PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- On December 6, 1941, Joseph Vincent Brahosky was a coal miner at the Jameson Coal Company in Ensburgh, Pennsylvania, who got up every work day, donned coal mining gear and went underground to collect a precious resource vital to industry and the community.
The next day, this coal miner's world would change forever with the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Brahosky was the youngest of three brothers and a spry 22 years old. He proudly decided to leave the only place he had ever known and enlist in the U.S. Navy. On December 17, 1941 he reported to Newport, Rhode Island, for training and upon completion went on to his first place of duty -- light cruiser USS San Diego (CL 53).
He reported to the ship January 1942, and spent more than 2 1/2 years in the Pacific while the vessel took part in the Solomon Islands Campaign. Brahosky and his shipmates endured torpedo attacks, enemy submarine attacks, and bombs dropped by aircraft during 18 major battles.
After his tour of duty ended, Brahosky would serve at several duty stations in California, and Dec. 8, 1944, he completed 10 days of training at Port Hueneme for cargo handling, winch operations, stevedoring (loading and unloading of cargo), rigging and stowage. At the time, there was an underway replenishment command on the base to train sailors in these skill areas for use on ships in the Pacific theater.
In September 1945, he would be honorably discharged and return to Pennsylvania, taking off the Navy uniform and stepping back into his coal mining garb -- a war hero returning to humble beginnings. He lived a long and prosperous life, passing away in 1991 at the age of 72.
Fast forward 71 years to fall 2016, Vance Brahosky reports to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) as the first deputy technical director-technical. He is the great nephew of the man he affectionately calls "Uncle Joe." His great uncle was his inspiration for joining the Navy, and today Brahosky has more than 31 years of combined military and civilian service to the nation.
"Part of the reason I served my time in the Navy is as a result of the service of my relatives, to include Uncle Joe," Brahosky said. "He saw a need, he enlisted, and he served his time and by the grace of God survived."
Shortly after arriving on station at NSWC PHD, Brahosky got records from beloved Uncle Joe's military career and noticed the elder Brahosky had been here. So, on December 8, 2016, he went to the underway replenishment test site to pay homage to his revered uncle.
At about the same time he learned the new USS San Diego (LPD 22), an amphibious transport dock and third ship to bear the name, was coming to Port Hueneme. And so it happened, LPD 22 arrived Jan. 24 and on Jan. 25 the junior Brahosky went aboard, met the current and incoming commanding officers, and had the opportunity to share the legacy of Uncle Joe.
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