Jim Stevens
February 9, 1940 - October 2, 2004
JIM WAS IN THE NAVY FROM 1957 THRU 1961, AND ABOARD
THE USS RANGER FROM SEPTEMBER 1957 TO JUNE 1958
HE WAS ON THE SHAKE DOWN CRUISE TO GITMO BAY 
IN V-3 DIV. AIR ON THE CARRIER


James A. Stevens  1957 - 1958 aboard USS Ranger, 18 years old

 


Jim A. Stevens, Larry Stapleton, Ken Underdown 
 CUBA 1957


CLOSE UP VIEW
*********

 

Jim & Nancy Stevens July 2003
Jim & Nancy Stevens July 2003

 

Jim Stevens, July 2003 - 63 years old
"Memories"

 

Jim Stevens points to a shadow box made for him by his sister-in-law, Barbara Eckart, for his 63rd birthday.  The framed memorabilia includes a photo of Stevens in  Navy uniform, other crew mates, the ship and several  medals he received during his term of service.
Jim Stevens points to a shadow box made for him by his 
sister-in-law, Barbara Eckart, for his 63rd birthday. 
The framed memorabilia includes a photo of Stevens in 
Navy uniform, other crew mates, the ship and several 
medals he received during his term of service.

***********

Jim Stevens, now 63, was only 17 when his father withdrew him from school and insisted he join the military. His boot camp training was shortened from 12 weeks to nine when unrest developed in Cuba.

Stevens boarded the USS Ranger in 1957 shortly after the ship was commissioned and before it sailed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

Over the years, his of memories being on board what was once the most splendid, powerful ship in the world stayed with him. “You don’t ever forget a ship like that. You become part of the ship,” Stevens said. He was aboard the Ranger about nine months, cranking up planes and moving them around for the pilots, before plans were announced to set sail for a nine-month cruise around Cape Horn to San Diego, Calif. But, despite the thrill of being on a ship as large as three football fields, his heart was being pulled in another direction. He had met a beautiful young lady named Nancy, and he feared that if he left on the cruise, she would be gone when he returned.

“I had been dating a woman and my father didn’t approve. He wanted me to meet the daughter of a man who worked for him, so he slipped her name and address in my sea bag,” Stevens said.

He wrote to the address stowed away in his sea bag, and she wrote back. Soon the two were inseparable.

Stevens requested and received permission for shore duty so he could be with Nancy, although only a few were allowed off the ship, he said.

Jim and Nancy Stevens married 44 years ago. Stevens completed his four-year term of duty with his new wife at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md., where their first son, Jim Jr., was born. Another son, Robert, was born later.

“I’ve often regretted that I didn’t stay in the Navy longer,” Stevens said. “Next to my wife, that was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

“I wanted him to re-enlist, desperately,” Nancy Stevens said. Navy families formed close relationships, which she said lasts forever.

When the movie Apollo 13 was filmed, Jim Stevens recalled the astronaut portrayed by actor Tom Hanks as the man who had deeply influenced his life - his division officer, Lt. James Lovell, whom Stevens served with at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

Stevens regretfully admits it took too many years to fully
appreciate his experiences aboard this magnificent ship and the 
positive effects they would have in his years to follow.
She was the Top Gun of the U.S. Navy in her time and for 36 years was manned by some of the finest of officers and enlisted men of the United States Navy.

To CV/A-61 and all who proudly served aboard her......THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.

The USS Ranger CV/A-61 Reunion Association is an organization
with membership eligibility open to all officers and enlisted personal who have ever served aboard the USS Ranger no matter how short or long the tour of duty.

Stevens strongly urges the thousands of past crew members to join the association.  If you know someone, a husband, dad, uncle etc. tell them to check out the many benefits of membership.  You can contact George Meoli -gmeoli@erols.com 
Also, inquire into the USS Ranger Museum Foundation (A foundation to save the USS Ranger).  

Take it from Stevens, it's the Patriotic thing to do. You will be proud you did.....So Front And Center, Step Out And Step Up!

 

Jim passed away October 2, 2004.  One of Jim's last wishes 
was fulfilled when he got to visit the "Ranger" at Bremerton.  
Jim and family visiting Ranger-Click to view larger photo
That meant so very much to him.

He was a great man of great Character and Honor. Our
loss is great, he was our anchor always.
Nancy Stevens and Bob (son)

Send Jim'S Wife Nancy an email : Click here

BACK TO TRIBUTES

  HOME

                     pg. created and
                     edited by caguy                                          

                            07/30/2013