About the Founder
Medders Family Life Foundation and Research Center’s
website. My name is Richard Mark MEDDERS*.
I was born
1954 at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Cobb County, Georgia at
Millard Medders* and
Louis (Couch) Holtzclaw-MEDDERS. I weighed 6 lbs 8oz. I
have had the following nicknames "Dick", "Georgia" and
Richard Mark MEDDERS is the 2nd Great Grandson
Smith "Meadows" MEDDERS, a Confederate
Civil War Soldier,
who fought at the Battle
of Jonesboro, 31 Aug 1864 to 1 Sep 1864, where he was wounded
and lost his right arm above the elbow.
who fought at the Battle of Jonesboro, 31 Aug 1864 to 1 Sep 1864, where he was wounded and lost his right arm above the elbow.
Richard Mark MEDDERS is the 6th Great Grandson of Phillip DEEN, an American Revolutionary War Soldier.
Richard Mark MEDDERS and
Stephen Grover CLEVELAND,
22nd & 24th President of the United States of America
22nd & 24th President of the United States of Americaare 18th cousins 6 times removed. Their common ancestors are 1st Lord Baron, Nicholas de' SEGRAVE and Maud de' LUCY.
Richard Mark Medders and William Howard TAFT, the 27th President of the the United States of America, are 21st cousins 3 times removed.
Early life as a child
My parents lived on Gober Avenue in Smyrna, Cobb County, Georgia. I was the 3rd of four sons born to my father and mother. There were no girls in my family except my mother. My mother had been previously married to Carl Thomas HOLTZCLAW. By which she had two previous sons, Travis and Truman Holtzclaw, my two half brothers.Having six boys and no girls made for some hectic times around our house. Travis and Truman were 14 and 15 years older than I was and were living with their father Carl. My mother had her first child Travis, when she was only 17 years old. Travis was born in March and Mom turned 18 in October.
We moved from Gober Avenue when I was about 6 years old. However, I remember the house vividly. It was a small house to my parents, but a mansion to a 6 year old that could get lost in a closet. The house was a 2-bedroom house with a small formal dining area with a full kitchen and a separate den for the family, I think the den was suppose to be a third bedroom, but seeing how television was a new thing on the market in the early 50’s, dad have to have his (as he called it one time a “Viewing Room”). Our house was only about a block from the first elementary school that I attended, Green Acres Elementary School. It was located at 2002 Gober Avenue, Smyrna, Cobb County, Georgia; I attended the first grade there. My teacher was Mrs. Wall; I don’t think I ever knew her first name. I remember the following summer after completing the first grade, the school dang near burned to the ground. It was the biggest fire I as a 6 year old had ever seen. “I Swear” I had nothing to do with it".
last year of grammar school for me was 1968. I finished the 7th
grade at Fowler Elementary School in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia.
My teacher was Mrs. Shearer and the principal was Mrs. Bradshaw. In
that year I received my first and only Attendance Award, for not
missing a day of school all year long. Fowler Elementary School was
located directly across the street from “GIT” Georgia Institute of
Technology, where as a young preteen I would work summer football
games selling cokes, popcorn, peanuts and snow cones. I made .10 cents
for every dollar of sales. I would usually make about $10.00 a game.
Not bad for a 10 to 13 year old in the mid to late 60’s.
My first year of high school was at O’Keefe High School in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. It was named in honor of Dr. Daniel O’keefe, who was the father of the Atlanta Public School System. It was located on the Campus of “GTI” Georgia Institute of Technology and down the street from my grammar school. My first year there in the 8th grade (no junior highs back then) in Atlanta, was very exciting. I found myself in this gigantic high school that was 4 stories high and had a student body of about 1100.
