In the 1980s and 1990s, the period of Cold War between the Soviet Union and the U.S. began to thaw as revolutionary change was occurring in all parts of the world. In the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos was being replaced by Corazon Aquino after he had been oppressing his people for so many years. Tension was building between constant competition of technology, military, industry, nuclear arms, and the space race. Although Nixon brought in the era of detente, it did not last very long because Reagan tried to intimidate the Soviet Union by threatening a Strategic Defense Initiative, an advanced technology missile-defense plan. He knew that America could bear this financial burden while the Soviets could not because of their troubled economy. When Mikhail Gorbachev became the Communist Party leader, he proved to be more focused on improving the lives of the public than an arms race by passing his policies of “glasnost” and “perestroika”, which allowed citizens to have more freedoms. The Soviet Union agreed to reduce its military, and in 1985, signed the IFN treaty with the U.S. to eliminate close range nuclear missiles in Europe. Although the hostility was alleviating between the two nations, tensions would still remain.
Clint Boshak enlisted in the military at age 17 because of the limited opportunities he had where he resided. He lived on his own at 16 and managed the local Taco Bell, but he decided that the best way to change his life would be to enlist in the navy. After two years of schooling, he began to work with advanced electronics. This was only the first step of the long process to even being able to step foot on a submarine. First he had to keep schooling until he knew every part of the submarine and how it worked. He had to be able to draw complicated diagrams of each system just to be able to go on a submarine. After he had passed that, he had to travel around the United States to go through submarine simulation training. There he was taken through a tutorial with a few other students to learn what they were aspiring to do. Once he was trained, he was finally taken on an actual submarine for a final test. He had to be taken around by various ranks of submariners starting with the lowest rank (E-1) and answer a series of questions about the workings of the submarine. After he worked his way up and answered questions from each rank, he was given a final test by the Lieutenant. Once he did this successfully he received his dolphins. This was the highest honor for a submariner because that means that they are qualified to be in a working submarine which is what he had been working so hard for.
Although he was home ported in Hawaii, he spent most of his time farther West in the Pacific on different cruises. He visited countries such as Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Guam, Diego Garcia, Australia, and Hong Kong for periods of six months at a time. Working for the Ships Repair Facility, he would stop at each site and take care of maintenance on the ship. He would replace weapons when new ones were needed or repair any technical problems which resulting from a mission. His job while on missions was to be in charge of sonar and fire control, operating them when necessary. Many of his missions were “top secret” and unable to be shared. His submarine was an attack submarine rather than ones that are just “look-outs” which would hide when an enemy approaches. He had an extremely delicate and dangerous job.
As a crewman on the USS Tunny, Mr. Boshak felt as though he accomplished many of his goals in life. He created a direction for his life. His goals were to turn his life around, learn as much as possible, and come out of his experience with a career. After years of working vigorously in school, he achieved his educational goals. This was apparent as he quickly moved up in rank from and E-1 to an E-5. Satisfied with his service, he departed from his navy life and took on a career with the Department of Defense. Feeling as though he accomplished all of his goals, Mr. Boshak left the navy with a better life than he could have ever imagined.
With the drastic life improvements that were made at the end of his service, it is safe to say that he would not throw away any of his experiences. Feeling privileged to be part of something so important, he did not take any of it for granted. If he had the choice to go back to his life in California, he would not even consider it after reflecting back on what he has been through. He is confident that he does not regret any of the decisions that he made during his service and would do it all over again if he had the chance. He would never give up the friends, achievements, or memories that he made.
After serving in the navy for six years, Mr. Boshak decided it was best for his family if he left the military. His wife, Teresa, was moving out of their apartment and he wanted to be there to help, but his commanding officer told him that he could not leave. At this point he realized that his position in the military had too much control over his life. Time he felt that he should be spending with his family he was instead spent traveling in the navy. This incompatibility caused him to resign in 1986 to finally begin his life with his lovely wife. Although he was glad to do this, he missed the camaraderie that he had on the sub. He also missed traveling to exotic places and the military benefits that he received. He soon became the father of three beautiful children: Cailen, Lindsay, and Conner. Continuing to serve the government, he worked as a contractor for the Department of Defense and currently for the Defense Supply Center of Richmond.
Researched by: Becca Baassiri
Volunteer for the Cold War Museum
1. Cohen, Lizabeth & Bailey, Thomas, & David Kennedy. American Pageant. 13th ed. Houghton Mifflin Company Publishers, 2005.
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