Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Charles Lahiguera
LAHIGUERA: Well, I had attended some training at Quantico. I ran into a graduate student from Swarthmore who was studying at Georgetown and he had been a naval intelligence officer. He told me that I was crazy in wanting to join the Marines; that I would end up in the infantry in the marine corps; that rather what I had to do was join naval intelligence. As a preparation for going to the State Department, mind you, this was all part of the plan. I mean I was very focused on where I wanted to end up. So, I switched from the Marine Corps to Navy OCS (Officer Candidate School). I graduated in '59 and I ended up going to Newport to OCS.
Q: You just applied for OCS? This was not part of the Georgetown program?
LAHIGUERA: Right, because Georgetown had nothing to do with the Navy or the Marine Corps.
Q: What sort of training did you get? What was your impression of the training?
LAHIGUERA: Well, it was of interest. You're talking about Newport? We spent, let's see I started in February to June. I was commissioned I think on June 10th in '60. Because I was healthy, you only could join naval intelligence if you had a medical limitation.
Q: Yes, usually the eyes.
LAHIGUERA: The eyes, so because I was healthy, they made me an air intelligence officer. This was different from just being a straight O&I officer. I spent until June and learned celestial navigation and fire control and that kind of thing. I certainly wasn't ready to take command of a ship when I left, but I knew the difference between a lieutenant and a lieutenant commander.
Q: And what did they do with you then?
LAHIGUERA: I was assigned to intelligence school in Norfolk, to air intelligence school. Then I was attached to an anti-submarine squadron in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. We flew up the last straight deck carrier, the Lake Champlain.
Q: How long were you doing that?
LAHIGUERA: I did that for three years. Until June of '63 and during that time my ship picked up the first astronaut, Alan Shepard. I can remember him coming out of the sky.