‘I knew I wanted to fly:’ The story of a Navy Vietnam veteran

HOUSTON – As Veteran’s Day celebrations commence, it is important to acknowledge the story of our nation’s heroes.

Melvin Romine was born in 1938 in Shattuck, Oklahoma but he grew up in Pampa, Texas.

“I would consider myself a Texan,” Romine said.

The 84-year-old said he was inspired by his uncle who was an Air Force pilot in War World II.

I wanted to fly, and the opportunity to go to the Naval Academy came up,” he said.

He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1961, and immediately began flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.

After a year and a half of training, Romine got his wings. The former lieutenant commander had one hundred carrier landings as he served in the Vietnam War.

He was the pilot of a Grumman S-2 Tracker, he carried weapons. His mission was to find submarines, he often landed at the Da Nang Air Base in southern Vietnam.

“It had engines right beside you,” he said.” When you got the 1200 horsepower engine right next to you, it’s loud.”

When asked what advice he would give today’s youth about joining the Navy, Romine said “I think it’s important for young people to think about joining the service.”

Romine left the Navy in January 1968 and started working with Shell Oil in Houston.

He currently lives at The Watermark Houston at The Heights he said they take care of him.

His children live nearby and often visit, he enjoys staying in and watching movies.