So unlike enlisted where you have your different rates, you'll have designators based on the training you get from those rates.

GILBANK: Mm-hmm.

BAILEY: In your case or an officer field then, if you're designated like you're 21:00eleven o-five unrestricted, you can fill in as you said in Guam. You didn't fill in as communications officer, you filled in--was that human resource?

GILBANK: Human goals officer.

BAILEY: Oh, Human goals?


BAILEY: Now after you left Newport, did you have any time off? Did you do anything before going to Guam?

GILBANK: I think, well I will tell you, my family living in California was a great stop off point, so I spent a short amount of leave there, because I believe I took a military plane out of Hickam air force base and I remember my father driving me up there at Hickam to see me off.

BAILEY: I see. And again you mentioned your father retired from the military?

GILBANK: Yes, he was retired. He was a pilot and he had retired around 1968.

BAILEY: And so being a pilot, I suspect that he was commissioned officer as 22:00opposed to enlisted.

GILBANK: Right, yes he was. And actually, my father came--flew out to Newport, Rhode Island when I received my commission as Ensign. He was there, and it was wonderful to have him there.

BAILEY: Now, see how we're doing for the tape? Pretty good. So again, your first military assignment after your commission, as you've said, was there in Guam at the NavCam's WESTPAC [Western Pacific], and then the human goals department.

GILBANK: Division.

BAILEY: Oh, Division? Okay. So what did you do in that position? What were your responsibilities?

GILBANK: Well, I supervised this doctor, there was a chief, there was two first 23:00class petty officers that were trained, had gone through the school for drug and alcohol training, and then plus there was a yeoman. But besides this--that being my main duty as divisional human officer, I also had a number of collateral duties which all officers will, besides their main duty.

BAILEY: So do you recall any of those?

GILBANK: Yes I do, [both laugh] family advocacy rep. There was in the Navy at that time, recognition that there were some social problems that needed to be addressed in such sensitive areas as maybe child neglect, abuse, spouse abuse. And so I sat on a board at the Navy regional medical center in the hospital, and with a board of other trained professionals, because I didn't have a background 24:00in that, and was basically like the command liaison between them and Navy department heads. To working with department heads for individuals to maybe see that they got the time off from work if they needed to attend some kind of training session and then a follow up. So I didn't do any--I didn't meet with any of the individuals personally, and I didn't do any type of counseling.

BAILEY: And this would, you're reporting to Guam, you recall, it was probably, you graduated in May--

GILBANK: Oh, I reported there around August of 1980, and I was there until about December of 1981.

BAILEY: Now you mention how when you were younger you accompanied your father, 25:00while he was there, along with your siblings and mother, I presume--

GILBANK: Oh, right. In Guam, that's right.

BAILEY: Yeah, so talk about Guam. Did it bring back memories?

GILBANK: Oh, love to. It was a happy time for our family because, well first of all, you spent, when my father wasn't deployed with his--we spent time going to the beach, and so those were happy memories. There--we didn't have TV there.

BAILEY: This is earlier when you were a child.

GILBANK: When I was a child, so we didn't have TV there as a child so you spent all your time at--not on video games, they weren't invented yet--outside and outdoors playing volleyball, going to the beach. Just--and you had a lot more interaction with your neighbors and friends, because you didn't have family 26:00there and you didn't have those other diversions like TV and Internet, that type of thing. And so the big thing I remember about that time was there were typhoons, and we had a couple of typhoons there.

BAILEY: Now, again, are we talking about as a child, or when you were reporting?

GILBANK: As a child. This was a child, and we had a couple of big typhoons. In fact, one of them was typhoon Karen, and so I have memories of that experience. And so when I was there as an adult, when I had come back, we only had like one typhoon--typhoon Betty. Which, you have the weathers can be--we do have a lot of tropical storms, and so it brought memories of that back.

BAILEY: I see. I would suspect then from when you were a child to now as a commissioned officer, you probably were involved in some other activities while 27:00you were on duty. What kind of duties were you assigned or were you involved with?

GILBANK: I--well, up to today, I'm SCUBA [Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus] certified.


GILBANK: So the ocean is just gorgeous, and so it gave me an opportunity to do that. So two of my friends were other female ensigns there that got involved with a local Girl Scout troop as leaders. So I helped them out with that, and local Girl Scout Troop. I actually went on a trip with another girl friend. We went to Hong Kong. So we got the ability to travel. We went there for a week. I played volleyball on the cap--let's see--the command woman's volleyball team. So--

BAILEY: I was stationed in the Philippines and they had the type of intermural 28:00sports that they had, they just about one went right into the other which was a great preoccupation for people to. They say idle hands are the work of the devil, so to speak. So other than the volleyball, I suspect that there were other sports, maybe they came around, or was that predominantly what you---?

GILBANK: Oh, the command had a football team. So, but I helped a little bit with the cheerleaders, organizing them. But--even though I was never a cheerleader.

BAILEY: You mentioned your trip to Hong Kong with a friend?


BAILEY: Okay, was that somebody then you had met there and you had a friendship with her?

GILBANK: She was. She worked in the, oh, um, I'm just trying to think. There was a clinic there--a hospital clinic there--and actually, I think when you go 29:00diving you need a buddy. And, so we went to the diving program together, and so then we just happened to go to Hong Kong too.

BAILEY: Okay. So tell me about your trip to Hong Kong. How long was it?

GILBANK: Oh, it was about a week, and I made some good friendships there also from people that were on the base that I didn't know, because there was a housing area.

BAILEY: There's a military base in Hong Kong?

GILBANK: I'm--not in the base, I'm sorry, I should have clarified that. There's a housing area and NavCam's [inaudible] for families and so see, originally I was in base housing, and then they moved off base. Being unaccompanied, I wasn't in the housing area for dependents. So I kind of connected with these families on the trip to Hong Kong that I didn't previously know.


BAILEY: So they offered through the special services, or leisure, I forget how they--

GILBANK: Special services--there was a naval station at the other end of the island and they had a travel section. And they would offer trips once in a while, and so I saw this one on Hong Kong and that's when I signed up for it and I talked my girlfriend into going, or asked her if she would go, because it's more fun to travel with people you know, instead of going by yourself. And so, but that's when I made some other connections with people from the base area that I didn't know in Guam. And actually as a result of that, I used to house sit then. When some of these people would take leave they might go back to stateside to see families and they--it was a nice benefit, so I was helping them out so they would not leave their place unoccupied, and I was also getting a 31:00chance to get out of the apartment.

BAILEY: That was off base at the time?


BAILEY: Okay. So the trip to Hong Kong was a structured event with other military people.

GILBANK: Well, I'm just trying to think, um--

BAILEY: And they had established accommodations there, so they had a hotel--

GILBANK: We had a hotel, but it was up to us what kind of day trips we wanted to go on and so--

BAILEY: Is there anything from Hong Kong stick in your mind as memorable?

GILBANK: Well, I have to say that later, not--well, we did go on one of those Junkets for a dinner cruise. But it really--and then I also returned there when my husband was stationed in Hawaii, with my husband and daughter, and we went to sea world. They had a sea world up there in the top of one of the mountains, and--


BAILEY: In Hong Kong?

GILBANK: In Homg Kong.

BAILEY: Oh my goodness, okay.

GILBANK: That was in the early '90s and so I had actually went to Hong Kong twice, 'cause my husband's ship rolled into Hong Kong, and my daughter and I--she was about three at the time--flew, must have been '89, flew out to Hong Kong, met him and we went to sea world.

BAILEY: Um, you mentioned the time period you were in Guam from 1980 to near the end--December of '81. Was your future husband then--did he come to Guam during this period?

GILBANK: He did. He did actually take leave and came out and see me, and it was great so you know, so we did the beach thing.

BAILEY: I see. But you weren't married while you were still there in Guam?

GILBANK: No, I was not married.

BAILEY: Okay. Let's see, and do you recall anything specific during your tour 33:00there at Guam that might stick in your mind? You mentioned you had some typhoons and scuba training. Do you remember any other events that might have occurred, at the time that you can recall?

GILBANK: Um, just trying to think. Well, no, it was just a great time--it was a great place to be. Oh, yes, there is. It was a great place to be stationed. The people were great. The people I worked with were very professional. The command was very supportive. So I have fond memories of Guam. You know the Navy is steeped in tradition, in the command, for example had a dining out where all the officers in mess and the civilians had a dinner, following the protocol for a 34:00dining out. And there was a representative from each of the different branches of the service, and you would make toasts at the end with port. There was also--I had the chance--there was a visiting Japanese destroyer I think it was, at one time. We had the chance to go out on the destroyer, and have what they call--I think [intelligible] hors d'oeuvres with them.

BAILEY: Uh, this is now starting tape one side B. This is an interview with Karen Gilbank, who served with U.S. Navy during the periods November '79 to August of '87. Active duty in May '89 [79] to December of '91. This interview is being conducted at the Hedberg Public Library at the address of 316 South Main Street, Janesville, Wisconsin. Today's May 6, 2013 and I'm the interviewer, 35:00Chuck Bailey. We're talking with Karen and we just went over her first assignment after officer candidate school which was in Guam, having revisited some years after she was a child, having been there with her father. Is there anything else you can recall about Guam you might want to add? Was it professionally a good fit? Did you have--were there any awards or any citations you might have received in that period?

GILBANK: Well, like the last two months of my time there, the command rotated me out into the fleet telemution [telecommunication] operation center where I was observing; you know I was just like in training of observation of what went on with that area. But I wasn't there very long before I received orders to 36:00CINCLANT Fleet, the Commander in Chief US Atlantic fleet in Norfolk, Virginia.

BAILEY: Now the period you just mentioned that you were briefly at the telecommunication center, that was how long? A couple months?

GILBANK: At most two months.

BAILEY: I see. So that gave you some insight on the communications process and the traffic flowing--

GILBANK: And ships communication--

BAILEY: Voice and teletype. I see. Did you pull watches there with the comm Pacific?

