Neil L Larsen was a Chief Petty Officer (SW) with 24 years of service in the US Navy as a torpedoman, serving exclusively on submarine tenders, except some time in between as a recruiter, and after, at his last command with the Navy Recruiting District, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. After retirement, he got “the best of both worlds” as he remained working for the same recruiting center, for the next seven years.
A friend and shipmate, Mark Lovelace, remembers what a good sport Neil was, and how he would always be up for some elaborate “kidding around.” Here is a little anecdote Mark wrote about his shipmate when they were stationed together in New London, CT, in 1993, at the Naval Submarine Support Facility. This was the second time in their Navy careers that they served together. They were also shipmates together on the USS Spear (AS-36) in Norfolk, VA in the 80’s.
Mark Lovelace remembers:
Neil and I had the pleasure of being stationed together on the Spear in the early 80’s, then again in Connecticut at NSSF in the early 90’s. When Neil was selected for Chief Petty Officer in 1993, I was assigned as his sponsor.
I sat down with him and did an interview as part of the sponsorship process. He confided in me –giving me the ammunition I needed– that he had always wanted to serve on an aircraft carrier. After serving almost exclusively aboard submarine tenders, I could understand his desire for a change of venue.
We concluded the interview, and he went back to work. I went down to the waterfront and saw a friend who was a COB (Chief of the Boat). He hooked me up with a yellow cranial (head gear) vest, signal lights, and all the rest of the flight deck gear an LSE would need to land an aircraft.
I called Neil up to my office, with the good news that his dream was about to come true. I issued him the gear, and instructed him to be in the main parking lot at 0600 the next morning. I was there early so I could observe the festivities.
Neil handled it like a lifelong Airedale. He waved his signal lights in crisp, sharp movements, and side-stepped around the parking lot with efficient haste, as all of the CPO’s cars arrived, with the chiefs looking at him over their steering wheels and wondering WTF?
Neil very competently landed all fourteen cars, and didn’t lose a single one over the side! He was all smiles, and I was laughing right along as I patted him on the back and said “Great job shipmate!”
The Chief succumbed to a very aggressive form of cancer that took him away from us on January 6, 2014 at the age of 55. He was interred in the Cemetery of the Alleghenies, with the with full military honors, with a Navy Chaplain officiating.
Neil L Larsen is survived by his loving wife Lynn Larsen, his three children Heather Jones and husband Scott, Amber Martin and her partner Greg Hammaker and son Patrick Larsen and wife Katelyn, and three grandchildren, Zachary Jones, Karlie and Logan Martin. He is also survived by his sisters, Kimberly, Deborah, Lisa and brothers, David, Edward, Christopher and Daniel Larsen. Neil will be greatly missed.
As a gesture of condolences for our fallen Chief, please make donations in his memory to the Wounded Warrior Project. All revenue generated from views of this post will also be donated to this worthy cause: