INMAN, S.C. (WSPA) – Steven Reese told 7NEWS his story of enlisting, like others, started when he dropped out of college and his mom told him he needed to get a job.

“I don’t know what my mom’s thoughts were, but I know what mine were,” Reese explained. “And that’s to go and do the best job I could in the Navy.”

Reese said he started his boot camp training in November of 1964 and when he finished, he was quickly promoted.

“Next thing I know, I’m up in front of a commanding officer of the training center amongst lots of people,” Reese said. ” This is boot graduation and I was selected for honorman.”

Reese earned two stripes as a seaman apprentice and off to Pensacola he went to train as a cryptologic technician.

There, Reese learned to copy morse code which would eventually lead to his job working in communications security.

“That was the monitoring of U.S. communications on high frequency, low frequencies, whatever frequencies we could get with the receivers that we had,” he explained. “So we actually typed up what they had to say and, you know, and shipboard communications or if it was an aircraft carrier that was about launch.”

That job took Reese all over the world.

To Germany, Charleston, Guam, Japan, Naples, The Philippines, Spain and then some. Twice.

“I briefed a lot on soviet threat, satellite intercept, espionage, and so forth,” Reese said.

He told 7NEWS he and his family moved a total of 31 times.

“That’s a whole bunch just pull up stakes and get packed out again, and off you go,” he added.

Reese eventually retired in 1986.

While he said he’s blessed to be alive, he still suffers.

“I got hurt in Vietnam, with agent orange,” Reese said. “That didn’t come until way later on. So a lot of us out there are kind of walking wounded.”

Also, other health problems.

“I had problems with prostate cancer and problems with diabetes, and problems with cholesterol,” he explained. “PTSD. I’m 90% disabled. That was my choice, I needed to fight for my country.”

In his time since being away from the Navy, Reese has worked in mental health services.

He belongs to the Vietnam Veterans Association and is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans charity.

Reese said it’s important to him that we keep honoring our veterans and thanking them for our freedom.

“Let’s keep treating our vets like are heroes because whether or not doesn’t matter about metals or anything, but they supported each other over there,” Reese said. “And they went through a lot.”

Steven Reese, Thank You for Your Service.

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