GILBANK: I did. I got to experience what it's like with the late shift and--

BAILEY: During the new crypto day--?

GILBANK: And I've got a lot of admiration for the people who worked that shift, because my body never really adjusted where there's hours where you work all night into the early morning and then you have to sleep during the day.

BAILEY: Did they have a rotating shifts like two, two, two, and eighty? Where 37:00two day shifts, two night shifts, two evening shifts, and eighty hours off?

GILBANK: I--what sticks in my mind was just working that late night shift and trying to sleep during the day with all that sun coming through and the noise. But that's what I remember.

BAILEY: I guess what you might see is a number of the enlisted personnel changing then from every couple days if they were on rotation.

GILBANK: I might have. It's just that that portion doesn't really stick in my memory.

BAILEY: We'll move on to the next assignment with CINCLANT fleet staff. Now was that something you requested, or were you surprised to get those orders?

GILBANK: Well, my husband was still stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.


BAILEY: But not your husband yet?

GILBANK: I'm sorry, that's right. Not--my husband to be, I should say. And so, we were trying to get stationed together. And so at my request, I'd requested the Norfolk area, and so that's where they were able to put me in basically the similar type of work, but more in the policy end of it--human goals. Well, it's not human--human resource center. I was considered human resource officer, and worked with the fleet and drug alcohol officer.

BAILEY: You worked with that individual?

GILBANK: Right, I would assist him in writing reports, because back at that time--I don't know if you remember this--they started the portable urinalysis testing onboard ships, and other military installation as subs, and--


BAILEY: Shore and air squadrons.

GILBANK: Shore and air squadrons that type of thing. And so there was a lot of direction in regard to a new screen--the urinalysis program, because there were new challenges in court. And so from the time that samples were collected to the time that they went to lab, you had to observe certain procedures. For example, the chain of custody couldn't be broken or they would not--the results would not stand up to challenges in court. So what I recall about that period was the big CNO, Chief of Naval Operations, push for zero drug tolerance in the navy, in the military, and so they implemented using the urinalysis kit, portable urinalysis program, using portable urinalysis kits, and started using drug dogs and boarding those on vessels to bring back, bring down or act as a drug--as a 40:00deterrent to drug usage in the navy.

BAILEY: I see. Would you say then your position in the human resource center, as part of the CINCLANT fleet staff was directly resulting in--because the position you had in Guam with the--with your family advocacy and your drug office training?

GILBANK: It could be, because I believe they kind of made a position for an ensign there, because and that--they might have put me there cause my prior training. But-- 'cause the position, those orders are cut in Washington, but normally those at the CINCLANT Fleet level which was the upper echelon command, they would be staffing senior officer civilians and enlisted so usually ensign 41:00wouldn't be--not very many ensigns could be assigned to that area.

BAILEY: Alright, and as you mentioned earlier, being an unrestricted line officer you may have been assigned a communication position in the Norfolk area just as possible as--

GILBANK: It's possible, but I guess that's where they could find me a billet there.

BAILEY: I see.

GILBANK: Oh, I would like to mention that while--when I was in Guam, I was an ensign, and when I transferred to CINCLANT Fleet I was an ensign, and then I became a senior ensign. I had the honor of being designated the bull ensign which is a senior ensign and Vice Admiral Sanderson [James Sanderson] put my bull bars on me, and because this is another Navy tradition that kind of 42:00explains in a humorous way what an ensign stands for, as far as how he's regarded in the Navy officer community. I did bring, it's a very short letter. I thought you might like to hear it.

BAILEY: Well, maybe we could--I don't know if that's something--

GILBANK: It's just two paragraphs.

BAILEY: Maybe we could, maybe make a copy of that to send up with--

GILBANK: Okay that's fine, because it basically explains what an ensign and bull ensign and how they're regarded.

BAILEY: Well, if you would like to do that you can read it. Yes we can do that, sure.

GILBANK: Okay. Because, it was, as I was taught at the time it was a real honor for the vice admiral to pin my bull ensign bars on me, but anyway, I'll just start it here. It says, "The designation of bull ensign marks a semi-important point in the professional and military growth of the young naval officer and is 43:00a relative measure of success. To this point, as an ensign one is an apprentice of sorts. As a lieutenant, junior grade, one is expected to know. That's as a bull ensign; one is on the threshold of presumed knowledge. It follows, therefore that while the new lieutenant junior grade becomes the most insignificant of the significant, the bull ensign becomes the most significant of the insignificant. It is this position relative to his peers from which the full draws his awesome responsibility. The configuration of the bull ensign bars is entirely appropriate. Gold, like ensign bars--insignificant--but large--significant. In accordance in the authority vested in me as the deputy in chief of staff, you are hereby designated bull ensign. You will not be entitled 44:00to any increase in pay allowance, nor to increased disciplinary powers under article five in our code of military justice. Vice Admiral U.S. Navy Sanderson, deputy chief of staff."

BAILEY: And what was the date of that?

GILBANK: That's 15 March of 1982.

BAILEY: 1982.

GILBANK: And they sent a copy to my service record.

BAILEY: Now the lapel device, was that different than a regular ensign's?

GILBANK: They were larger bars, so you couldn't miss 'em. And so that distinguished you apart from regular ensign.

BAILEY: And is this something conferred by an admiral or somebody of an admiral staff, or--you don't normally see that smaller bases?

GILBANK: Well, a lot of those commands would be the commanding officer would pin them on, and it might be a captain. And so it was just--


BAILEY: So now all ensigns prior to becoming junior grade lieutenants would be designated a bull?

GILBANK: It depends on if the command would observe this tradition, but it is one of the Navy traditions.

BAILEY: I see. Now, had you then observed other people in the CINCLANT Fleet staff that also received this?

GILBANK: No, because I can only vaguely recall there was one other ensign maybe being assigned there and so--

BAILEY: And that was due because you mentioned the CINCLANT Fleet staff were more senior officers, so as an ensign or even a lieutenant JG it's--there's not many of those billets even in the staff.


BAILEY: I see. So let's see. So we have you leaving about December of 1981 from Guam. Do you recall when it was then you reported to the CINCLANT Fleet staff?


GILBANK: December of 1981. I had just took a break for to see my family on the way back in California Christmas break, and then I reported in December of '81.

BAILEY: '81. Okay. So how did you like being a member of the admiral's staff?

GILBANK: Well, I did. Well, the admiral worked in a different office and he had his own staff personnel. Okay. Our office was manned by a captain, but I worked directly with a commander. So he was a great, great--it was a great staff to work with. Wonderful master chief, just very professional, helpful, two chiefs and master chief that I worked directly officer with--took orders directly from that commander.

BAILEY: But your letter head would still say CINCLANT Fleet.

GILBANK: Well, it said human resources--


BAILEY: Department or division.

GILBANK: Right. I was in the--it said human resources officer, and I was also on my fit rep.--fitness report--designated assistant to the fleet drug and alcohol officer which, the commander filled that billet.

BAILEY: I see. December 1981, so I don't know if with your father's military service, if he ever had a billet there in Norfolk. Had you been there to Norfolk prior to December?

GILBANK: No. I think my dad was basically the West Coast.

BAILEY: So tell me about your impressions on the base at Norfolk.

GILBANK: Norfolk Naval Station is the largest station in the world--military station in the world, and well this kind of goes in with it. After I had worked 48:00a little over a year at CINCLANT Fleet, I wanted to get more to the operational side of things. So, I transferred over to Naval Station Norfolk, 'cause I really wanted to go to sea on--get shipboard duty. And my command was really good and supportive of that, and they even put it on that I was highly recommended for a position at sea, but by then I was a senior ensign, and I was told I was too senior to get shipboard duty. And remember they didn't have many positions for women at sea, because you had to be--they only had noncombat vessels and support vessel, so there were fewer--there weren't that many positions where you could serve. And so I thought I would try to get over to port services, maybe work in port services at the naval station, but when I got to the naval station, I was 49:00assigned billeting.

BAILEY: To what?


BAILEY: Billeting.

GILBANK: Billeting department where they housed the enlisted and officers.

BAILEY: So how long were you on the CINCLANT staff?

GILBANK: I was there for about fourteen months; fourteen or fifteen months.

BAILEY: So then your transfer to the naval station, would have been about early 1982?

GILBANK: I think about March of 1982.

BAILEY: Um, let's see here--

GILBANK: Wait, wait, let's see, I reported in December of '81, okay, so yep. I reported to CINCLANT Fleet in December of 1981, so it would have been I believe March of 1983 that I transferred over to the naval station in Norfolk.

BAILEY: I see. You went over your duties and--oh when I touched about arriving 50:00at Norfolk during your tour there being such a large base, and then prior to that being in Guam, you were kind of limited in location you can do other than the trips were provided or made available to special services leisure and recreation. Did the base, the size of it, did you feel the enormity of it?

GILBANK: You do. I mean, all you have to do is drive by those piers and see of course a lot of the ships could be under way at any time, but see all those ships tied up at the pier, to get the enormity of it. And also in our billeting department we were in charge of like six, we called them, UOPH, unaccompanied 51:00officer personnel housing units. But just let's simplify it, 'cause they went back to calling it bachelor officer quarters, and there was like sixteen, around sixteen--we called them unenlisted, unaccompanied enlisted personnel housing which they switched back to BEQ, bachelor enlisted quarters, so there were about sixteen of those buildings. So there was like twenty two or twenty three between the officers and the enlisted berthing--

BAILEY: Buildings?

GILBANK: Buildings, or quarters that we were responsible for, so that--over five thousand beds. And just on, I believe it was on the enlisted side alone maybe, there were five thousand.

BAILEY: A lot of turnover then of accommodations--

GILBANK: A lot of turnover, because not only did you--you had people that would 52:00be berthed there on a permanent station. And on the enlisted side, I don't think that the officers that I recall were equipped to handle them there on a permanent basis, but on the enlisted side you would have them berthed there permanent status or temporary status. And they would be going to school, so you were interrupted a lot with the training command, because they might be training them, but you're berthing their people and depending on if they're on a temporary status or permanent status, and depending on their rate, dependent on how much square footage of living space that they were given. So there were a lot of factors involved there.

