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Book details
  • Genre:TRAVEL
  • SubGenre:Pictorials
  • Language:English
  • Pages:140
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543999365

Following on Seas of Glory

Adventures at Sea and Around the World

by Leonard H. Gaffga

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A son begins to write about his experiences in the military and discovers a connection to his father's past that he didn't know he had. What used to be just "family" becomes a whole new way of seeing his own present day place, and purpose, in the world. The story carries on to the exploits of his children who are in the process of making their own way in the world.
The story begins with a talented young man who invented and patented a marine engine around 1900 which began a maritime tradition in the family which would span three generations. The story moves to the youngest of his three sons who has a yearning to venture out on the sea. He fulfills this desire by attending the New York State Merchant Marine Academy where he makes a transatlantic voyage on the school ship SS Newport, a three masted sailing ship in 1924. There are storms but a safe arrival home. Finally, the third generation of men in this family graduates from college but makes an abrupt decision to join the Navy instead of attending law school. His exploits in the Navy include graduating from Naval Justice School, a fate he tried to avoid, and then serving as personnel and legal officer at a small communication station on the island of Guam in the mid 1960s. He continues searching for his dream by landing a seagoing assignment on an aircraft carrier headed for Viet Nam, working in the Combat Information Center (CIC) tracking live enemy contacts, and finally completing a circumnavigation of the world by traveling west across the South China Sea to Cape Town, SA and then home, traveling northwest across the Atlantic Ocean. He completes his active duty service with a new job on the aircraft carrier and a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. Although he thought he was done with the military when he was discharged from active duty in 1968, that was not to be the case. Through a strange twist of fate, the young man begins to realize that his attachment to the Navy and the maritime life is more permanent than he realized and he continues in the Reserves for 21 more years collecting some very powerful experiences a long the way such as a close call with an angry mob in Rome and the sinking of a Navy destroyer on the Island of Rhodes. Just as there is a wider ocean that extends beyond the shore, there is understanding that lets us see beyond ourselves.
About the author
Lieutenant Commander Gaffga is now retired from IBM and from the Naval Reserve and is living in Sun City, Hilton Head, South Carolina. He was born in New York City and moved to Garden City, Long Island with his family as a nine year old. He graduated from Garden City High School in 1960 where he twice lettered in cross country and was elected co-captain of the team in his senior year. He was accepted at Yale University where he graduated in 1964 with a BA degree in Economics. He played soccer and rowed crew for Pierson College at Yale. He completed four years of active naval service service as a reservist serving first on the island of Guam, then in the Western Pacific (Viet Nam) and finally in the Mediterranean Sea. He took advantage of every opportunity to travel while he was in the service, including visiting other islands in the South Pacific and circumnavigating the world two times in the same direction. He enrolled at the Wharton Business School in 1968 and graduated with an MBA in 1970. It was in his last semester at Wharton that he got his first introduction of computers which became his favorite subject when he had to take a required course in Fortran. Too late to take any other courses in data processing as they called it back in the 1960s - that training would have to wait until he was hired by IBM. He was recruited by IBM and began his career at the branch office in Reading, PA where he went through several years of training at IBM schools to learn the computer and the manufacturing industry. He is certified in manufacturing by the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). In a small account, manufacturing territory, he designed and coded user systems - all of this accomplished without the benefit of packaged application software. Spread sheets and word processing had not yet been developed for general use. Technology was taking off and by 1977 he was installing systems with desk top terminals which accessed customer data bases. In 1977 he joined a team of application developers being formed at the Application Development Center in Atlanta, Georgia to develop a large and very successful package of application software for the manufacturing industry. This software is still available today (MAPICS). In 2000 he took a four-month assignment with the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) and was posted to Jordan in the Middle East to teach Production Operations Management (POM) at the University of Jordan. In addition to his regular undergraduate teaching load, he had the opportunity to teach a section of graduate students, mostly serious and capable professional. The entire assignment was funded by USAID. While serving in Jordan, Len and his wife Cathy traveled extensively inside and outside of Jordan, to places such as Petra, Jordan, Damascus, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. Generally, they traveled with their daily Jordanian driver and with her husband if they were on an overnight trip. In Syria he and Cathy found information about Cathy's maternal grandmother who was Syrian. They had worked in the gold souk. Since 2000 he has been teaching at the university level as an adjunct professor. He last taught international economy (global economics) at the University of South Carolina Beaufort (2006 - 2114). After a lifetime of work that he thoroughly enjoyed, his number one enjoyment now is volunteer work. Other activities include the Sun City Veterans Association, the ROMEO club (Retired Old Men Eating Out), the Money Talks Club, and the Community Theater. He no longer plays competitive tennis but hopes to resume playing on a limited basis once he fully recovers from back surgery. One of their favorite activities is cruising, both ocean cruising and river cruising.