If you received training at Corry Station in Pensacola FL. between 1980 and 2012, it is likely the fleet systems you were trained to operate or maintain, such as MOD 40, TACINTEL, BGPHIS, OUTBOARD, CDF, COBLU, SSEE-Inc E and the Morse code training known as “RALPH” just to name a few, was actually maintained by Mr. Richard “Dick” Sutton.
For more than 30 years, Dick Sutton ensured the cryptologic systems that our navy required to train on were reliable and available to cryptologic technicians. The number of Sailors that benefited from his maintenance and troubleshooting skills are unknown but the number of Sailors is in the thousands!
In addition to his maintenance skills, Mr. Sutton is well known for his artistic abilities. Many active duty and civilians stationed at Corry Station as staff received the famous Dick Sutton’s original drawing, each unique and tailored to as a form of application to their service. Again, it is hard to calculate the number of drawings over the years.
A man with many talents and passions, Mr. Sutton instructed Japanese martial arts “Kiai” (open hand) at the New Orleans Lee Circle YMCA while stationed in New Orleans. He was also a competitive fencer, Instructor at University of West Florida, long distance runner and fishing fanatic. On weekends, Mr. Sutton spent much of his time reenacting Civil War battles throughout the south including several trips to Gettysburg. Leaving a lasting mark on Corry Station, Mr. Sutton is responsible for naming the Corry Station Enlisted Barracks, “Sailor’s Roost” and designing the sign.
After Mr. Sutton retired from Federal service in 2012, he continued to serve the people as a Red Cross Disaster Action Team Member volunteer. As of this post, he has responded to over 640 disasters in the Escambia county and North Florida region and deployed for sheltering and Damage Assessment in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri. Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin with some areas multiple times.
Recently at 84 years young, Mr. Sutton decided to learn to play the drums.
Mr. Richard “Dick” Sutton biography:
Born in 1938 to Wes and Gladys Sutton in Pennsylvania, raised in Buffalo, New York in his early years and Detroit, Michigan in his teen years, Mr. Sutton graduated from Farmington High School in 1956. Shortly after graduating High School his uncle, Chuck, drove him to the recruiter’s office to enlist in the Navy. Initially Mr. Sutton thought he was enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps, but as fate would have it he enlisted in the Navy and was shipped off to Great Lakes for boot camp followed by his first technical training school as an Interior communications electrician (IC) rating.
Following this training, Mr. Sutton made several deployments to the Arctic on the Icebreaker USS Edisto (AGB-2), including Operation Deep Freeze IV. The purpose of these deployments was to provide continued U.S. presence in Antarctica and to resupply U.S. Arctic bases on the DEW Line Defense during the Cold War.
In 1960, Mr. Suttons separated from the Navy. However, because of the Cuban missile crisis he was recalled and ordered to the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV 42), homeported in Mayport, Florida. In response to the crisis, the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean sea, as close as possible to the Soviet Union with every plane at the ready. During this time, some Navy ships had nuclear weapons and FDR was definitely one of them.
In 1963, Mr. Sutton was sent to Great Lakes for IC “B” school. Following this training he was ordered to USS Tortuga (LSD 26), homeported in San Diego where he made a WestPac deployment off the Coast of Vietnam with first Marine landing in the war. This would not be his only time in this area of operations. Mr. Sutton was rated as an IC2 during this time.
During his tour on the Tortuga, Mr. Sutton was involved with the beginnings of “Operation Market Time” with River Patrol Boats in the Mekong Delta until 1968. Following his time in Vietnam, Mr. Sutton separated from the Navy a second time and returned to Detroit where he worked as a “tunnel mucker”, digging subterranean tunnels under the city of Detroit for water and sewage pipes. This was extremely dangerous as some of the men Mr. Sutton worked with were killed.
In 1968, while working in Detroit, Mr. Sutton entered the Training and Administration of the Reserve (TAR) program and on the 89th day, the Navy offered him an opportunity to enlist as a USNR-R (TAR) and rate change offered to the Training Device Man (TD) rating. Shortly after enlisting, he passed the Petty Officer-One Advancement-in-Rate exam and was rated a TD1.
In 1969, Mr. Sutton was ordered to Naval Air Station (NAS) New Orleans, as a flight simulator technician. While in New Orleans, he was sent to Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Tactical School, NATTC NAS Willow Grove, PA. to specialize ASW simulator training (2F71) in support of the P2 (Neptune) ASW aircraft.
In 1975, following his tour in New Orleans, Mr. Sutton was ordered to TD “B” school in Millington Tennessee for one year of training. In 1976, following this training he was sent to NAS Whiting Field located in northern Pensacola to serve as the Leading Petty Officer and to run flight simulators in support of the T-28 aircraft and helicopters. During this time the enlisted Sailors would train officer pilot students the mechanics of flight via these simulators.
In 1980, following his Whiting Field tour, Mr. Sutton was ordered to NTTC Corry Station as the primary technician for the MCT-4 (RALPH) Morse code trainer. It was at Corry Station Mr. Sutton advanced the Chief Petty Officer (TDC) and became the Matshop Chief of Matshop building 513. Here he reenlisted for the last time. On April 30, 1985, after 26 years of faithful service, Mr. Sutton retired from the Navy.
