IN LOVING MEMORY TO MY BEST
JOHN FRANCIS RABBITT
MAY 23, 1933 - JAN 3, 1998
Johnny's Auto Plate
NAVY SEAL TEAM TWO
J.F R. (SEAL TEAM TWO) HANGS UP HIS
John Francis Rabbitt, an East Coast legend in his own mind. He retired from his
last good deal, rent-a-cop job at NSWDG on May 23, 1996. He thrilled his shipmates with
"I'd like to first thank all of you for attending this ceremony, and
especially CAPT Olson and CDR McTigue, and everyone else responsible for making this
ceremony a reality.
After spending eight uneventful years as an Airdale, in 1959, I was stationed at
one of the best liberty ports on the East Coast (Argentina, New Foundland). It came to my
attention from a notice in the Plan of the Day that volunteers were wanted for UDT. I was
in good shape, (played handball once or twice a week), so I volunteered.
I arrived at the Main Gate at Little Creek in late June and requested
transportation to the UDT Training Area. The Marine asked if I was sure about this and I
answered, "Right, I deserve it as a First Class Petty Officer." He called and
was told to have me stand by as someone would be right there with a jeep. One hour later I
asked directions to the area and started hoofing it. I had made my first mistake in UDT,
and hadn't even checked in yet.
After doing a half hour of PT inside the instructor's hut, I was thrown out and
pointed to my barracks, which was a World War II butler hut. After a shower, I was getting
my seabag squared away when Second Class Shipfitter Anderson came up and ask me if I
wanted to go jogging. I looked at him like he had lost his marbles, and told him training
started Monday and I was going ashore. As he jogged away I heard him mutter, "You'll
never make it." Second mistake at UDT!
I was hauled back to the base late Sunday night by the shore patrol without my I.D.
card, which they turned over to the O.O.D. The next morning at 9: A.M. my presence was
requested at the Training Officer's office. Mr. Wilson (Jim), later known as the
"Little Brown Nut", asked me for the details. I told him seeing as I wouldn't be
going on liberty again for 16 weeks, I had overreated. He said he did the same thing only
he didn't get caught. He flipped my I.D. card back to me and said, "No problem here,
you'll never make it anyway."
Sixteen weeks later, minus 88 people, ten others and myself were standing before an
Admiral receiving our graduation diplomas. The Admiral's comment to me was, "My,
you're an old one!" I was 26, and the oldest guy in the class.
I spent four good years at UDT-21. Got married in '60 to a beautiful girl named
Viola, had twin boys in '62, and was still on my honeymoon after four years, being gone
most of the time in the Med, Caribbean, and assorted schools. I put in for shore duty at
Key West and transferred in '67.
Four years later and two more additions to my family, Margaret and Patricia, I was
asked by the Commanding Officer where I wanted to go. UDT personnel had the choice of East
Coast, West Coast, and UDT or SEAL. Well, I wasn't about to become a West Coast puke,
which was what us superior East Coast FROGS called them. I'd already done the UDT bit, so
I asked for and got SEAL 2 on the East Coast.
As I checked into SEAL Team, I was greeted by Rudy Boesch, who told me in this
order: "Get a haircut, you've got the weekend duty, and don't unpack your
seabag-you're going to Ranger School on Monday." It was Friday afternoon. "By
the way, welcome back", he said.
I did four more good years in SEAL Team, and as I was getting kind of long in the
tooth, I decided to retire on my 38th birthday. May 23rd was a Sunday, so I retired on the
24th, 25 years ago tomorrow.
The late Dow Byers, retired Senior Chief, came to my rescue and got me a job at Old
Dominion University, where I stayed for 14 years. We both rose from the ranks. I made
Sergeant. Dow made Chief of Police. During this time, Viola and I put the four siblings
through O.D.U. (Old Dominion University), at one time having two seniors, a sophomore, and
a freshman all living at home. Dow retired, and I decided to become a mailman. Wrong
career move; it was on the same level of Ranger School in my memories. Billy Coulson, my
former UDT classmate, notified me of an opening out here at Dam Neck, and I quit the Post
Office five minutes later. Which brings me to the present.
One other sea story and I'll quit. I'd just like to state that I was never arrested
with Fox, Owl, Byrd, and Lyons. It was just Fox and me at the Wingding in Ocean View doing
some male bonding at 2 A.M. When we didn't depart the premises quickly enough for the
Proprietor, we found ourselves handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol car with one
officer asking us our names. I piped up wisely telling him he wouldn't believe us if I
told him, and he said, "Try me!" I said, "O.K., mine's Jack Rabbitt and his
is Jim Fox." He said, "O.K. wise guy, we'll find out your names once we get to
the station." Needless to say, we couldn't get our I.D. cards out fast enough. They
shook their heads and called the UDT O.O.D. to come pick us up. The next day we both paid
$25 bucks and that was it.
Finally, I again would like to thank my wife, Viola, for putting up with me these
past 36 years. I know I couldn't have done it without her. Thanks again for attending.
John Francis Rabbitt and Viola
Johnny's Buddies at UnderWaterSwimSchool (UWSS) Champs 1964-66
picture to be scanned and inserted.
Navy Military Funerals
Navy military funerals are based on a few simple customs and traditions. Such funerals
are open recognition of the Nation's debt for the services and sacrifices of its Navy men
The ceremonial customs comprising the elements of a naval funeral are rooted in ancient
naval and military usage. Based on expedients used on the battlefield, these customs have
come to assume a deeper significance than that of mere expediency.
The flag that covers the casket today symbolized the services of the deceased in the
armed forces of the United States; the Nation regards the burying of its military dead as
a solemn and sacred obligation.
The tree volleys that are fired, accoring to ancient belief, were to scare away evil
It is appropriate that taps be played over the grave to make the beginning of the last,
long sleep, and to express hope and confidence in an ultimate reveille to come.
The reversal of rank at funerals is an acknowledgment that at death all persons are
equal. This is signified by positioning the honorary pallbearers, and all other mourners,
if practicable, in reverse order of rank.
Photos of Johnny, but be patient, as they will take some time to load.
John's visit to MyTho from VinhLong 'nam
Guys in Eagle Gallagher's and Rio's and Jessie's Pad in MyTho
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