Fred & Sophia Ebner

Fred & Sophia Ebner

AFRH-W resident highlight – Fred and Sophia Ebner

By P.K. Knor | AFRH-W Resident

          Both Fred and Sophia are originally from Florida (and they also retired there). Fred and Sophia met at Palm Beach Junior College in Florida over 60 years ago.

          Fred met a Navy recruiter in 1961 and was thrilled by the idea of working on a nuclear submarine. After boot camp and electricians training school, he attended Sub School in Groton, Connecticut.

          After Fred’s first tour, on the USS Trigger, a diesel sub, he attended several nuclear power schools and was assigned for 3-4yrs to the new nuclear sub, the USS Dace in Groton, where he spent most of his time at sea. Before reporting to the Dace, Fred and Sophia got married. After two years aboard the Dace, Fred was sent to B School in Waukegan, Michigan. While there, their first daughter was born. Next he reported to another new nuclear sub, the USS Sea Devil out of Little Creek, VA. Again this assignment was spent mostly at sea.

           After eight years, and more time spent on the road with schools and at sea than with family, Fred and Sophia decided to leave the Navy and move to Ft. Pierce, Florida, with the consideration of possibly joining the Coast Guard Reserves. Sophia was pregnant with their second child and was still working. Fred joined the Coast Guard thinking that he would be home more than gone, but...this was not the case.

          After Coast Guard Training in Norfolk, Virginia, Fred’s first tour was aboard a 50 year old search and rescue cutter the Cherokee, as an electrician. He was then assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless in Miami, Florida. But, the Coast Guard was now also conducting law enforcement patrols out of Miami and again he was away from home regularly. 

           Fred was an E-7 at this time, but he made the Warrant Officer list. So, after WO School and a short assignment on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dependable in Panama City, Florida, the “entire family” was sent to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where Fred was assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bittersweet. The Bittersweet had an icebreaker hull, so again, he was away and busy during all the seasons. The family loved Cape Cod, but knew it would be too expensive to retire there, so they moved back to Florida to retire and give their daughters a chance to make lifelong friends and finish school. Fred was again assigned to the USCGC Dependable in Panama City for the remainder of his service.

          Fred retired as a CWO3 and was able to do what he loved, be a handyman (something he had done all his life) and Sophia continued to work out of their home as a certified cancer data abstractor collecting data for the state of Florida. They moved to Delray, Florida and Sophia traveled with her own business, and Fred accompanied her!

          Their two married daughters Julie and Laura live in Maryland and Tennessee.

          When they decided to downsize, they saw an ad for AFRH in the Submariners Magazine, came for a visit, and found just what they were looking for.

          Both are involved in many functions and activities at AFRH-W. They both swim for exercise. Fred also likes woodworking, ceramics and reading. Sophia likes hand-crafts (sewing, embroidery, etc.), genealogy and ceramics.

          They have traveled to 47 states and 11 countries since retiring and hope to take advantage of all of the great places to visit in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas.