1983 - The Fourth Year of the Crazy Eighties - Living Dangerously
There were so many things that affected me, personally, in 1983 that it’s probably impossible to mention them all.
I was stationed in Hawaii at the time, but I spent less than six months there. The rest of the year was spent aboard a U.S. Navy ship (except for the port of calls).
Happenings in 1983
- The migration of the ARPANET to TCP/IP was officially completed (considered the true beginning of the internet).
- The 1983 United States embassy bombing in Beirut killed 63 people.
- President Ronald Reagan declassified the Global Positioning System (GPS) for public/civilian use. The system was restricted during the gulf war of 1990-1991 and opened up again in 1993.
- Vanessa Williams became the first African-American to be crowned Miss America, a title she was forced to relinquish later in the year.
- The GNU Project was publicly announced. Most Linux distributions today are based on GNU software.
- Suicide truck-bombings destroyed both the French Army and United States Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, killing 241 U.S. servicemen, 58 French paratroopers and 6 Lebanese civilians. My ship was redirected to the coast of Lebanon shortly thereafter.
- U.S. troops invaded Grenada. The movie, “Heartbreak Ridge”, was loosely based on the event.
Movies Released in 1983
The only movie I’m positive I watched in a theater was “Return of the Jedi”. I watched it with another Marine at a Chinese theater in Hong Kong, complete with Chinese subtitles.
- The Big Chill
- The Dead Zone
- Return of the Jedi (Star Wars)
- Risky Business
- Superman III
- Trading Places
- Twilight Zone: The Movie
- War Games
I’m sure there were many more that I just don’t remember.
I watched very little television while I was stationed in Hawaii. The only series I remember from that year is “The A-Team”. I didn’t start watching the rest of them until 1984-1985. I may have watched others but I can’t say I watched them in 1983.
Music Released in 1983
I spent a lot of time listening to music in various clubs in multiple countries. Those countries were port of calls, mostly liberty ports lasting less than a week. The only port of calls that were longer were the stops in the Philippines, first and last on the voyage. I met my future wife on the first stop.
- Air Supply - Making Love Out of Nothing At All
- Billy Joel - Allentown & Tell Her About It
- Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart
- Bryan Adams - Straight from the Heart
- Culture Club - Do You Really Want to Hurt Me
- Daryl Hall and John Oates - Maneater & One On One
- David Bowie - Let’s Dance
- Donna Summer - She Works Hard for the Money
- Duran Duran - Hungry Like a Wolf & Is There Something I Should Know
- Elton John - I’m Still Standing
- The Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
- Irene Cara - Flashdance…What A Feeling
- Journey - Faithfully & Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
- Laura Branigan - Gloria and Solitare
- Lionel Richie - Truly
- Madness - Our House
- Michael Sembello - Maniac
- Men At Work - Down Under
- Michael Jackson - Billy Jean & Beat It
- Naked Eyes - Always Something There to Remind Me & Promises, Promises
- Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack - Tonight, I Celebrate My Love
- Prince - 1999 & Little Red Corvette
- The Police - Every Breath You Take
- Spandau Ballet - True
- Stephen Bishop - It Might Be You
- Styx - Don’t Let It End & Mr. Roboto
- Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science
- Toto - Africa
I’m sure there were many more. I don’t want to think about it - my head already hurts.
So Much Going On
Honestly, I simply can’t remember everything. There were some things that happened in 1983 that I didn’t know about until 1984 or 1985. All the time I spent aboard the ship, but not at port of calls, is nothing but hazy memories. Even the port of calls aren’t clear memories. The ship stopped in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Kenya. I was bedridden with the flu during the Thailand stop - I didn’t see anything.
Unlike many of the Marines and Sailors on the ship, the USS Tarawa, I wasn’t looking for a good time every time we stopped. I met my future wife the first time we stopped in the Philippines. I wasn’t interested in finding any other companions after that.
I lived in an apartment in Kailua, next to the Marine Corps base, shortly after the deployment was over. It’s probably less than an hour drive from where I’m living today (temporarily, of course). I lived there until I was transferred to Yuma (again) in 1984.
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By RT Cunningham
August 14, 2019