Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Veteran recalls Navy service

Cannon Connections photo: Clarence Plank Portales Senior Center Director Dawn Kryder served for six years in the Navy before leaving the service as a petty officer third class in 1989.

Clarence Plank

Portales Senior Center Director Dawn Kryder served during peacetime in the Navy. She spent six years in service before leaving the service in 1989 as a petty officer third class.

“One of the things that I am absolutely proud of is serving in the military,” Kryder said. “To this day I am very proud to say I am a veteran.”

Kryder said she started out in communications, then moved over to crypto-communications and from there into crypto repair. This gave her the opportunity to travel to different bases to fix equipment.

“I also taught English to the Japanese on the Japanese submarine base, which was really interesting and I was also the drug and alcohol petty officer who helped people with drug and alcohol problems.”

Kryder finished boot camp in Orlando, Fla., went to school in San Diego, then was stationed in Washington and then Japan, where she spent the majority of her time in the Navy.

“I loved doing that. It was awesome,” Kryder said. “While I was there I got extended another year. I lived on base and then a small apartment off of base in a small town called Zushi.”

Kryder said it was a little beach town and it was nice. A day doing her job wasn’t typical. Kryder said she would get up in the morning and head to be briefed about what she was going to be assigned.

“It was kind of like a briefing,” Kryder said. “You go in and stand at attention. You get a briefing of the day about what has been going on or what we need to pay attention to.”

Kryder said then she would spend the day working on a a teletype machine.

When she was sent to crypto-repair, she could be sent anywhere from towns in Japan to a ship; even a submarine that was in dry dock.

“I didn’t know where I was going to be sent from one day to the next because it was top secret,” Kryder said. “I didn’t get my orders until I came in that morning.”

When she was in the Navy, women were only allowed on supply ships, but that has changed.

Kryder said she had her name put on a list to be put on a ship, but after the experience of being on one for two weeks, “I got off that ship, kissed the ground and took my name off that list,” Kryder said.

Kryder said when she was stationed in Washington people in town used to question them all the time about what they did there.

“What we used to do there was top secret, so now it is closed,” Kryder said. “What we did was we monitored Russian subs off of our coast that weren’t supposed to be there. We knew they were there because we were watching them.”

Kryder said many people in the town were convinced they were a secret missile site.

“They were convinced because it was such a top secret base,” Kryder said. “The town’s people had no clue as to what we did there and we were held very tightly to being top secret.

“They (civilians) thought since we were on a cliff overlooking the ocean that submarines came up from underneath and entered a secret tunnel. They had all of these crazy ideas why we were there. It was kind of fun because you could go out and play with them a little bit.”

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