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Don Patterson
Senior Electrician’s Mate

Don Patterson, or ‘Pat’ as he’s commonly referred to, is probably the quietest man on the boat, yet his dedication to the Seaview, her men and ideals is as unwavering as any other man.  Along with ‘Ski, he is a plank-owner, preferring to keep that fact a private one. He has been with the boat from the time she was on the planning board, having been brought aboard by Chip Morton, when he himself joined the Institute.


‘Pat’ grew up on his grandparents' farm in Nebraska, the only child of a single parent. His parents were divorced; he and his mother lived with her parents, while his father etched out a career as a well known photographer and cameraman.  From an early age, young Don knew he did not want to remain 'down on the farm', and yearned to follow his father’s footsteps in the field of photography.  While his father made a good living and supported him and his mother as best he could, young Don was restless and would occasionally get into trouble because of his discontent.  With the help of his father and other financial aid, he was enrolled into a military High School, a place that the young man found put his life in order. He liked the structure and discipline of the school, but found he did not have the desire or penchant to lead. He knew, almost instinctively, that he would be a good follower, but that leadership was not his forte.


When he graduated from High School, he signed on for a tour in the Army, but found it not to his liking. While there, however, he became a proficient photographer, and when his time ended, he decided to try photography for a living. While he was good at his craft, at the time it was a struggle to make ends meet, so he made the decision to re-enter the service, this time choosing the Navy.  It was here that he had finally found his niche. With his photography background, he was sent on several duty assignments such as Pearl Harbor, Norfolk, and San Diego.  In addition to his photography duties, he picked up numerous courses in electronics during his tours.  Eventually, he was assigned to the Pentagon.  It was during this duty tour that he met an officer by the name of Chip Morton, who was assigned to the Public Relations office. ‘Pat’ and Morton developed a good working relationship.  Lt. Morton was extremely impressed by the quiet seaman, as well as the quality of his work.


When Morton was later called to serve at the Institute and the Seaview, he suggested Patterson to Nelson. Agreeing with Morton’s assessment, Nelson spoke to ‘Pat’ and the rating signed on to the boat.


For Patterson, it was a perfect fit. He got to do the job he liked; he got to be in on the beginnings of something exciting and was able to expand his abilities, working hard to become a senior electronics rating, along with eventually becoming a master diver.


He often shares his off-duty time with ‘Ski, and both men share an interest in amateur construction, building both of their houses on land at the Institute, given to them by Nelson. Patterson plans to have a family one day, but is still looking for the right woman to share his life.

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