From the military to the post office, Raymond Platz
racks up 42 years of service
Family man and dedicated grandfather Raymond Platz has a lot to show for his life, including his successes serving in the United States military.
Platz lived in California until he moved to Happy Valley in 2015. His grown children and their families all made the move together so they could stay involved in each other’s lives, especially his grandson Sawyer.
Platz began living in East Los Angeles, where he grew up with his mother, father and two older brothers, Joseph and John. His mother was quite religious, so he attended Catholic grade school and high school. He graduated in 1967 and immediately enlisted in the Navy.
“My dad lost his pension after the company he worked at for 25 years was bought out and decided to take away his pension, and I wanted a job where I could get a retirement pension,” Platz said. “I also didn’t really want to go to college at the time or go work immediately because I would have been drafted.”
At the time, his brother John was an electronic technician in the Navy, stationed on active duty in San Diego, California, on a repair ship. After hearing his brother’s Navy stories, Raymond threw out his initial plan of joining the Air Force and walked into the recruiting office to request to be on the same ship as his brother. “After joining, they didn’t station me with my brother, but I did end up on the beaches of Oahu, Hawaii, on my first deployment,” he said.
During this time (1967-70), Platz went to Vietnam twice and served on the USS Benner DD807. In 1968, his ship provided fire support duties south of Saigon in Operation Game Warden. The Benner’s three dual 5-inch gun mounts fired more than 5,500 rounds of 5-inch ammunition in support of America’s troops ashore. In 1970, Benner joined a sea-air rescue team in the Gulf of Tonkin, assisting in the rescue of downed pilots. During two six-month deployments, he hit many ports, including Guam, Hawaii, Japan, Malaysia and the Philippine Islands. He was then on active duty, doing shore duty at the Miramar Naval Air Station for ten months until April 1971.
Toward the end of his shore duty, he put in for Operation Transition, which prepped him to test for a job at the U.S. Postal Service. Within one week of his release, he interviewed and got the job. “In the meantime, I joined the Naval reserves,” Platz said. “Luckily, there was an opportunity to buy back my four years active duty from the Navy and add it to my Postal Service time, so I technically started there in ’67.”
In July 1981, Platz enlisted in the California Air National Guard with the 222nd Combat Communications Squadron. “1981 was my big jump to the Air Force,” he said. During his 17-year tenure in the 22nd, he was deployed to Aviano Air Base in Aviano, Italy. Later, he was transferred to the 163-service flight at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, from June 1998 to July 2008.
For the next 10 years, Platz served in various operations while in the reserves, including Operation Noble Eagle (Edwards AFB, May 2002 to February 2003); Mobilized Operation Iraqi Freedom (King Faisal AB, Jordan, February 2003 to May 2003); Operation Enduring Freedom (once from May 2003 to July 2003 in Kyrgyzstan and another in September 2004 at Ramstein AB in Germany); AEF Enduring Freedom (Moron AB in Spain, March 2006 to May 2006); and finally Operation Jump Start (Border Patrol) in San Diego, California.
After 41 years serving in both active duty and reserves for the Navy and Air Force, Senior Master Sergeant Platz retired in July of 2008 as Superintendent of Services, Service Flight at the March ARB, California. He received 24 awards and decorations for his years of dedication to his career in the military.
After working 42 years in the United States Postal Service, Platz retired in 2009.