BAILEY: The amount of square footage that they're given, was that dictated then by their rank?

GILBANK: Yes, it was.


GILBANK: And, of whether they were permanently or they're temporary.

BAILEY: So a number of the quarters were designated as temporary housing. You 53:00have much more frequent comings and goings as opposed to other personnel that are assigned there that may be assigned there for several months or their entire tour for several years.

GILBANK: They also have--there was an ensign department which handled the pre-commissioning that would come in and be temporary billet while their ship, I mean berth, while their ship was being built or going through overhaul or something.

BAILEY: Now when you mention her as being an ensign again, you're still an ensign, a bull ensign, but--

GILBANK: Right. But I came in an ensign, but it wasn't long after that I became a lieutenant JG, because the progression is when you're an ensign two years, and then two years later you're--this is of course if you get good fit reps and you're promoted--you make lieutenant junior grade. And then you're lieutenant junior grade for two years, and then you're promoted to lieutenant as long as 54:00things are going well.

BAILEY: Okay. So that was roughly March of '82. Then you saw your goal of getting a sea command--not sea command--but a sea assignment as something you were pursuing when you got the bachelor quarters--the BEQ assignment. Did you think that was a good position? Did you enjoy that?

GILBANK: Well, actually it was my, I would say out of all of my--because of the scope of it, it was my most challenging there because my--I had a couple of different titles, but I was the bachelor enlisted quarters, UEPH, non-appropriated fund manager was one of my duties, which that was considered a 55:00division billet, as a division officer. But they--about like a year before that, they started offering housekeeping services at a cost of two dollars a day. Two enlisted that were there on a temporary basis if their orders warranted it, and they were going to school for example, and so then I had to supervise--

BAILEY: Had the books to keep--

GILBANK: Right--so they had an accountant or clerk, and house keepers, just to provide that, those housekeeping services or custodial workers, that's on the enlisted side. The officers on the BOQ [Bachelor Officer Quarters] had their own staff to do that.

BAILEY: So when they have that in place, were you instrumental then in the--I don't know if there'd been a contract with a service to come in, 56:00or would you interview and actually hire individual to do this training or the cleaning, rather?

GILBANK: Right, you'd have to interview and hire housekeepers, and I relied a lot on my senior housekeeper to do that and then, but--

BAILEY: Which was a civilian?

GILBANK: Civilian. They were all civilians. But you know in dealing with the issues that can arise with any place of employment, and then having to collect that two dollars charge a day and my predecessor--when I came into that position there was a large amount that had not been collected.

BAILEY: Been collected. Oh my goodness.

GILBANK: And so, it wasn't the easiest, because people that had charge of--that were eligible for those housekeeping services, the training command had custody of their orders--their records. And they would be the ones when they finished 57:00their school to give them their records, and we were constantly--and they made a good concerted effort--working with them to make sure they--the sailors--paid that two dollar housekeeping charge before they departed, because if they didn't I would have to send letters to them from command to command to command, tracking them down--which was not an easy task--trying to collect that two dollars. And not all of them were like that, some of them were very good about paying their bill and it was just a lack of follow-up maybe, but the problem was that if I-- in order to write off then an amount. Well put it this way: I had to write a letter to this commanding officer explaining why I could not collect the money in order for him to write it off. I wasn't allowed to write it off myself.


BAILEY: Your commanding officer or the individual's commanding officer?

GILBANK: The commanding officer of the naval station would have to sign off and so--

BAILEY: For all these individuals, they had not enough to spend on their beds.

GILBANK: They did not depart--they departed without paying their bill, and since that would be a direct reflection on my fitness report, you know I did a--tried to do a good job of making sure they paid those two dollar housekeeping services before they departed.

BAILEY: Were you able to then put in place any different policies that would address that?

GILBANK: Well, we just worked with the training command all the time and they--like I said, they made a really good concerted effort to try to collect that money because--before their individual left.

BAILEY: I see, before their departure.

GILBANK: And we did pretty good about getting the amount owed them, but I always thought that if I went and worked in the civilian community I could have made a good IRS agent.

BAILEY: [Laughs] Now when you were in that billet for the--and again, are you 59:00refer that to the bachelor officer, but what was the overall position that you had for all unaccompanied billeting?

GILBANK: Right, unaccompanied enlisted personnel housing non-appropriate fund manager. But I was also the assistant billeting officer, because the department--I was not the department head. Let's see. When I left--when I was there, the department head was a lieutenant. He left shortly, then we had a--we got a commander, and he left. We got another lieutenant, but I also was in charge of the people at the military service members of the central assignment desk where they assigned the rooms. So they were the ones that had to be 60:00constantly trained on how to interpret these orders that the individuals came in to decide where they're berthed. So to determine whether they were eligible for this housekeeping service, because of course if you put somebody in a room that was designated for housekeeping and they weren't covered for that funding, then you know, you're out of that money and you couldn't collect it.

BAILEY: You mentioned you thought approximately five thousand beds. You recall how many buildings, then, all these?

GILBANK: It was around six officer or bachelor officer quarters and around twenty two, sorry I mean sixteen bachelor enlisted quarters, buildings.

BAILEY: And that of course would include the separation for the chief petty officers, which they had their own--

GILBANK: Only the enlisted, right. They have their own designated area, maybe 61:00their own buildings or maybe the--there was one new barracks that was built, and they were put on the sixth floor on the very top, just to keep safety issues in mind when they were given that. So anyway, when this money was generated for housekeeping, then I would go out and I was required to get three bids to buy equipment and different amenities to put back into those rooms to prove the quality of life for enlisted. So I didn't need to spend so much time on the collection portion, but that just sticks in my mind. But the whole idea of providing the housekeeping service was to improve the quality of life of the sailor and purchase equipment that you could refurnish their rooms with.

BAILEY: What type of amenities did you furnish?

GILBANK: Well, one, carpeting, and towels. I think we provided radios, but I was 62:00constantly buying towels, and I would go back to them and I'd go, "Why do I have to buy so many towels all the time?" And then I kind of found out through the chain, "Oh, the sailors are using those to wash their cars with now."

BAILEY: [Laughs].

GILBANK: Or when they leave they somehow found a way, in their personal belongings to go with them, so they had to check that they didn't leave with their towels. But they would get ruined washing their cars and stuff.

BAILEY: Now, at that time were--for the enlisted--were they open bay or did they have cubicles that were separated by lockers or were they individual rooms?

GILBANK: Well, the enlisted that were there attending school depending on their 63:00rank, their rate, their square footage they were entitled to, they could either have one roommate or three roommates depending on the size of the room. But none of the enlisted except the chiefs would have their own room, but the enlisted up to E-5 would have--would be assigned with somebody else in the building.

BAILEY: Oh, so E-6 would have their own rooms?

GILBANK: If I remember correctly, an E-6 on up would have their own assigned room.

BAILEY: I see.

GILBANK: You know, but we're going back on my memory.

BAILEY: That's fine, sure. Um, and then how many people did you work with, or were you in charge of?

GILBANK: Well there was the custodial workers, that was about eleven or twelve. And then there directly--now this is just directly--and that's people at the 64:00central assignment desk, maybe thirteen there?

BAILEY: I see. Those were permanent assignments rather than somebody filling in while they're waiting for orders?

GILBANK: Correct, and then the accounting technician and as assistant billeting officer indirectly all those people that ran the BOQ's and the BEQ's, because even the ones that weren't responsible for providing housekeeping service and didn't get housekeeping service. Those would be all under--

BAILEY: Did you find many--I wouldn't recognize them as opportunities per se, but the need to check in on barracks in the off hours other than your--I 65:00presume, you're a--what they call a day worker.

GILBANK: Right, well, for--I should mention, for one thing. During hours the commanding officer and the executive officer would always come over and there would be barracks inspections. A lot of barracks inspections to make sure the place was kept up, and issues addressed if there were, usually they [phone rings] usually the department had--

BAILEY: Okay, we'll pause just for a moment.

GILBANK: You had to stand regular inspection, but usually the department head would walk around with the commanding officer and the executive officer to inspect the barracks, but after hours, we would also stood command duty officer, which we--which I also did in Guam, command duty officer after hours when the ensigns and CEO weren't on base anymore. And you would stand there two to three 66:00times a month. So if anything came up, like I believe there was a robbery attempt at one time, cause--and anything that would come up on the base, it wasn't just the billeting, it was the whole base.

BAILEY: And the base being the whole Naval Station, Norfolk.

GILBANK: Correct.

BAILEY: I see.

GILBANK: But most of the times issues I got were maybe from a commanding officer on a board ship who had pulled in and all the dumpsters were full and there was nothing, no place to dump their trash, and I would have to call public works and authorize overtime so they would go out and dump the dumpster so they could, you know.

BAILEY: So was that in your role as a command duty officer?

GILBANK: Command duty officer, so that was like two to three times a month, and then when you were command duty officer, nothing. You would make your rounds on 67:00an erratic basis, and if everything was quiet you were allowed to go to the BOQ room, and you were required to spend the night on base where of course the quarter deck could get in touch with you at any time.

BAILEY: I see. Did they have special billeting then at the headquarters for the command duty officer, or would they be able to go to their assigned housing on base?

GILBANK: There was a designated room at bachelor officer quarters.

BAILEY: Oh, for the duty officer of that day.

GILBANK: Right, 'cause most of the housing on, most of the housing for officers was just temporarily unless, if you were an admiral--they had permanent housing for admirals. But we handled the bachelor officer quarters and that was on a temporary basis, so there was a designated room for if you stood duty.

BAILEY: So during your tour of duty at Norfolk, or at least during this first 68:00assignment, did you have any opportunity to make any trips or have any excursions outside of the Norfolk base?

GILBANK: Well, yes, I did get married at Norfolk botanical gardens, and I'll just say while I was there. And my husband and I, well I will say that we went on a honeymoon over to Europe and he was on the Page at the time we got married.