1969-1970 High School Year
In the summer before my 9th grade year we moved to West End, Atlanta, Georgia. We moved into an apartment on Langhorne Drive in West End Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. It was just my mother, my younger brother Jeff, and myself at this time (see Jeffrey Couch Medders Link). I was enrolled into the 9th grade at Brown High School in West End Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. My mother had overcome her earlier tragedies and gotten an educational certificate from the Atlanta Business College in downtown Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. She got a job for the first time in about 8 years (see Mildred Louise Couch-Holtzclaw Medders Link). We moved from Langhorne Drive in the summer of 1970.
the summer of 1970 we moved from Langhorne Avenue in West End Atlanta,
Georgia to Memorial Drive in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. We lived
only 3 blocks from the State Capital Building and walking distance to
the then, Atlanta Braves Stadium (now Turner Field). I re-enrolled for
my 10th grade year at O’keefe High School where I had
attended my 8th grade year.
was a very hard time for me, as many (now) teenagers do; I was going
through the “I don’t give a (sh*) era. I only attended the 10th
grade for about 2 months before I just dropped out of school. You
know, one of these kids that think he knows everything. I was getting
in trouble a lot, and hanging out with the wrong crowds.
was staying out all night, and doing all kinds of worthless things. My
mother had a cousin, Frances (Gray) Stephens, who owned a Truck Stop
and Restaurant on highway 41 in Rome, Floyd County, Georgia. Frances
had suggested to her to let me come and stay with her for the summer
and let me work at the truck stop. This was in the spring of 1971.
Well, I went to stay with her and she enrolled me into Pepperell High
School in Rome, Floyd County, Georgia in the fall of 1971.
1972-1973 High School Year
My 11th grade school year was at Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. It was located at 929 Charles Allen Dr., Atlanta, Georgia. In the summer of 1972, the Atlanta Fulton County School District had now gone to the Junior High School System. O’Keefe High School had become a middle school. I was doing well and making up lost time by going to summer school every year.
In November of 1973 my grandfather, William Ernest Medders died. He was born in 1898. He died 8 days before my 19th birthday, (see William Ernest Medders link). I was not able to attend his funeral in South Georgia. I was working as an Assistant manger for the Dairy Queen and the owner was out of town. This I have been remorseful over, for many years. My mother went without me. She had to take a greyhound bus to South Georgia because we didn’t have a family car at the time.
In December of 1973, shortly after my grandfathers passing, while I was working at the Dairy Queen, I was deciding what to do with my life (anticipating graduation the next year). I had decided to investigate the possibilities of joining the U.S. Navy. I went down to the Naval Recruiters Office, located on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. The name of the recruiter I spoke with was Chief Petty Officer, Harris. He had been in over 10 years. I don’t remember what his rate was. He explained a lot of things to me about the programs that were available. I took the entrance exam and after I graduated from high school I was allowed to enlist.
Note; I had return to visit him (Chief Harris) after boot camp and learned that he was on medical leave. While fishing with his son one day, his son while trying to cast his line accidentally and caught his father (Chief Harris) in the eye. I understand that he lost his eye.
1973-1974 school year and graduation
Military Service - History 1974-1977
enlisted into the United States Navy on March 11th 1974.
My oath of allegiance was held at the Department of Armed Forces
Recruitment Center in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia located in the
old Sears & Roebuck Building on Ponce de Leon Avenue. This was
across the street from where the old minor league baseball team, the
“Atlanta Crackers’ played before Atlanta got the Major league team
the “Atlanta Braves”. I remember as a child of about 6 years old,
my dad taking me to see the Atlanta Crackers game.
I was very excited about my choice to join the U.S. Navy. I had not
decided what I wanted to do in the navy at that time, so I decided to
wait until I was in boot camp to pick a field.
the very next day, March 12th 1974, I took my first ever
“plane flight” on (Eastern Airlines) 6:00am to Orlando, Florida. I
arrived at the U.S. naval Training Center in Orlando, Florida at
8:00am. It was the worse flight of my life, what a way to take a first
plane trip. The weather was terrible, there were thunderstorms and the
plane was rocking all over the place. Needless to say I was not a
happy “boot” camper, but I made it.
at Boot Camp Orlando, I was assigned to the newly formed “Company
088”. My Company Commander was Chief Petty Officer Johnson; he was a
Chief Bosons Mate. Chief Johnson was an Air Dale; he served aboard the
USS. Forrestal (CVA-50), and was aboard the Carrier when it caught
fire. Below is a tribute to him and his shipmates, and those that lost
their lives fighting the fire.
