By Ashley Rader
Navy veteran David Kramer served as a quartermaster during the Vietnam, spending most of his time in the military stationed in the Mediterranean and Europe while serving on an admiral’s staff.
Kramer signed up for the Navy when he was 18 and preparing to graduate from high school. He served from August 1967 to May 1971.
He said his family helped to persuade him to make the decision to join the Navy, a decision made just before it would have been made for him: shortly after enlisting in the Navy, he received notice he was being drafted into the Army.
“My mom’s family was big in the Navy,” Kramer said. “They advised me to go in the service and they asked if I would be interested in the Navy and they talked to me about it. I think about a week or two after I volunteered, I got my draft notice. I was a really low number and at that time they had the draft for Vietnam.”
As quartermaster, Kramer worked in navigation and communication for the ship and also coxswained, or steered, the ship. He completed boot camp in Great Lakes, Ill., and went through his first round of training in Newport, R.I.
He left training with the rank of quartermaster 3rd class.
Kramer gained rank faster than most sailors. He said they received a rank of E1, which is the lowest ranking, after completing boot camp, and most were classified as an E3 when they received their ship assignment.