Jack Loren Reifschneider
Dates of Service: 10/30/1970 - 8/20/1971
Birth Date: 6/10/1925
Death Date: 9/20/2014
Jack Reifschneider was born on June 10, 1925 in Lincoln, Nebraska. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, where he enlisted in the navy. He completed his recruit training in San Diego, California and attended a class A navy technical school in Urbana, Illinois to become a signalman. During World War II, Reifschneider served as an enlisted man on three merchant ships in the North Atlantic, as well as in the Chinese, Burmese and Indian theaters of operation.
Reifschneider left the navy in 1945, but returned in November 1946 and served as an instructor at the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center in Tacoma, Washington until the fall of 1952. He then served as instructor at the Navy and Marine Corps Training Center in Spokane, Washington until December 1953. That December, Reifschneider reported for duty aboard Merganser (AMS-26) in Korea. Merganser provided minesweeping and patrol support for the Korean War effort. Reifschneider was the leading quartermaster and remained aboard until December 1955.
On June 26, 1956, Reifschneider accepted a commission as an ensign and was ordered to Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. From 1958 to 1959, Reifschneider participated in Operation Deep Freeze aboard the icebreaker Staten Island (AGB-5). Reifschneider became a lieutenant on June 1, 1960. He completed a three and a half year tour aboard the attack aircraft carrier Constellation (CVA-64) off the coast of Vietnam and, while there, was promoted to lieutenant commander in July 1965. The following July, Reifschneider reported to Singapore to serve as the officer in charge of a detachment handling rehabilitation and recreation for service personnel serving in Vietnam. Reifschneider served aboard the stores ship Aludra and assumed command in 1968, providing support to American warships off Vietnam until Aludra was decommissioned on September 2, 1969. In October 1969, Reifschneider transferred to Vietnam and served as officer in charge of the Military Sealift Command Unit at Cam Ranh Bay. In May 1970, he was hospitalized and evacuated to Madigan Army Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. He recovered there until his next assignment as commanding officer of Constitution. Reifschneider was promoted to commander on July 1, 1970.
Reifschneider commanded Constitution from October 30, 1970 to August 20, 1971. During his command, the collection of artifacts relating to the ship’s history was only just beginning to grow, and such objects were displayed in cases aboard the ship. In the 1970s, women were not allowed aboard Constitution. However, during an annual turnaround cruise in Boston Harbor in 1971, a Peabody Times reporter name Ruby Litinsky, who was previously denied a press pass because she was female, disguised herself as a man and boarded the ship. Reifschneider apprehended the reporter and had her removed to report on the cruise from a Coast Guard vessel .
After leaving Constitution, Reifschneider served as disaster preparedness officer of the Thirteenth Naval District from October 1971 until his retirement on May 1, 1973. The now defunct naval district was headquartered in the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington and encompassed the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Following his retirement, Reifschneider started traveling around the country in his Airstream trailer. He joined the Wally Byam Caravan Club International, and held several leadership positions within the club. Reifschneider died on September 20, 2014 in Olympia, Washington.