BAILEY: Oh, he was still on the Page, then.

GILBANK: Right, he did transfer to--I think it was the USS Virginia, during his time there, but he was still on the Page when he got married and two days before we were to get married, his ship got underway unplanned, and so we lost--

BAILEY: Okay, we're starting side A of our second tape. This interview is with 69:00Karen Gilbank who served with the U.S. Navy from November 1979 to August of '87 and from May of '89 to December of 1991, the second period of time being in the reserves and the earlier being active duty. The interview is being conducted at the Hedberg Public Library 316 South Main Street in Janesville, Wisconsin. Today: May 6, 2013. My name is Chuck Bailey. Karen, you were telling me about while you were stationed at the naval station in Norfolk that you were married. When was th--what was the date of your marriage.

GILBANK: Well, I'll just say that it was in the spring of 1983.

BAILEY: Spring of '83.


BAILEY: So you reported in approximately December of '81 there to Norfolk, what year, you were telling me about your husband's ship, and there he got unexpected 70:00underway orders?

GILBANK: Right, two days before we were to get married, of course it's always kind of iffy if you try to plan a marriage and your husband or your spouse is in the military. So we picked a day, and two days the ship gets orders to get underway, and so we lost his best man on the ship, and the band that was to play at our wedding, and of course all of the husbands and guests. And so luckily they didn't--they allowed my husband to stay back and get married, [BAILEY laughs] but at the reception it was all women there.

BAILEY: I see. [laughs] And again you mentioned that was there in Norfolk at the botanical gardens?

GILBANK: Right. We got married at the peak of--when all the azaleas were in bloom.

BAILEY: Oh, that must have been pretty nice.

GILBANK: It was beautiful.

BAILEY: And now how long were you assigned then to Norfolk, again you started with the CINCLANT Fleet staff, and then you were human resources center of that 71:00assignment, and then you asked for transfer over to the naval station?

GILBANK: Right, I asked for orders to go, right.

BAILEY: So how long were you at the naval station, then?

GILBANK: Okay, I believe I got there in March of--did I say '83? And then I was there until about April of '85.

BAILEY: Okay. So we'll touch back about your marriage. Then you decided a honeymoon in Europe?

GILBANK: We did. We actually got two weeks of leave time for a honeymoon Europe which is actually a long time to actually get two weeks off.

BAILEY: Where did you go in Europe?

GILBANK: We went to Belgium, is where we landed, and we went to Amsterdam, and saw Keukinhoff with all the flowers in bloom, went down to the black forest in Germany, went over to Austria, Salzburg, and so it was my first time in Europe.

BAILEY: I see, sounded pretty enjoyable then. Did you travel using the trains or 72:00did you have a car?

GILBANK: We took the subway system.

BAILEY: Eurail?

GILBANK: I'm sorry, the Eurail system. Yup, so that was more economical.

BAILEY: Now, when you were married then, you mentioned about your husband, having went back to his ship, I think it was the Page. Was he still on the Page then, when you were married?

GILBANK: Okay. He was on the Page, 'cause I remember he was still on it because they were the ones who let him stay back for the wedding, but then he was reassigned to the USS Virginia, which I believe was in overhaul in Portsmouth at the time.

BAILEY: So when that reassignment--or not reassignment--but those orders to the Virginia, was that soon then after you were married?

GILBANK: You know, I didn't--I don't think it was that long afterwards because by then he had been on the Page for a while.


BAILEY: So you continued there Norfolk until '85. His orders to the Virginia, then again you had some separation?

GILBANK: Well, we were together until like May of '85 when I was assigned to recruiting duty and I had like a month's school in Orlando prior to reporting to the naval recruiting district in Columbus, Ohio, for recruiting duty. And so he was still on the Virginia, and see, now that we were married, we were trying to get stationed together. And I believe we actually made a trip up and actually talked to the--

BAILEY: Billet--

GILBANK: The billet, I'm sorry, the placement offices in D.C. I think it's the Navy and Military placement office. We went together and talked to them about fulfilling a billet and our primary concern was where they could station us both together, and so we didn't know what kind of billet they would put us in, or 74:00where they were going to assign us. But they assigned us both to naval recruiting duty district in Columbus, Ohio. But I finished my tour of duty. I had a three year original tour of duty in Norfolk. So my three year tour of duty was up before his was so I was sent separately in May of 1983, May of '83 to Orlando for recruiting duty training.

BAILEY: So the transfer to that training in Orlando, that was directly after you departed from the naval station, that was your next assignment --

GILBANK: Right, exactly, you detach from the naval station first before you're cut orders, or you cut orders that they--you detach from one command, your departing command, and you report to your new command, but that was a temporary 75:00school before reporting to my new command which was in R-D, Columbus.

BAILEY: You recall then, in Orlando how long that training was? How long were you assigned there?

GILBANK: Orlando was--I believe I was there about a month.

BAILEY: Oh, pretty brief.

GILBANK: So, but--and I should say that I also had like a three week school. Sorry, when I was--now that you're talking about schools, when I was in the Naval Station, Norfolk, as the non-appropriated fund officer and the assistant billeting officer. I also had a three week school in Memphis, Tennessee for--on managing BEQs.


GILBANK: And so, that's--

BAILEY: In Memphis. That would be in the naval air station? In Millington?

GILBANK: Yes, in Millington, Tennessee. So I was there for three weeks, and that was about a year prior to my--it was departing. So anyway, now I'm back 76:00in--sorry you just brought up schools. So now I finished my month long school in Orlando for recruiting district and then I reported to the Navy recruiting district in, R-D, Columbus, Ohio. I believe it was in June, it was either the end of May, or June of 1985.

BAILEY: The--earlier when you talked about the progression of rank in the officer ranks, if you will, two year typically between ensign and junior grade and then another two. So were you advanced, then during the period at the naval station to junior grade?

GILBANK: Right, I first was promoted to JG and then I was promoted to lieutenant because I would have made lieutenant in--just let me think--May of 1984.


BAILEY: So during your assignment you report as bull ensign--well you reported as ensign--you were advanced. I don't know if you would call it advanced, I guess distinguished as a bull ensign, and then--

GILBANK: Right, and I made lieutenant JG while I was there, but I was also frocked as a lieutenant.

BAILEY: And I presume frocked means that you were--

GILBANK: Oh, that's right, because I mentioned that was in May of '84, I made lieutenant. I was paid. In the fall I was frocked prior to May of 1984, I was frocked and then I was paid as a lieutenant in May of '84, and so when I reported to Orlando it was in May of '85. Sorry did I get those dates wrong?


BAILEY: No. So maybe to the person that may not be familiar, that may be listening to, explain frocking.

GILBANK: Well you get to wear--the commanding officer frocks you--you get to wear the two bars on your lapel indicating that you are a lieutenant--

BAILEY: In this case lieutenant, but is frocking also with other ranks? Can you be frocked to junior grade or even to commander?

GILBANK: They didn't frock me to Lieutenant JG; I just was eligible to wear the bars. You go in and you sign the paper work, and I was eligible to wear them, but it was the normal time frame. But lieutenant, I was recommended for early promotion, so I was frocked.

BAILEY: So again not you specifically, but a naval officer being frocked means they get to wear the--


GILBANK: The insignia.

BAILEY: The insignia and the rank and all the--not the pay.

GILBANK: Not the pay, that's right. It doesn't change your pay entry. Everything's based on your pay and when you were commissioned. It doesn't change that.

BAILEY: But again, while you were frocked to lieutenant, the question of frocking it can occur to someone that's a lieutenant that may be frocked to lieutenant commander. I would suspect that after a captain you don't get frocked, but--

GILBANK: I would say that it may--you'd have to check with the Naval Military Personnel Command, but if they were recommended for and it was approved it was a possibility that--the thing about it, so you're able to like--when I was able to wear the lieutenant so you have the authority of a lieutenant even though, you know--

BAILEY: You get all the rights and the responsibilities--everything less than the pay. Now naval recruiting district, Columbus, how'd that happen? Was that 80:00something you asked for?


BAILEY: [Laughs] I would suspect so.

GILBANK: So, our primary consideration was to be stationed together, because as you can see tours could be two to three years in length. Well actually it depends. An unaccompanied tour could be less than that, but I would say the average tour of duty would be two to three years, and so we wanted to get stationed together, and so that's where they needed people in recruiting, and that happened to be where they could use two officers.

BAILEY: But now your husband on his assignment on the Virginia that was, presumed, initially in overhaul and he was onboard even after it came out of overhaul?

GILBANK: I'm--I think it might have been in overhaul. I'm sorry; you would have to refer to him to answer that.

BAILEY: So he didn't complete his tour of duty there when you went to make your appeal for being stationed together.

GILBANK: He did. He did complete his tour that was assigned on the Virginia. 81:00They didn't cut him early orders to join me. It just so happened that his orders lined up around the same time that mine did. So--

BAILEY: Do you think that was a two year billet that he had on the Virginia?

GILBANK: Oh, I see what you're getting at.

BAILEY: Right, if he reported and then you left the naval station, if--

GILBANK: Right. Well, let's see, I left in May of '85. He reported to the recruiting school in Orlando, in July of '85.

BAILEY: And you mentioned May and he was in July and if it's only one month, then you were not there--

GILBANK: Right, so we were like--

BAILEY: There together--

GILBANK: Right, so you know, there was like a--what is it--a three month separation which was pretty good, for--

BAILEY: And so they found that you could be an accompanied--as I believe the term is-- for orders where you were stationed.

GILBANK: Right. They could put us both as the recruiting district as recruiters, but the problem came up when, okay, the person in charge of the officer 82:00recruiters is the officer programs officer and that's a department head position. And I was there about two and a half months and he was rotated out to his next assignment, and they made me the officer programs officer in charge of all the officer program--they made me the department head in charge of the officer program officers.

BAILEY: What you're referring to is the colleges that offered officer candidate school in the Columbus area?