July 20th 1967 a large fire broke out on the flight deck
of the USS. Forrestal. The fire quickly spread into the hanger deck.
The ship suffered major damage and 130 brave men died as a result of
the fire. On Board the ship was “John McCain” now a senator from
the State of Arizona. The ship was retired on September 11th
1993 and will soon become a museum.
dates: June 6th 1967 – September 15th 1967
U.S. Naval Training Center in Orlando, Florida was closed in July of
1999 under The Federal Base
Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).
A Proud History
site that is now Baldwin Park has a long and proud history of United
States military service. From 1940, throughout World War II, and until
1968, the site was an Army Air Corps and Air Force base. In 1968, that
base became the Orlando Naval Training Center (ONTC), sort of a
college campus for sailors. Over 650,000 Naval recruits received basic
training here before the ONTC was closed in 1999.
Baldwin Park take their names from former Under Secretary of the Navy,
Robert H. B. Baldwin.
been donated for a commemorative Veterans Park planned for the
northern shore of Lake
all settled in for naval training after organizing our company. We
would all undergo 8 weeks of physical and educational training before
being assigned to a ship. During this time after going through many
orientations I had decided that I wanted to pursue going into the
Submarine Force. After testing and passing certain exams I was
accepted for training in the U.S. Submarine force. I graduated from
Boot Camp Orlando on May 12th 1974. My mother was in
attendance for the graduation ceremonies, she had taken a greyhound
bus from Atlanta to be there. The bus trip was not necessary because I
had purchased a car before I went in the navy but my mother was scared
of driving that far by her self.
this was a very exciting weekend for both of us, as she was very proud
of me, it turned out to be the beginning of a long a dreadful
nightmare. On her return home that Sunday evening, arriving in Atlanta
early Monday morning about 12:30am the house caught fire and she was
burned over 52% of her body (see Mild Louise Couch-Holtzclaw Medders
company graduated as the number 1 company on the base for that
graduation. We had won all the awards available thanks to a very
committed company commander. Our Company Motto was “SIOS”
(Sh*t in one sock).
graduation I had one weeks leave before I was to report to the U.S.
Submarine Training Facility in Groton, Connecticut. I went home to
spend some time with my family and visit my mother in the hospital.
She was located in the severe burns unit of Grady Memorial Hospital in
Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. It was going to be a long haul for
her. As a matter of fact it was 2 years before she left the hospital.
left Atlanta the next week and drove to Groton, Connecticut to begin
my submarine training. It was the first time I had driven that far. I
was only 19 years old at the time and it took me 2 days, driving about
11 hours a day. The speed limits at that time were 55mph maximum,
(remember “Drive 55 and Stay Alive”).
is the home of the great US Naval Submarine Base, the Global Research
and Development campus of Pfizer, Inc., and the submarine construction
facilities of the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, Inc.
Other industries in our town range from a traditional fishing boat
fleet to advanced medical supply manufacturing. The recent completion
of the University of Connecticut Marine Sciences center at Avery
Point, with its related enterprises, gives Groton a unique place among
centers of science and learning.
The Submarine Force Museum, located on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut, maintains the world’s finest collection of submarine artifacts. It is the only submarine museum operated by the United States Navy, and as such is the primary repository for artifacts, documents and photographs relating to U.S. Submarine Force history. The museum traces the development of the “Silent Service” from David Bushnell’s Turtle (see below), used in the Revolutionary War, to the modern Los Angeles, Ohio, Seawolf and Virginia class submarines.
David Bushnell 1776 invention "The Turtle" first Submarine (and I thought mine was cramped)
Beginning of an Exciting Adventure
arrived at the Submarine Training Facility in Groton, Connecticut in
late may of 1974. I was housed in the on base barracks there. I went
through 13 weeks of physical and academic training to pass the rigid
course. We not only had to learn the basics of how a submarine operated,
we also had to learn how to operate one from a simulator (left). This
was a very trying ordeal; we were thrown every possible accident that
could happen and then some. We also had to learn fire fighting and
emergency escape procedures.
I graduated from the U.S. Naval Submarine Training School in 6September of 1974. This was only the beginning of my training.
