Veteran Stories

James Schenk

James spent his military career with the U.S. Navy in submarines. He enlisted in 1966, and was sent to Great Lakes Naval Station, Illinois, for basic training, and stayed there for electronics school. He was then sent to Groton, CT, in 1968.

His career on submarines started on a WWII sub, the USS Grouper. His second sub was the USS Triton, a United States Navy radar nuclear submarine, which was the first vessel to execute a submerged circumnavigation of the Earth and was at that time the largest in the world. James was later assigned to the USS Sea Devil, a fast attack nuclear submarine. Although James could not speak about his tour during his Navy career, he was able to speak about his position on board the subs.

James was in charge of radar and maintenance. He stood watches on sonar during under water missions, along with watches on Electronic Countermeasures. He additionally cross-trained in Inertial Navigation and Radio. James spent time in dangerous waters under the thick ice at the North Pole. He also spent time in the North Atlantic, skirting international waters off the coast of the Russia, tracking their submarines and missile boats.

When James left the Navy, he returned home to upstate New York where he worked in carpentry and masonry for 30 years. He now lives in North Carolina and enjoys working with wood and dabbles in painting. James also writes poetry and has published a book called “Covert Sailors – Submariner Sea Stories.”

In spite of dealing with mobility issues, three cancers, and hearing loss due to the pressure of being under water, James serves as a Chaplain at the Submarine Veterans base in Winston-Salem, NC.  In 2015, he received the Robert Link Award for his superior performance, contributions and significant voluntary work, which had a major impact on the success of the United States Submarine Veterans Organization.

Purple Heart Homes will be removing and installing a new front deck and ramp, rear deck and stairs and installing a new shed for the Scheck’s. Our quality of life will be improved, and we will have less stress not having to worry. We have followed Purple Heart Homes from their beginning, and we appreciate being considered for this project, says James. 

Thank you for your service, James, and welcome to the Purple Heart Homes Family.

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