GILBANK: What I'm talking about is that the officers that are assigned to a recruiting district would recruit at colleges, right. For those prospective candidates to become officers--we didn't recruit enlisted personnel. We recruited for the officer program.

BAILEY: Right through various institutions, various universities and colleges.

GILBANK: Right, exactly.

BAILEY: So, how many people did you work with then at the recruiting district in Columbus?


GILBANK: Well, I think there on the--there were six other officer recruiters, permanent, but then sometimes then, we would get some ensigns in temporarily that were waiting to go to school, and we would get 'em maybe three to five weeks. And that was great because that would supplement our staff and we could send them out to the--like Ohio State University was just down the road. We could send them out on campus and they--because they were still fairly young, themselves, just having graduated from college, to talk to the college students and try to drum up the interest in the Navy.

BAILEY: Did--was the University of Ohio other than that, were there other institutions?

GILBANK: Ohio State University.

BAILEY: Ohio, beg your pardon, Ohio State.

GILBANK: Right, there was Athens, I think--well actually we had a detachment that still come under in Miami, Ohio, and they came under--we had a detachment 84:00there with one officer in charge down there, but he was still under the jurisdiction of the NRD [Navy Recruiting District].

BAILEY: Of your district. Okay. Did--on the campuses then, did you have offices there on the campus, or--?

GILBANK: Well, my husband worked in an office, I think with another officer recruiter not far from campus.

BAILEY: So not on the campus.

GILBANK: Not on the campus. And then I worked out of the federal building. I worked on the sixth floor of the federal building in downtown Columbus, Ohio. And that's where the--I want to say there was another pilot that was acting as the officer in charge of the enlisted program, he was also there--but the staff, the C.O. [commanding officer] the X.O. [executive officer], the administrative 85:00staff and the officer recruiters, the bulk of them, were there.

BAILEY: So the officer in charge of the recruiting district, Columbus? What rank was he?

GILBANK: He was a commander, commanding officer. And then we had a female executive officer.

BAILEY: So, as I understand, then your position there in Columbus were to recruit students to the military--for officer programs.

GILBANK: Right, the officer programs. Right, officer recruiters.

BAILEY: So did you find that difficult or did you find students that--I suspect maybe had quotas perhaps?

GILBANK: We did. You have to decide--you have the formula that you had to figure out how many applicants you should submit every month, and then your goal was to try to meet that number, and then there would be rank all the districts from the very bottom to the very top in achievement, recruiting achievement. It was a 86:00little bit difficult in that area because there was no real Navy facility around there. There was a supplies center, I believe, but there was no navy facilities--

BAILEY: Military base.

GILBANK: Military bases, there was no military bases. There was no--like Lockheed or Boeing there. That would have been nice, and so, or families that work there.

BAILEY: Right to give them a flavor of the military.

GILBANK: To give them a taste of what the military was like, and especially what the Navy did. You know.

BAILEY: Now when you would talk to students, would the idea be to get them to enlist or to pursue a commission in the three methods you mentioned as into the ROTC or as a straight commission coming out?

GILBANK: Well, we did interviews with high school students that were applying to the academy, but we dealt with students. And so they might--they would already 87:00be attending a campus. And I don't believe at the time there were any NROTC [Naval Reserves Officer Training Corps] programs on those campuses in that area, or we would have probably had some more interaction with them

BAILEY: So then the goal of your job there was to find interest in students that were graduating who wanted to pursue a commission in the military.

GILBANK: Exactly, exactly. And I will say from experience that the--I had--the students that to me seemed the most motivated were the ones that would call you on their own initiative, instead of you going and trying to make cold calls--would call you and contact, you seemed the most motivated to follow the process that was needed to be accepted into the officer candidate program.

BAILEY: So somewhat being isolated from any other naval base being in Columbus, it was pretty much jus--other than meeting with students during off hours, it 88:00was pretty much you did the Navy thing during the day and at night you just kind of lived in the community and you did things in your area?

GILBANK: Well, the day job went into the night job, too [laughs] and the weekend job [laughs] so, you put in a lot of hours in the recruiting. I mean you do in most of the Navy positions you were given because there's a lot of responsibility.

BAILEY: Did you dislike Columbus, because it didn't have any military presence per se?

GILBANK: No, no that didn't bother me at all. It's just that, we worked long hours and then it was just--at first my husband and I, but I ended up expecting in 1986, and when I ended up--after I [coughs] delivered, I ended--I just made the decision to get out of the Navy. Because in--I'm just going to say 89:00in--around July of 1987, somewhere in that timeframe, August of '87, my husband was looking at being assigned department head school in Newport Rhode Island, which was I believe a six month school at that time. And then we were looking at that separation, and then if I had stayed in, there's a possibility that they wouldn't have been able to--even though they tried really hard to accommodate you--there is the possibility we would not have been able to get orders together. And then I would have been living like a single mother, and so I made the decision to get out of the service and so I did in July of 1987.

BAILEY: And I thought you mentioned a moment ago you were expecting and was that the summer of '86?

GILBANK: It was--I was expecting in March--actually the spring of--March of '86, 90:00I was expecting.

BAILEY: So then you had your child while you were still in.

GILBANK: That's right, I did, and, um--

BAILEY: While in Columbus.

GILBANK: Right, and actually I also had the opportunity to work in the public affairs office which is in the same building but was on the fourth floor for--its Commanding Navy Recruiting Area four, okay, which is the NRD, Navy Recruiting District Columbus which was on the sixth floor, reports to the Navy Recruiting Area four which was on the fourth floor, along--and the Navy recruiting area four was responsible for six other Navy recruiting districts.

BAILEY: Now is that assignment in the PAO office, the public affairs office? Was that after you were expecting and that--it took you out of recruiting and put you in PAO or did you continue recruiting?

GILBANK: What happened was--because I was in a position to supervise my husband, 91:00I didn't think that was the best situation, and so--

BAILEY: Why would you have supervised him, you were both the same rank?

GILBANK: Yes, but they made me the Officer Programs Officer, in charge of the officer programs and besides, I mean I also continued to be an officer recruiter and recruit, but I was also was in charge in a supervisory capacity, and so I decided that it would be better if I could get another position where I wasn't supervising him. And so it wasn't for lack of production or doing, not--

BAILEY: I didn't know if perhaps with your being expecting that they moved you from being a recruiter to the P.A. office. That--

GILBANK: No, because I actually moved to public affairs before I became pregnant.

BAILEY: I see.

GILBANK: And so there I worked with the assistant public affairs officer and 92:00basically wrote a lot of awards and citations because that's a regional awards, national awards, you write up the citation award, and it's a good recruiting motivating tool, and so that's what I spent the majority of my time doing.

BAILEY: And when you worked with the assistant P.A. officer you weren't the P.A. officer but you were--

GILBANK: Public affairs officer is a special designator now, remember I'm eleven-o-five and he's his own separate designator and he goes to P.A.O. school as--to become a P.A.O. officer and I believe that school was in Indiana at the time. And so I was just assisting him.

BAILEY: So you were the assistant?

GILBANK: Right, public affairs officer.

BAILEY: I see.

GILBANK: But he had the training for--he had the opportunity to go to this school, because I would have had to change designators. You know, to become a 93:00PAO officer.

BAILEY: So I suspect then any type of military events that would be in the Columbus area you would be involved with, if it was like here in Janesville you might have blue angels where you're expecting a big turnout, attendance of job fairs, something like that.

GILBANK: Right. In fact, he coordinated the public affairs, like the USS Clover one year was up in Windsor, Canada. And he coordinated with the officials in Windsor, Canada for the Glover's visit, so I got to accompany him up there, while I was expecting. For some of the festivities and events for--that surrounded that, so.

BAILEY: Now I'm trying to recall my geography, is Columbus right there on the lake, Lake Erie?

GILBANK: No, it's not on the lake.

BAILEY: So it's inland. So, 'cause I recall when I was a reservist going to college in La Crosse, [Wisconsin] I was on what was called the Great Lakes 94:00Cruise and I got onboard on the Navy Pier in Chicago, and to Michigan, and into Canada, and then back down. And so again I wasn't quite sure what presence the Navy might have in the vicinity, they might have a vessel that would enable--

GILBANK: While he was working with Navy Recruiting Area four which encompasses the Midwest region. There were six Navy recruiting districts. I can't repeat them all because of memory lapse, but that was part of his area that he would cover.

BAILEY: I see. They have here, they ask any funny or unusual stories you might recall from your--either being P.A.O. officer or recruiting?

GILBANK: While I was recruiting? Um, not while I was recruiting. I--you are just 95:00really mission oriented and trying to--I will say that there were--this was not funny--there were a couple of congressionals that, because when you're working with the public and things don't go the way they want and they're not moving fast enough, you'll end up getting a couple of congressionals-

BAILEY: Inquiries.

GILBANK: Inquiries as to why they weren't able to get in the program or why this application--why you hadn't heard you'd been selected, what the delay is. But it was usually in Washington D. C. [laughs]

BAILEY: So you'd have to pass it on? [laughs]

GILBANK: Well, the excellent thing is recruiting district makes excellent notes so they know exactly when the application is recorded, when it leaves the district, and when it goes to Washington. And in Washington, if it goes from one office to the next, then they have to record when it left that office and where it went, so--

BAILEY: Pretty good records.

GILBANK: And that was very helpful.


BAILEY: During your time that you were there in Columbus then, I presume you had as with all military people, occasions to take military leave? Did you travel at all when you were there?

GILBANK: My traveling basically came later because when I got out of the service after my husband finished department head school in Rhode Island and he had several follow-on schools, we actually accompanied him to a week school in [unintelligible] Virginia and another thirty days in San Diego, on Coronado Island, and then he was stationed in Hawaii.

BAILEY: So while you were there in Ohio you didn't take leave and travel at all?

GILBANK: I can't remember.

BAILEY: Okay, I didn't know if--well, again your husband was there, so I guess 97:00any vacation you had, I suppose maybe you could have visited your grandmother, or went back to California with your parents or--

GILBANK: My dad did come up to visit us, but I don't--

BAILEY: And too far from Canada.

