Ralph Zanchelli grew up in Queens before moving to Franklin Square, Hempstead. After high school, he joined the Navy Reserve in 1963, and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Bennington (CVS-20), part of Anti-Sub Warfare Task Group 5, which was assigned to the South China Sea. He served as a Boatswain’s Mate, operating refueling equipment, handling shell casings in a 5-inch gun mount, and serving as a coxswain for the ship’s boats. After returning from Vietnam and getting out of the Navy, he joined the Suffolk County Police, where he served a full career in law enforcement.
In this interview, Ralph Zanchelli talks about his childhood and joining the Navy, reminiscing about his experiences in Basic Training. He describes, in detail, his duties on board the USS Bennington, and the camaraderie the crew developed. Finally, he discusses his career with the Suffolk County Police, and the attributes that are necessary for police officers, such as empathy and a desire to help people.