Veteran’s Corner: Fred Briggs

Fred Briggs, USN

Fred Briggs, one of the Resident Report’s first subscribers and contributors, tells a story of when he was in the Navy in this week’s Veteran’s Corner. Most of our readers know about Fred and his countless years of service to The Villages. But many don’t know about his time in the Navy. Fred cares deeply about The Villages and has served her in many capacities. But this week we thank Fred for his military service, and we thank all our resident veterans for their service to our country.

Fred retired from the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander. He spent most of his career on submarines. Fred worked his way through the ranks, from seaman to warrant officer to commissioned officer. When Fred was a young Lieutenant, he was tasked with retrofitting old destroyers and making them ready for service in Vietnam. This task seemed easy on paper, but in reality was nearly impossible. His shipyard was given plenty of ships, but no funds for supplies. Of course, that didn’t stop Fred. He begged, borrowed, and did what he had to do to get all his ships seaworthy. He was so famous for his wheeling and dealing that at the end of this command his sailors presented him with a present- a framed hand-drawn picture of Fred with a camel. The caption read “LT Briggs and His Camel”, and it was given to him by “His 40 Thieves.” Fred still has that picture and keeps it as a reminder of a challenging and fun time in the Navy.