GILBANK: You know, it's funny that you say that, because is all I can remember is getting my basement water pumped in Ohio, and then right when I got out I got in a car accident so my arm was in a cast and I was trying--

BAILEY: Right after you got out?

GILBANK: No, right before I got out, and we were in a car accident. So I was worried about if I would pass a physical to be discharged you know.

BAILEY: And this is after childbirth then too, right?

GILBANK: Right, during--after childbirth, and so it just seems like it was a very hectic time, so I don't think there was really much time for traveling.

BAILEY: I see. Or just doing events around to burn up your leave so to speak?

GILBANK: Right, I'm sure we took some if you go back. But no place noteworthy, 98:00but um--

BAILEY: Now you mentioned August initially November of '79 to August of '87, so now we're up to August of '87, you've had an accident. I presume you cleared the physical to not have a complication?

GILBANK: They let me out because I had only broken my finger. Even though I had a cast up to my elbow, I had only broken my finger, so it was minor, so I was [coughs] discharged, and then we went to Rhode Island where I was able to follow up with my visit--doctor visits there.

BAILEY: I see. During that period when you were separated from the Navy, did you have an obligation to any other additional military service or--?

GILBANK: No, no. Because originally I was--the way I went in, my initial obligation was four years and I had surpassed that.

BAILEY: I see. So, when you discharged, you were at the rank of lieutenant.


GILBANK: That's correct.

BAILEY: And tell me about any type of devices or decorations, ribbons, pins.

GILBANK: Oh, okay. Well, I guess I should mention, when you're in recruiting you get--depending on what you achieve--I think it was if you achieve your goals for three months in a row you were eligible for the gold wreaths. I can't remember all the stipulations, but earned silver stars and gold wreaths and--

BAILEY: This is for a ribbon, or for--

GILBANK: Well, not a ribbon. See that was a thing that all those awards you would earn in recruiting whether it was gold wreaths or silver stars you could wear while you were in the recruiting capacity, but you couldn't wear them when you left recruiting. Okay, now later on they did come out with a recruiting ribbon, but I think it was later on when I was close to getting out of the service and so I never actually wore it, but they did recognize recruiting with 100:00a ribbon later on. But so, and I had earned the Navy achievement metal in CINCLANT Fleet in that staff position and when we--when I was at the billeting we won the--or BEQ they call it unaccompanied enlisted personnel housing so Admiral Zumwalt award--

BAILEY: Okay, well we're continuing on tape two, this is side B of an interview with Karen Gilbank who served in the U.S. Navy from November of 1979 to August of '87, and then reserve duty from 1989 to December of '91. We're here at the Hedberg Public Library at 316 South Main Street, in Janesville, Wisconsin. Today is May 6, 2013. My name is Chuck Bailey. Karen, you were talking about your 101:00military awards and citations.

GILBANK: Right, When--at CINCLANT Fleet I'd won the--been awarded the Navy achievement medal and when we are at the naval station--when we--when I was at the naval station, our department won the Admiral Zumwalt award for the largest BOQ and Largest BEQ. And so that was a prestigious award because they actually, I believe came down from the Navy Military Personnel Command and inspected.

BAILEY: From Washington?

GILBANK: From Washington. So those were quite an accomplishment.

BAILEY: Right. They're recognized as a significant accomplishment because of the you know, the breadth of the, the depth of the--

GILBANK: Exactly, the scope of your mission. And then at, in--when I was in recruiting in the Navy Recruiting District in Columbus and also--I won a number 102:00of silver stars and gold wreaths, but I couldn't tell you how many.

BAILEY: For the Achievement?

GILBANK: For recruiting. You know, like I said, I think it was gold wreath if you made your goal of every, for three months consecutively, and if you recruited so many people that--you got the silver stars and so,

BAILEY: I presume you also are eligible to wear the national defense?

GILBANK: Well at the time I was only able to win, let's see--I'm not sure about national defense, but I served overseas so later I was eligible to receive--wear my overseas medal--not medal--overseas ribbon. I would have been eligible later when they came out with a recruiting ribbon to wear that, and my Navy achievement ribbon. So not very many compared to what your average male officer, and I will say there were--I had people--women--that did get their service 103:00warfare qualifications at the time and earned their wings, but--

BAILEY: But they were in a capacity or in a billet that would actually enable them to work in those areas, which you didn't have the opportunity but--

GILBANK: Right, and that's one thing that I'm really pleased to see that women have so many more opportunities to serve in those billets since they were removed the combat restriction designator.

BAILEY: Now I would also presume that in addition to the ribbons that you're eligible to wear--you've received numerous citations from your commands?


BAILEY: Commendations and--

GILBANK: Yes. There I go, the command--all the commands I worked at were very good at recognizing achievement and seeing, recognizing accomplishment so that you would be able to make the next pay grade. They were very supportive.


BAILEY: Did you find that having received various citations, commendations for your work, that when you worked at the recruiting district at the P.A. office that you had an appreciation that that--

GILBANK: Entailed?

BAILEY: Not just entailed but that that would actually boost an individual's self-worth so to speak?

GILBANK: Yes, it does. It's a good motivator. And I wish, I wish though that once they achieved that that they would have been able to wear it outside of the recruiting district, to show what they had accomplished because if you were on those filling billets that go afloat or on missions, they get to wear their ribbons that they accomplish so why shouldn't you? But they did. They came out with the ribbon to acknowledge that, instead of the silver stars and the wreaths.

BAILEY: Sure, to recognize their work in that capacity.

GILBANK: Right, 'cause it is important and it--you put in a lot of hard effort 105:00at times.

BAILEY: Now I would suspect also that while it was quite a bit different working in a recruiting capacity, as opposed to your position in Guam or at the naval base in Norfolk--what would you say would have been your favorite assignment that you had?

GILBANK: Favorite assignment. Well, as far as location, it probably would have been Guam because it was so unique. But as far as feeling of accomplishment, it probably would have been the Naval Station, Norfolk, because I had so many responsibilities, and duties, and collateral duties. I mean, I also was in charge of the change of command when I was assigned there, in billeting and that is one another, traditional ceremony where it entails a lot of planning and the outgoing CEO [Chief Executive Officer] is acknowledged and the incoming CEO is acknowledged, and the whole naval station is present except for those that were 106:00needed to continue operating and perform their jobs, so that was--

BAILEY: Well, when they have a change in command on the base, and I presume during your tour there may have only been one, maybe two?

GILBANK: Um, just the one that--

BAILEY: That you were involved with, probably just one?

GILBANK: Oh, that I was tasked with overseeing, that would have been just one at the naval station

BAILEY: Now, but I'm curious would all the vessels that were on board at the time would they have representation that they would send a detail of individuals to that change of command?

GILBANK: Not that I remember.

BAILEY: So that was more for the shore base.

GILBANK: Shore personnel.

BAILEY: I see.

GILBANK: Unless you had a visiting admiral that would also speak, so--

BAILEY: Okay, let's see. Well, now we covered your medals and citations. You mentioned you had an injury right prior, did you did--that was the most 107:00significant or the only injury you've had during your military time?

GILBANK: Yes, and it was minor, and so I was very lucky. I was discharged in good health and I was--I served during peacetime, with the majority because I did go in the [inaudible] as a reservist later. In May of '89 and that was a time during Desert Storm, but the majority of my--all my time on active duty was basically in peacetime. And so I didn't have to face the same issues that they do now. That the troops do now, serving in wartime, so--

BAILEY: Did you find after your separation you had any complications from the injury while on active duty?


BAILEY: Well, so now we're up to where you left the military service. We know what you did because you went to accompany your husband, not only down in 108:00Newport, but then to down in Dam Neck and then out to Coronado, California. Did you--and you're a new mother at the time. Did you also work then at either Newport or Dam Neck?

GILBANK: No, because we were there such a short time and, when we were in Newport, my daughter was less than a year old and then--so I would have had to find childcare for her. And then we--those follow-on schools, no, because they were too short of duration.

BAILEY: How long was your husband's assignment in Coronado?

GILBANK: A month.

BAILEY: Oh. And where did he go after that?

GILBANK: We went to Honolulu, Hawaii.

BAILEY: Oh, okay.

GILBANK: And that was in--let me think about that-- I believe that was in May of '89, when we went to Honolulu, Hawaii. When he was assigned aboard I think it 109:00was the USS Goldsborough, a destroyer.

BAILEY: Okay. So him being assigned onboard a ship then you were in military housing in Hono--Hawaii, or--?

GILBANK: Yes. Actually, we had the unique opportunity to get to live on Ford Island.

BAILEY: Really?

GILBANK: Right, and at first they said you couldn't--you weren't eligible because it was just my husband and I and we had--and my daughter. In order to be eligible on Ford Island, you needed another child. You needed I guess three dependents for the type of housing. It was historical housing. That was in--on Ford Island--

BAILEY: What was it--but it was military housing?


GILBANK: It was military housing.

BAILEY: But they had that requirement for number of people.

GILBANK: Right, but we were there for a while just living, like in a hotel, and another family that came in after us had gotten housing opportunment on Ford Island but they had two children instead of one. So I remember calling them up and asking 'em if I had to get pregnant to get offered [laughs] housing, and so I actually did later on, but not because of that.

BAILEY: I see. I'm not familiar with Hawaii, so is Ford Island--is it near where the ships would be?

GILBANK: Yes. Actually the Arizona was on one end of the housing, but that was beside where the--I would say commanders and above lived. I lived on the other end which was close to the USS Utah memorial.

BAILEY: Memorial.

GILBANK: Sorry, and they were duplexes so we were able to get one half of a duplex.

BAILEY: So then how long were you there--was his assignment there?


GILBANK: Well, he was on the Goldsborough and I will say I just--I affiliated with the reserve unit there and um, oh, let's see.

BAILEY: So that was that timeframe of May of '89.

