Laverne native OSC (SW) Gary D. Boldes has not only hit a milestone in his life by serving his country in the United States Navy for the past 19 1/2 years, he also made another one of his dreams come true - he has had a collection of his poetry published in a book entitled “Thoughts of a Sailor.”

“I wrote the poetry in the book through a period of several years,” said Boldes, who graduated from Laverne High School in 1986. “Being a published author is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I have thought about that since about 1993 when I entered a poetry contest given by the National Library of Poetry ... it was the first time I had seen my name in print and I decided then that I wanted to try it.

“Of course, it wasn’t until years later that I got up the nerve to go ahead and try it. When I decided that I would go ahead, then it only took me a few months to get my act together and do it.”

The book consists of poems that Boldes has written throughout the course of his naval career and range in subjects from naval history to patriotism, the sometimes boring and often hectic life of a sailor and even falling in love and that love keeping you going through some rough times at sea.

Although Boldes said his high school English teacher got him writing when he was in Oklahoma, he said he really didn’t start writing poetry until after he had joined the Navy.

“I started writing poetry more as an outlet than for any other reason,” he said. “It seemed to me that it was a way I could express myself and relieve a little stress at the same time ... I usually use my poetry and writing as a pressure valve - a means of escaping and letting the stress slowly release.”

The son of Robert and Joan Boldes of Laverne decided to join the Navy right after high school.

“I decided to go into the Navy because I wanted to travel and get some money for college, plus I wanted to serve my country,” he said. “I had many reasons for going in. Although at the time, I never thought I would stay in this long.”

He has served in many different areas of the world since August of 1986, including in the Persian Gulf right before the official war in 1988, the Philippines for the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, Somalia in 1994 when things were really heated up there and again in the Persian Gulf in 1997. In 2000 and 2001 he was in the East Timor and now serves in Sasebo, Japan near the Philippines once again.

“I have been a part of many multi national exercises where we train and integrate with various allied Navies,” he said.

Boldes said the only downfall to being in the Navy would have to be the constant political bureaucracy that the sailors face. But, as for the good things about the Navy, he has many blessings to count there.

“That is hard to answer, there are several things that I love about the Navy,” he said. “I will have to go with a few things, the first being the travel. I have seen things that I never dreamed of when I was growing up in Oklahoma. My wife would be another, as I would never have met her nor had my boys if I had not been in the Navy.” Boldes wife of 15 years, Marita, has blessed he and his family with three sons - Charles, Jacob and Jeremiah. The entire family lives on base in Japan.

“But, what really sticks to me now days is being able to take the new young sailors and mold them into young responsible men. I really love the challenge of having someone new to work with - some of them with great family lives and backgrounds and some without and watching the transition before my eyes,” he said. Boldes also served as a Navy recruiter in Enid from 1997 to 2000 after attending recruiting school in Pensacola, Fla.

“It is a definite way for young people to get a start on their future, straight from high school to college is not always the answer for many of them,” he said. “This allows them a little freedom, allows them to grow as an individual and become self reliant and prepares them for the future - and if that future is simply four years in the Navy learning a job skill and then going to college upon completion, then that is what it is. The Navy gives many opportunities to complete your degree while you are in also, you are only limited by your own imagination.”

Boldes is the Leading Chief Petty Officer for OI Division in Sasebo. It is their job to do all the mission planning, radar navigation, radio telephone communications and anything to do with actually fighting the ship as in tracking surface and air contacts and identifying them. He operates a 26-man division and he said they are all top notch sailors. He explained that a chief petty officer in the Navy is the same rank as a Gunny Sergeant in the Marines.

Boldes mom, Joan, still resides in Laverne, although his father passed away last year after the couple had been married for the past 52 years. His brother, Mike Boldes and his wife Rita still live in Laverne as well. His nephews, Robert and Richard, also now live in Laverne as well after spending time serving in the Army. Boldes also has three sisters who are married and have moved away from the area.

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