Honoring Our Heroes
April 1, 2023 | View PDF
Petty Officer First Class Frank Stovall: Age 83
Petty Officer First Class (PO1) Frank Stovall served 20 years in the United States Navy. ,His Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was Machinist Mate. He received the following decorations, awards, citations and medals: Good Conduct Medal, China Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Medal and two Vietnam Service Medals.
PO1 Stovall was born April 2, 1939 at Montgomery, AL, to his parents, Clyde and Frankie Stovall. He was reared in Montgomery, and he attended Booker T. Washington High School. He volunteered for military service and joined the Navy while he was still in the 11th grade.
PO1 Stovall completed 12 weeks of Basic Training at Great Lakes Naval Station, IL. Because he had experience working with machinery with his father, he was selected to work in engineering. During his entire miliary career, he worked as a Machinist Mate (MM). This involved working below in the hulls of the Navy’s finest vessels with the Machinist Mate in charge of the task of maintaining the machinery that propels the Navy’s ships forward. These skilled technicians operate, maintain, supervise and repair the complex system of steam driven engines. They also maintain auxiliary machines, such as desalination equipment, refrigerator plants and seawater systems ensuring the efficient completion of ship’s tasks.
PO1 Stovall’s first assignment was as an apprentice on the USS Wiseman, DE-667, a destroyer escort, at San Diego for 1.5 years. He was then deployed to Guam serving on the USS Lewis DE 535, a Butler-class destroyer escort, for 18 months. He then returned to San Diego to serve on the USS Dixie AD14, a repair ship for destroyers, for four years. This was followed by shore duty where he was involved in training and working with personnel on how to perform tasks. He returned to serve on the USS Dixie for 5.5 years and then to Japan for 10 months. Next, he served on the USS Kitty Hawk CV-63, a super aircraft carrier for 15 months at San Diego.
PO1 Stovall was deployed from San Diego to Vietnam six times for 10.5 months during August, 1968-December,1969, February 1972-January, 1973 and January, 1973-July 1975 serving on the USS Kitty Hawk CVA63. Then he served on the USS Worden C-18, a destroyer leader, for one year. Next, he was assigned to shore duty at San Diego, and then he served on the USS Buchanan DDG-14, a Charles F. Adams-class guided missile destroyer for 14 months. His home base was always at San Diego although he traveled to Vietnam and Japan for assignments on gas-turbine ships. His final assignment was at North Beach Naval Shipyard, CA, where he retired from military service August 1, 1975.
After PO1 Stovall’s military retirement, he remained in San Diego where he worked five years as a civilian first at Rohn Industry which made airplane parts and equipment for the Space Shuttle. He then worked in engineer maintenance ordering and shipping equipment for various shipyards there and as a contractor for the U.S. Navy and for Navy Ships in Washington, D.C., Pearl Harbor, Jacksonville, Bremerton, Norfolk, etc. for 3.5 years. Next, he worked at North Island Naval Air Station on the F14 and F18 planes where he ordered supplies, tested equipment and supervised 10 others. His last civilian work was with engineering maintenance of yachts in San Diego retiring in 1995.
While in San Diego, PO1 Stovall received two degrees. Using the G. I. Bill, he graduated from Southwestern College in recreation leadership and a B.A. Degree from Southern Baptist Theology Seminary in theology. He served at the Bethel Baptist Church in CA for 40 years and now is a member of Progressive Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL. He has preached in Japan and in Jamaica, and he has served as a counselor in nursing homes. He and his wife, Odell, were married 63 years, and they had four children, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. They enjoyed traveling in the United States and in Europe.
PO1 Stovall’s reflections on his military are, “It meant a lot to me. I was a people person. I always tried to help people such as my shipmates with their personal problems. I thank the Navy for taking me in and taking me to many countries to see three-quarters of the world.” Having learned to play the trumpet while he was in high school, PO1 Stovall recalls with pleasure playing his trumpet aboard ships and at Officers’ Clubs.