GILBANK: I got out of--sorry--July of '87 and then we got there in like May of '89 and then I believe it was some time like maybe May of '90, let's see--that I affiliated with the unit, reserve--the Navy and Marine Corps reserve unit, and--[coughs].

BAILEY: Okay. You already mentioned you were in the reserves from May of '89 to December of '91.

GILBANK: I'm sorry. Can you say that again?

BAILEY: May of '89 to December of '91?

GILBANK: Right. Okay good. Thank you. And so anyway, when we got there we were 112:00only there about a month and his ship deployed for six months.

BAILEY: WestPac?

GILBANK: Yeah, WestPac. So we had brought our dog with us and this is just incidental, but so then my daughter and I were--they quarantine pets there. If you bring them in, they're required to quarantine 'em for I can't remember, at least three months, and so we were always going to the quarantine station to visit her. And, but that's just incidental to what was going on at the time. But he was deployed and I was there with my daughter, and I ended up affiliating with a Marine Corps reserve unit--Navy and Marine Corps reserve unit about a year after we were there and May of '89.

BAILEY: Okay. And you were still residing at that time on Ford Island.

GILBANK: We lived at Ford Island the whole time, but my husband during that time 113:00did get--well first he was on the USS Goldsborough, and then he got the flagship the Coronado, and then he got a one year unaccompanied tour on those merchant ships that were prepositioning units. So he got tasked with bringing back the equipment that had been taken over there for Desert Storm in the middle east and bringing that equipment back, and it was a one year unaccompanied tour. And so my daughter and I were on Ford Island. Before he got those orders, I found out I was expecting my second child and so--

BAILEY: And that was while you were in the reserves?

GILBANK: While I was in the reserves, and luckily--see, normally they wouldn't let you stay in those housing without the active duty number, but they allowed us to stay in the housing which was good, so I didn't have to move.

BAILEY: When you signed up with the reserves then, what was your commitment for 114:00participation in the reserves?

GILBANK: Well, they assigned me to the logistics command and there really, it was as long as you wanted to drill, and so I ended up drilling with them until December of '91. After the birth of my son I decided to get out, but also in May of '82, ['92] my husband had received orders to Australia and there was no place for me to drill in Australia, and so for those two reasons I quit drilling in December of '91 and we moved to Australia in Sydney in May of--

BAILEY: eighty--'92.

GILBANK: '92. Yes, thank you.

BAILEY: So when you were in the reserves and that was again from May of '81 to December of--er, May of '89 to December of '91, your drilling that's the weekend 115:00drilling that's one weekend a month?

GILBANK: That's right. You drill one weekend a month. You do two weeks active duty, and I think there was an opportunity also--I think we drilled for three weeks also.

BAILEY: So where did you go on your two weeks active duty.

GILBANK: Well, CINCPAC Fleet. So our--I was affiliated with the logistics command and so even when I did my two days, two and a half days--I believe it was--a month, they encouraged us to drill with our active duty counterpart so we could be familiar with what they were doing--

BAILEY: If you ever mobilized.

GILBANK: If we ever mobilized, and I drilled with another lieutenant who was a female and she was active duty and I would go in and--

BAILEY: Kind of shadow her?

GILBANK: That's exactly right.

BAILEY: So logistics. What type of work?

GILBANK: Well basically administrative duties, and that's when I found the Navy really taught me to do was to be a good administrator. And so there's two 116:00different divisions I was assigned to, but it was basically administrative duties. We were also considered logistics watch officers, was the official billet title. And that's when they had the big exercise Pacific exercise eighty-nine in the area, and so we also got to go in and observe in the command center.

BAILEY: The actual exercise?

GILBANK: Right, and--

BAILEY: I see. I guess then between--either between the period of your active duty, or following your active duty, or either that or the--your separation from the reserves, you didn't have what you would call homecoming, because you're accompanied with your husband; your parents lived in California; you didn't return to California, so there wasn't what you would call a homecoming per se.



BAILEY: So and do I presume then, as you indicated that you were also pregnant with another child?


BAILEY: And your husband's assignment to, in--

GILBANK: He went to the--

BAILEY: New Zealand I think you said?

GILBANK: Australia.

BAILEY: Oh, Australia.

GILBANK: Right. So when we moved to Australia, my child was what, six months old? And then I had my daughter, too.

BAILEY: So, do I understand then, if he had not relocated you would have--to that particular location--if it had been to a location that would've had a reserve detachment or group you would still affiliated with the reserves?


BAILEY: Or because your pregnancy maybe you would have opted not?

GILBANK: Depending, probably because childcare--if we--once you move, it's difficult because you have to find childcare and especially if you're sent away for two weeks and your husband's sent away, you come into childcare issues. So I 118:00probably, you know since I had a newborn and then a four year old, would have stayed home which was the same problem I ran into when we--after Australia, we moved to Juneau, Alaska

BAILEY: Oh my goodness.

GILBANK: Yes. And he was working with the Coast Guard there. And in Australia he was working with the Australian Navy, and in Juneau, Alaska, he was working with the Coast Guard. I had the opportunity to affiliate with a reserve unit there and shadow my husband on his job, because while I was in the reserves I made lieutenant commander and my husband made lieutenant commander and the Coast Guard said, "Well you would just shadow your husband." But childcare issues came into play. I decided not to affiliate with a reserve unit, because we're in a new place, and who's going to watch your child if you are deployed. Or I mean--well first of all if you have a two week assignment somewhere, or go on an exercise, who's going to watch your children? I didn't have anybody outside of 119:00working hours to do that, so I ended up not affiliating with the reserve unit.

BAILEY: I see. Did I understand correctly then following your husband's assignment and your accompaniment with him to Australia, his next command to Juneau--in Juneau you did affiliate again with the reserves?

GILBANK: No. I thought about it, but decided against it for childcare. Basically childcare concerns and also I would have been shadowing him and we kinda, so--

BAILEY: You mentioned the rank of lieutenant commander, so did you receive that then, did you recei--

GILBANK: I made it when I was in the reserves.

BAILEY: Oh. For Hawaii.

GILBANK: I didn't even know, or realize I was in for consideration and my husband came home and he says, "Yeah, your name's on the ship that had been published," 'cause remember he's active duty and I'm not, and I go, "It is?" And so I didn't even know, you know [laughs] so it was a nice surprise.

BAILEY: Did that alter your job at all then with your reserve unit?

GILBANK: No. I basically--


BAILEY: Just received the additional pay?

GILBANK: Yes, which was nice.

BAILEY: I see.

GILBANK: 'Cause when I drilled, I now had childcare to pay for.

BAILEY: Alright, well I guess it's not in doing this interview; it's not just your military service because as a child, with accompanying your father, now as an adult, being married, you're accompanying your husband to his various assignments. After Alaska, did he continue on with military service, or did he separate at that point?

GILBANK: No, actually, he had to retire in Juneau before his tour was up because they, the Clinton Administration was downsizing the military and so they early retired a lot of individuals, and so he was retired at sixteen years.

BAILEY: And again, he achieved the rank of lieutenant commander.

GILBANK: Correct.

BAILEY: I see. So he's forced retired, you've got two little children, and now 121:00you're separated from the military, so what do you do then after Alaska?

GILBANK: Well, I really loved it there and I would've stayed, but he is from Wisconsin and all he talked about was getting back to Wisconsin. And so that's why we're here, 'cause I'd never lived in Wisconsin.

BAILEY: Had you traveled with him at all to Wisconsin prior to--?

GILBANK: Oh, when we were dating--when I went back to meet his parents when we were dating, that was it.

BAILEY: Was that the only occasion?

GILBANK: I'm just trying to think--basically, I think I might have visited a friend when I was in college at Chico State one time when she was in--living in Green Bay--but it was just over a weekend, so basically, yes.

BAILEY: I see. Now after his retirement, where in Wisconsin did you move to?


GILBANK: In Wisconsin we're in Janesville.

BAILEY: So you came--Did he grow up or was he?

GILBANK: Oh, he grew up in Beloit.

BAILEY: Oh, he grew up in Beloit, so that's the Janesville connection, then.

GILBANK: That's right, and all his family's all throughout this area.

BAILEY: I see. Let's see here. So is there anything you would like to comment specifically about having served in the Navy in active duty or reserve.

GILBANK: Well, I'd like to thank God and my country for giving me the opportunity to serve. It was one of the best decisions I have made and I think I mentioned that I'm glad to see that women--more opportunities have opened up for women. But I did serve during peacetime and not during wartime, which we've been basically been in a state of war since when? Since '91--since 9/11. And I feel, 123:00you know, I wasn't called on to make the sacrifices those men and women have been making since--ever since that time since we've been at war.

BAILEY: Right.

GILBANK: And so, I hope that they get a chance to serve during a peacetime.

BAILEY: So you would say overall, your entire military experience has been a positive one?

GILBANK: Yes. It was positive, but it was--and I'm glad that I did join.

BAILEY: And you'd encourage others to--

GILBANK: I would encourage--

BAILEY: Military or specifically the Navy?

GILBANK: I would encourage them to join the military. It seems like some people, maybe if they have had family members who have associated with one service over another that that's the route they go. Like my husband is in the--I mean my dad was in the Navy, and so I was used to that--I was familiar with the Navy, and that's probably why I went with the Navy.


BAILEY: So, as positive as your experiences and also the commitment and the time your husband served, you would encourage your children if they were to pursue a career in the military, at least to--

GILBANK: Well, I have a daughter that plays in the army band, but I've talked to my son and he's in college right now, and but the decision is theirs, you know. They both make the decision, so but I just think it's a wonderful opportunity to see the world and experience things that you wouldn't normally if you were in a civilian job.

BAILEY: I see. Would you make the assumption that more so in the Navy than maybe other military services?

GILBANK: I had a cousin that served in the Air Force. I don't really feel like I qualify to speak about people's experiences in the other services, because we 125:00thought the Coast Guard was great too, when we were in Juneau, and my husband worked with the Coast Guard, and I had a lot of Coast Guard friends and we thought, Boy, they have great duty stations. They get to go to all the coastal spots, you know that you probably--

BAILEY: In the United States.

