Interview, William Heinrich, USN
William (Bill) Heinrich (b. 1945) was born and raised in the Rochester, NY, area and attended Marshall High School. He enlisted in the United States Navy at age 17 with permission from his parents and completed his high school diploma while in the service. Heinrich’s military service began on October 25, 1962. He specialized in small boat operations and was stationed in Georgia, California, Hawaii, and other locations. He was not sent to Vietnam. Heinrich served in the Navy for three-and-a-half years and was honorably discharged on May 6, 1966. After his service, Heinrich returned to the Rochester area and went to work for the Brockport Central School District until he retired.
In this interview, Heinrich discusses his early enlistment in the Navy, his assignments in the military, and his attitude toward his military service. Heinrich was one of the many servicemen who chose to enlist, with parental approval, before the age of 18. He explains that his dislike of formal education prompted his choice, and that he was able to sign up for a “Kiddie Cruise,” which ensured that he would remain in training until the age of 21. Heinrich discusses his first and longest mission on the USS Atlanta. Nicknamed “Sailorhat,” the mission was not declassified until 2013. Heinrich shares that he truly enjoyed his time in the service and that he has never regretted being in the Navy. He explains that military service taught him to appreciate his freedoms and he thinks that young people today would benefit from the same lesson.