Veteran showcase: Ken Richardson

Ken Richardson
U.S. Navy veteran Ken Richardson has retired to Lake Riverside Estates in Aguanga. Anza Valley Outlook/Courtesy photo

After traveling the world with the U.S. Navy, veteran Ken Richardson and his family decided to settle in picturesque Lake Riverside Estates in Aguanga.

Richardson enlisted in the Navy in 1966. He considered this service to his country as his obligation. Little did he know at the time, it would become an interesting career.

He was trained as a boatswain’s mate. This rating is one of the oldest in the Navy, dating back to 1794.

Boatswain’s mates train, direct and supervise personnel in ship’s maintenance duties in all activities relating to marlinespikes, decks, boat seamanship, painting, upkeep of the ship’s external structure, rigging, deck equipment and lifeboats. They are in charge of working parties, perform seamanship tasks and act as petty officers-in-charge of picket boats, self-propelled barges, tugs and other craft. They also operate and maintain equipment used in loading and unloading cargo, ammunition, fuel and general stores.

“During the Vietnam War, I was stationed aboard William H. Standley DLG 32. The ship was deployed to Vietnam in 1967. I traveled throughout Asia extensively due to the Vietnam War,” Richardson said.

The USS William H. Standley was a Belknap-class destroyer leader/cruiser, named for Adm. William Harrison Standley, former chief of naval operations and ambassador to the Soviet Union. The ship was launched as a frigate, DLG-32, and reclassified as a cruiser in 1975.

“I got out of the Navy in 1970 and then went back in in 1975, stationed at Holy Luck, Scotland, for five years,” he said. “In 1980, I was able to get orders to the Philippines. I stayed there for five years, in charge of the water freight terminal. In 1985, I got orders to the USS Cape Cod AD 43; did one WESTPAC on her and did some time off the coast of Oman. We were tending ships that were deployed up in the Gulf itself.”

In 1984, Richardson became a company commander at recruit training command in San Diego. He retired from Assault Boat Unit One out of Coronado as a Craftmaster 4.

“I’ve traveled all over the world. I’ve been stationed overseas and was able to enjoy other cultures and customs. One day I was taking the motor launch out to USS Holland AS 32. I had noticed that they had shifted some ballast, and the ship was riding a little high out of the water. My friend was sitting next to me, and he said to me looks like the tide just went out. A good laugh in the morning is a good way to start the day,” he said.

Richardson met his wife Linda when she was the secretary for a water freight terminal department head.

“This was when I was stationed in the Philippines at the water freight terminal,” he said. “We were married in the city of Olongapo, Philippines.”

They had three children.

Richardson retired as a boatswain’s mate and chief petty officer rated E7.

For the first three years after his retirement he sold automobiles.

“Then my wife and I opened up adult residential group homes for the developmentally disabled,” he said.

They retired from that career in 2012.

The family moved to Lake Riverside Estates in 2002.

“My wife was a social worker for the Department of Aging and had a call to come out to Lake Riverside Estates. When she got off work, she took me up and showed me the community. We bought two lots the very next day. I want to say that was 18 years ago. The home we’re living in now we’ve been in almost 12 years,” Richardson said proudly.

Active with his garden and always ready to share knowledge and seedlings, he said he is happy with his retirement in beautiful Aguanga.

“Our family structure is very secure,” he said. “Every day is a joyful day and as you get older you need to do things spontaneously. If you try to plan it out, it might never happen. So we’re going to enjoy life from day to day.”

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at