Richard Briones

RichardBrionesQ. What is your Family history?
My dad was from Houston, worked for large clothing store delivering items people bought and in the 40’s had delivered. Later sold eggs & poultry to grocery stores all over Houston. If anybody remembers the Lucky-7 stores that was one of his customers. My bother, Alfred (class of ’55), and I drove trucks for him when we got our license. He died at the early age of 41. My mother’s grandmother, with three children traveled from Durango, Mexico, to Newcastle, Texas, where my grandmother married a coal miner. Also that’s where my mother was born. They all moved to Houston where my mom and dad met and married. I was born at 2702 Fox street in Houston, which is just a couple of blocks from the original Ninfa’s. When I was eight we moved behind the Hobby airport.

Q. Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
Well went to school from k to 3rd grade at the old Lubbock elementary and was in the rythm band, where I had a crush on the beautiful curly blond band lease (Jean Riley Cochran). When we moved I attended Garden Villas elementary and then Jackson Jr. high, and of course Austin Hi. I played football at Jackson and was going to play at Austin but my dad died and I had to go to work. For this, Katrola placed me in 1st period gym and would not let me change, so I was sweaty all day. I worked at a U-Totem crushing ice and putting groceries in shelves. Then I got a job at a printing company, which helped on the school paper. Graduation was on the 25th of January and I was 18 on the 27th. I enlisted in the Navy the 28th. Went to boot camp at San Diego with classmate Lionel Hamilton. Went to Electronic Technician school at Great Lakes, IL and the Radar operators and Electronic countermeasure school in Norfolk, Va. I was assigned my first duty on DD520 Isherwood, a destroyer based in Yokosuka, Japan. I read Buzzy Oliver’s Bio and remembered we operated with his sub, as we were a hunter killer group hunting submarines. In 58 we were attached to China, known at that time as Formosa, now Taiwan. We did a couple of invasions with them against the Chinese reds in a couple of unknown islands called Quemoy & Matsu, off the mainland of Red China. In 1959 I did the same and was transferred to another destroyer DD544 USS Boyd. In the late 1950’s we were assigned to haul ammo and supplies to the green berets in Viet-Nam. Funny though I never did see John Wayne. Surprise it started when Eisenhower was president. Went to various schools while in the Navy… air controlling school, sub chasing, shore bombardment many others plus ABCD school (Atomic, Biological and Chemical warfare).

Did many nights in foreign ports doing military police work… Called Shore Patrol. Could fill a whole page of things we did, most notable, we spotted the location to put J. Costeau in the Mariana trench with his bathysphere, and spotted for the first hydrogen bomb explosion in the Pacific (where the ABCD training was for). I mustered out January of 1961, and played semi-pro baseball and got paid to stand up at Mexican weddings, for about 6 months. On July 4th of that year I cut my toe and had to go to work. One of the ball players work for a freight forwarding company and told me they had a job opening. I went to work for the July 1961 and worked for 33 years, until I retired for 3 days and opened my own office 14 years ago.

RichardBrionesYoungQ. What elementary school did you go to?
Lubbock and Garden Villas.

Q. What teacher made a difference in your life?
This may sound weird but Coach Katrola, as it showed me if I could put up with his c–o, I could do almost anything I put my mind to. Although it was punishment.

Q. What did you do after graduation?
Joined the Navy.

Q. If you could change anything your life at SFA, education where you would like to go?
I do not believe anywhere else would have made any difference except most of my friends had been together since the 3rd. grade Which there were quite a few.

Q. What do you do for entertainment?BrionesBike
It use to be play golf and ride motorcycles, now I am a Shriner and enjoy parades, blowing animal balloons for kids and all the parties we have.

Q. Have your traveled a lot? If so Where?
Yes in the Navy made Hawaii, Japan, The Philippines, Australia, Guam, Taiwan, Fiji Islands, Hong Kong and all the South Pacific. On the job traveled all over Europe and Middle and Far East.

Q. Do you speak any foreign languages?
If Spanish is considered foreign, a little English, some Portugese and read some French and German. Did learn some Japanese while stationed there been has been so long I can not remember much.

Q. In life, what makes you the happiest?
Coming out of all these operations alive.

Q. Do you have any children/grandchildren?
Have a daughter that works for us and lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and a son married and lives in Tuscon, Arizona. No grandchildren. My wife Linda makes up for that. She has two boys and a girl, and has 6 grandchildren.

Q. What events had a lasting effect on your life?
This one is easy. Congested heart failure. Every time I get short of breath I think about it. It was extremely scarry and I guarantee you it has a lasting effect. Second would be loss of limb.

Q. Who has made the most impression on your life?
My mom, widowed at an early age with 5 children and seeing all of them through high school.

Q. What would you change if you could?
Take better care of myself. This getting old is Hell.

Q. What person have you met that you would like to spend more time with?
My dad, as I only knew him for 14 years.

Q. Who would you like to meet?
Do not really know, except some of our old classmates.

Q. What are you working on now?
Besides this bio, just trying to keep our company going. After 14 years I still enjoy doing my job. I plan to keep doing this until at least 75 years old and maybe retire.

Q. So what about your future?
At the present I am working on just trying to walk again. With one leg that is not in the best of shape it isn’t easy, but I know I will succeed.