The military opened many doors of opportunity for Mark LaPorte, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1983 to 1987.
LaPorte, the son of Charles “Dude” and Darlene LaPorte of Elizabethton, was part of a world cruise on the USS Enterprise, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Enterprise was also the first nuclear carrier to be allowed through the Suez Canal, and LaPorte was aboard the ship at the time.
The Elizabethton native did his recruit training at San Diego, Calif., and attended Intelligence Specialist School at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colo. He received additional training at the Naval Air Station in Lemore, Calif., and at the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nev.
LaPorte noted that the cruise on the USS Enterprise was originally scheduled as a Pacific cruise, but after the Libyan air raid, the cruise was extended to over seven months so the Enterprise could transfer from the Pacific to the Mediterranean to relieve another carrier group. When Saudi Arabia would not allow the ship to go back through the canal, the Enterprise had to sail around South Africa during the winter months with 20-degree seas.
“Due to the extreme weather only one escort went with the Enterprise. The other ships went back through the Suez,” LaPorte recounted.
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