Mr. Richard Sutton is authorized to wear the following medal and ribbons:
Combat Action Medal
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Good Conduct Medal (5)
National Defense Service Medal
Antarctica Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal (4 Bronze Stars)
Vietnam Gallantry Cross (5 bronze Stars)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
After a couple of years as a contractor, repairing teletype MOD-40s, Mr. Sutton was hired as a Government Civilian and for the next 27 years of service, Mr. Sutton maintained and repaired the following System at Corry Station:
Aviation Electronic Warfare NFO trainer
Tactical Intelligence (TACINTEL)
Battle Group Passive Horizon Extension System (BGPHES)
Combat Direction Finding (CDF)
Cooperative Outboard Logistics Update (COBLU)
Direct Support (DiRSUP)
Joint Advanced Tactical Cryptologic Support (JATACS)
Joint Maritime Command Information System (JMCIS)
Global Command and Control System-Maritime (GCCS-M)
Ship System Exploitation Equipment Increment-E (SSEE-Inc E)
Although Mr. Sutton retired from government service in 2012, he continues to serve the American people as a Red Cross Disaster Volunteer and was selected as the 2022 Red Cross Disaster Volunteer of the year for North Florida!
Mr. Richard “Dick” Sutton, you are the definition of a national treasure! The United States Navy and hundreds of communities are better because you. Thank you for your service sir!
31 December 2022 at 14:46
He likely served with my Dad CTRC Donald J. Wagner. Dad served on the DEW line approximately the same time frame. Thank you for sharing his story.
OTASN Catherine D. Wagner USN (Retired)
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31 December 2022 at 15:22
Dick is an original and left an outstanding legacy. I’ll never forget the Dick Sutton and Jimmy Gramlich stories which are old school hilarious!
I have a Dick Sutton original from my time as an instructor and I cherish it.
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31 December 2022 at 16:51
Served with Dick at Corry. Lost my thumb in a boating accident, and received a Dick Sutton original drawing “CASREP the Star Chief” to commemorate the incident. Thanks again Dick!
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31 December 2022 at 19:13
Went through training at Corry in 1976, and returned for Dirsup Course training in 1985. Returned to Corry as Instructor for the Dirsup Course in 1988 and returned in Jan 1999 till Mar 2002 when I retired. I love the drawing/etching that Dick did for my retirement and it is hanging in my Garage with all my military plaques and awards, drawings and license plates. Thanks to Dick for everything he did all the years he served there.
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3 January 2023 at 00:59
I worked with Mr. Sutton for two years as an M-Brancher at Corry Station. He was one of the nicest and coolest people I ever met in my time in the Navy and I don’t remember him ever mentioning any of the specifics of his own time in the Navy. Reading this article is my first knowledge of his impressive accomplishments. All I can say is that he was probably content to be “the old dude” and let guys like me persist in our delusion that we “had been places and done things”. Without knowing this, I did get that he’s a guru and a real mensch. He has that bearing and I enjoyed every minute I was around him. I still have the drawing he did for me when I separated from the Navy and it has the quote from President Kennedy, “…any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.”
And now, I am the age you were when I worked with you, Dick. All these years later, I still remember you and tell stories about being in the Mat Shop with you. So, if any man can be asked in this century if the young Sailors that worked with you almost thirty years ago still remember you, I think you can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘You bet they do!”.
3 January 2023 at 02:41
What a wonderful response. Thank you
3 January 2023 at 14:09
It is an honor to know and to work with Dick Sutton. He is a great man and a great friend. Miss you man.
4 January 2023 at 12:26
This is the best most complete bio of your career life as I know it that I have ever read. But there is so much more exceptional good to your personal life side.
You came into my life when I was a preteen or early teens. (I am 64yo today) You were Dad’s Navy buddy. Earliest memory is you sleeping on the living room floor not long after arriving in New Orleans. The alarm goes off and you hit the deck and are out the door in less than 5 minutes. Dad had this entire hour long morning ritual. And you were up and gone in 5. I was impressed to say the least.
There are too numerous memorable moments in my life that you are part to relay all here. But you were the only one of Dad’s buddies who had an artistic side. You showed me it was ok to be a man and to embrace the arts too. In many ways you were like a second godfather to me.
The trip to the French Quarter with you where you took me hunting for art in FQ hole in the wall galleries was the first time in my life had been in any art gallery. On another excursion where you took me to all the FQ USNavy port of call dive bars you could think of – and had haunted in the past – is one of my most memorable teen (legal but barely) memories.
And you have been there for me throughout my life.
Hats off to you Chief. You lead through the example of how you lived your life. A lot of the good in who I am today is because of the good influence you had on me.
1 April 2023 at 15:58
Grateful owner of two if Dick’s drawing. He captured the people and moments of his subjects well.
24 April 2023 at 14:56
Dick, Jimmy and I were the JMCIS crew. I also have one of his famous drawings and it is presently hanging in my office. Dick is a credit to anyone that knows him. I have MANY great memories of working with Dick at P-Cola.