GILBANK: In the United States, and also, yeah--

BAILEY: But would you agree, though, that the opportunities in the Navy as opposed to the Coast Guard give you worldwide opportunities that the Coast Guard wouldn't--

GILBANK: Right, it's a larger scope, so.

BAILEY: Now are you involved or have you joined any veteran's organizations?

GILBANK: No. I just attended the women's conference that they've had a couple times up in Madison.

BAILEY: What conference is that?

GILBANK: The veterans they've had in the spring--well it used to be in the spring around May they would have the women's veterans' conferences. Offered at the hospital, but they've switched it lately to Fort McCoy in the fall, and I haven't been to any of those, yet.

BAILEY: So you aren't involved in any other organizations, veterans groups?


GILBANK: No, I'm not. I went back to school and I got bachelor of fine arts degree in printmaking and painting last May, May of 2012, and so it seems like between childrearing and then volunteering at different organizations, and pursuing my degree in art, that that's taken a lot of my time.

BAILEY: And what university--what institution did you pursue that education?

GILBANK: University of Whitewater.

BAILEY: Whitewater.

GILBANK: Yeah, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

BAILEY: I see. Have you ever attended any reunions from any of the former bases or your commands?

GILBANK: No. My husband is going to attend one for the USS Page in--later in the summer. But I really haven't followed in the magazines, if they offer them at 127:00the shore stations or not. I know they offer them on air squadrons and the ships, but I don't really know. I haven't researched that. I don't know about shore base.

BAILEY: Will you be accompanying your husband, then on the--

GILBANK: I don't think so because my daughter's expecting.

BAILEY: Oh, okay.

GILBANK: In the fall, and so--I'm afraid-- I don't want to miss the delivery, so I think he's gonna go by himself.

BAILEY: And you touched base also in addition to going to school, doing some volunteering. In what capacity do you volunteer?

GILBANK: Well, the Janesville art league, for a number of years as, worked with the clients at KANDU

BAILEY: KANDU Industries?

GILBANK: Right, and I've worked with the clients there, and we've made bird houses, and did other art projects, and I painted a mural with some of the other wome--ladies--artistic mural at their, at the other facility, so that type of thing, and helped out the P.T.A when my son was in Madison Elementary, and 128:00taught Bible study classes.

BAILEY: Through your church?

GILBANK: Through the Church. That type of thing.

BAILEY: I guess, just, if there's anything else you'd like to add. I think we covered your military service pretty thoroughly.

GILBANK: I think you did great. Thank you. And like I said, thank you for the opportunity to serve and, you know, and I wish--I just wish the best for those that are still serving.

BAILEY: Okay, thank you very much for your time, and I've got a form here with some information about if you wish to make any type of materials or items that you might want to donate to the Wisconsin Military Museum. And I'd also encourage you to take a tour up there, if you have the opportunity especially if 129:00you haven't done so, yet. They have a lot of information up there, and the museum itself, which is up there on capital square is really pretty inspiring, and they cover all the aspects of Wisconsin throughout the various campaigns and military, from Civil War through, you know, Vietnam and even Middle East, so and we'll conclude at that.

GILBANK: Okay, thank you.

End of Interview

0:49 - Biographical information / Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Karen, where we'll start is actually before your military service, so first touch on your background and your life before you went into the military. What year were you born and what was your hometown?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Karen describes her life before the military and growing up as a "Navy brat". She discusses her family, education, and reasons for joining the military.



3:50 - Officer Candidate School

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: So you indicated why you entered, and actually you enlisted, so you felt pretty good about your intention to enlist.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank describes Officer Candidate School at the Naval Education and Training Center in Newport (Rhode Island). She discusses choosing her station and billet preferences, and her reasons for choosing to be stationed at Guam. She also discusses training, inspections, time off, and meeting her future husband.



16:29 - Before deployment to Guam

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Partial Transcript: Gilbank: After I graduated, I attended a five week communications course at NETC Newport, Rhode Island, the same place.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank describes attending a five week communications training at the Naval Education and Training Center (Rhode Island). She discusses seeing her dad off before going to Guam. Gilbank also discusses how women could not serve in combat units. She explains why she became the Human Goals Officer at the Naval base in Guam.



22:33 - Naval Communications Station in Guam

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: So again, your first military assignment after your commission, as you’ve said, was there in Guam at the Navcom's WESTPAC [Western Pacific], and then the human goals department.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank describes her experience serving in Guam on the Naval Communication Station. She discusses her duties as the Human Goals Officer. Gilbank also describes her childhood in Guam.



26:50 - Activities and time off in Guam

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: I would suspect then from when you were a child to now as a commissioned officer, you probably were involved in some other activities while you were on duty. What kind of duties were you assigned or were you involved with?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank describes her time off at the Naval Communications Station in Guam. She discusses playing sports and traveling to Hong Kong.



35:39 - Telecommunication Operation Center in Guam

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Partial Transcript: Gilbank: Well, like the last two months of my time there, the command rotated me out into the fleet telemution [telecommunication] operation center where I was observing; you know I was just like in training of observation of what went on with that area.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank describes working in the Telecommunication Operation Center at the Naval Station in Guam. She discusses her duties and adjusting to the night shifts.



37:42 - The Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command

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Partial Transcript: Bailey: We'll move on to the next assignment with CINCLANT fleet staff. Now was that something you requested, or were you surprised to get those orders?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses transferring to the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Command in Norfolk (Virginia). She discusses her duties as the Human Resource Officer.



41:32 - Becoming Bull Ensign

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Partial Transcript: Gilbank: I would like to mention that while--when I was in Guam, I was an ensign, and when I transferred to CINCLANT Fleet I was an ensign

Segment Synopsis: Gilbank describes becoming a Bull Ensign and Vice Admiral Sanderson pinning on her bars. She reads from an official letter that she was given to mark the occasion.



47:47 - Norfolk Naval Station

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: So tell me about your impressions on the base at Norfolk.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses transferring to Norfolk Naval Station (Virginia). She discusses the lack of jobs for women, and her duties working in the billeting department as the Unaccompanied Enlisted Personnel Housing Non-Appropriate Fund Manager and the Assistant Billeting Officer.



67:56 - Getting married / Honeymoon in Europe

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: So during your tour of duty at Norfolk, or at least during this first assignment, did you have any opportunity to make any trips or have any excursions outside of the Norfolk base?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses her wedding and her honeymoon..



73:11 - Transferring to a navel recruiting district in Ohio / Recruitment training

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Partial Transcript: Gilbank: Well, we were together until like May of '85 when I was assigned to recruiting duty and I had like a month's school in Orlando prior to reporting to the naval recruiting district in Columbus, Ohio, for recruiting duty.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses transferring to the Naval Recruitment District in Columbus, Ohio. She also discusses her recruiting duty training in Orlando, Florida.



76:31 - Rank promotion / Frocking

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: The--earlier when you talked about the progression of rank in the officer ranks, if you will, two year typically between ensign and junior grade and then another two.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank describes being promoted to lieutenant and explains the process of frocking.



79:55 - Working in recruiting

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Now naval recruiting district, Columbus, how’d that happen? Was that something you asked for?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank explains why she and her husband became recruiters. She also explains the duties she had working as a recruiter.



88:33 - Reasons for leaving the Navy

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Partial Transcript: Gilbank: No, no that didn't bother me at all. It's just that, we worked long hours and then it was just--at first my husband and I, but I ended up expecting in 1986, and when I ended up--after I [coughs] delivered, I ended--I just made the decision to get out of the Navy.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank describes her reasons for leaving the Navy.



90:13 - Working in the public affairs office

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Partial Transcript: Gilbank: Right, and actually I also had the opportunity to work in the public affairs office which is in the same building but was on the fourth floor

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank describes her time working in the Public Affairs Office as an Officer Programs Officer. She explains her duties working with the Assistant Public Affairs Officer.



96:05 - Traveling / Car accident

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: During your time that you were there in Columbus then, I presume you had as with all military people, occasions to take military leave?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses traveling before and after she left the service. She also describes being in a car accident.



99:09 - Awards and recognition

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: And tell me about any type of devices or decorations, ribbons, pins.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses achieving awards and recognition. She describes the awards her department received on CINCLANT fleet. Gilbank also describes the wreaths and stars she was awarded for recruiting.



105:02 - More on Naval Station Norfolk

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Now I would suspect also that while it was quite a bit different working in a recruiting capacity, as opposed to your position in Guam or at the naval base in Norfolk--what would you say would have been your favorite assignment that you had?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses her favorite assignment. She explains more in depth her duties at Naval Station Norfolk (Virginia).



107:56 - Life after leaving the military / Following her husband's deployments

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Well, so now we're up to where you left the military service.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank describes her life after leaving the military and moving to follow her husband's deployments. She discusses living in Newport (Rhode Island), Coronado (California), Honolulu (Hawaii), and Ford Island (Hawaii). Gilbank discusses the military housing she lived in on these bases.



111:12 - Navy and Marine corps reserves unit

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Partial Transcript: Gilbank: I will say I just--I affiliated with the reserve unit there and um, oh, let's see.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses joining the Navy and Marine Corps Reserves Unit on Ford Island (Hawaii). She describes drilling and working in administration while in the reserves. Gilbank then discusses why she opted out of joining the reserves unit in Juneau, Alaska.



120:12 - Moving to Wisconsin

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: All right, well I guess it’s not in doing this interview; it’s not just your military service because as a child, with accompanying your father, now as an adult, being married, you're accompanying your husband to his various assignments.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses the reasons for moving to Janesville, Wisconsin after her husband left the military.



122:24 - Comments on the military / Concluding comments

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Partial Transcript: Interviewer: So is there anything you would like to comment specifically about having served in the Navy in active duty or reserve

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gilbank discusses her thoughts about the military and encourages other people to join. She then discusses obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Gilbank also discusses veteran's organizations and volunteering. The interview is concluded.



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