After finishing my submarine training I was given another 7 days of leave. I returned home to see my family and to spend sometime with my mother who was still in the hospital. Just prior to me leaving Connecticut, my mother was transfer from the Grady burn unit to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia where she would remain for another 1½ year.
I had received my service orders prior to leaving Groton, Connecticut. They stated that my next assignment was to report aboard the USS Francis Scott Key SSBN657 Gold Crew. This would be my home for the remaining 2½ years while I was in the Navy, and “Oh what a boat ride it would be”.
7325 tons (surf.), 8251 tons (subm.); l. 425’; b. 33’;
laid down by Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Co., Groton, CT
I reported aboard the
USS. Francis Scott Key SSBN657 in September of 1974, only a couple of
weeks before we were due to start my first sub patrol to unknown
destinations at that time. I had flown from Charleston, S.C., with a
classmate of mine in sub school, David Swatilla to Rota, Spain where we
were taken to the U.S. Naval Base. We had both been assigned to the same
submarine, which was docked next to the sub tender, the USS. Simon
Malone. It just so happens that, the Captain of the Simon Malone was a
neighbor of my uncle, Alan Seibert who had married my father’s sister,
Eris Medders. Alan and Eris were living in upstate New York at the time.
Allen was working for General Motors and had been with them for about 20
years at the time.
After reporting aboard
I was assigned to the Mess Crew (galley), Oh Boy! Unfortunately all new
sailors have to do 11 weeks in the galley feeding all the guys. This was
the breaking in period that most of us have to go through. This was
going to be a long and trying ordeal for the next year. Just as Pilots
have to earn their wings to be able to fly, Submariners have to earn
their dolphins (shown above) To become qualified in submarines. It takes
12 months of study and then you have to go before a board of Officers
and NCOs that drill you with numerous questions about submarine
operation and techniques. If you don’t pass you wind up in the surface
fleet and are out of the submarine force. Well after going through a
grueling test period I was certified in submarines and received my
Submarine Dolphins Insignia on 320th May 1975.
After I had accomplished this feat, I decided that I wanted to become a
Sonar Technician, It sounded really exciting.
I began studying to
become a Sonar Technician; this took me 3 months in which I received my
official rating as SNSTS (SN Seaman, ST Sonar Technician, S Submarines.
There is also a STG rating, which means Sonar Tech Guided, for surface
craft Sonar Techs. The following is information regarding my experience
in the U.S. Submarine Force;
U.S. Navy Mar 1974-Mar 1977. U.S. Submarine Force, USS Francis Scott
Key SSBN 657(Gold Crew), Sonar Technician 3rd Class
Home Port: Charleston, South Carolina
Over Seas Port: Rota, Spain
Sub Patrol Areas; North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Devil’s
Duties Served aboard U.S.S. Francis Scott Key; Galley, Helmsman,
Planes man, Top Side Sentry, Leading Seaman, and Sonar Technician.
Incidents aboard the U.S.S. Francis Scott Key: Fire in Laundry
Area, Flooding in Fan Room, Reactor Scram 1976: While on patrol in
unspecified area the USS Francis Scott Key had an inadvertent reactor
scram causing the submarine to have to surface. We were on the surface
for 5 days taking all necessary precautions to insure the safety of the
boat and its reactor. This, outside of a complete reactor failure is the
worse incident a nuclear vessel can suffer. All service personnel aboard
the ship were never harmed by any nuclear radiation thanks to the
containment of the incident. For there tireless efforts all personnel
aboard the USS Key were awarded 4Operations
White “A” and 4Red “A”, an accommodation that had never at that time been
I was honorably discharged from The United States Navy on 12th March 1977 to finish out the rest of my life, which brings me to now. I am currently a Commercial and Residential Mortgage Broker in Spokane, Spokane County, Washington working on a Degree in Electrical Engineering (go fig).
O’keefe High School, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia
U.S. Navy 1974-1977
Hobbies: Bowling, Fishing Golfing, Ballroom Dancing*
Birth Year Events (1954):
All writing and concepts are copyright © 1999 with ownership belong to the original submitters and The Medders Family Life Foundation and Research Center and their appointees. All rights reserved