25 June 2007

Leaving on a jet plane

So one of the joys of living on one coast and deploying from another is having to fly to get there. So I get a chance to pile myself along with a hundred to two hundred other people into either a DC-9 or a 737 (as per typical government contracts these are small bodied early versions) and fly at what seems like hours from the West Coast to marry up with my aircraft carrier on the East Coast. Before I fly out the day before or hours before I have to support launching my aircraft over to the east coast. Before even that about a week ago, I boxed everything up that my work center owns and then stuff it all into an 18 wheeler which should arrive, hopefully, by the weekend. Which means I will be spending the weekend working to get all my gear loaded on the ship and stowed in the spaces on the ship. Why do I share all of this with you all, because instead of hanging out with friends, the romantic interest, and my family for the 4th of July; I get to spend it haze grey and underway for the last minute practice also known as a COMPTUEX/JTFEX or COMPosite Training Unit Exercise and Joint Task Force Exercise. Both of these are where the carrier strike group (of which I belong to via my squadron) and the Expeditionary Strike Group (what use to be known as a Amphibious Ready Group) work together as a team. The ESG carries the land strike element of the United States big stick. That is also known as Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, Jarheads, Leathernecks, or just Marines.
We all work together to work completely together as an air,land,sea team. Fun stuff this is the last wicket that needs to be hit before going on the big 6 (or more) month deployment.

Finally, since I will be working hard trying to keep my jets in the air and am not cool enough like some other mil-bloggers to have constant Internet access while they are on a ship or deployed someplace. After the 4th this little road side attraction will be on hiatus for a while at least till I get back in to town.

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21 June 2007

Interesting name change because of history

One of my friends sent a note about how Japan is changing the name of a famous island in both Japanese and American history. That is the island of Iwo Jima. Instead the Japanese are changing the name to the pre-war name of Iwo To. The government is doing this to make some of the former citizens feel better, because Iwo To is how the name was pronounced before the war and it was some Imperial Japanese Naval officers who made the mistakes of calling it Iwo Jima. I am not completely sure how I feel about this because as a student of history, when you look at a map and try to find area's where history has occurred you will see names change all over the maps of the world.

In case you don't know Iwo Jima is where 30,000 US Marines landed and faced off with 20,000 Imperial Japanese troops. One quarter of the Medal of Honor winners for the US Marine Corps were issued during the battle. Later on in the battle another 40,000 US Marines would land, at the end 25,000 men were casualties and 7000 were killed. If you crunch the numbers to take an island that is 8 square miles around the Marines suffered eighty percent casualties of those that landed. If you crunch it even further basically 32 men were injured or killed per every square mile to route out a fanatical enemy that was dug in and taught to die by their religious convictions. It was also a place that helped to fortify the mythos of the Marines. The US owned the island till 1968 when it was returned to the Japanese. Now it is a dual use base. 7th Fleet which is forward deploy in Japan uses the airbase there as a training field for carrier landings and the Japanese Air Self Defense Force usually has some fighters as quick reaction force based there.

This is the dedication of a memorial to the Marines lost during the attempt to secure the island on the 50th Anniversary. The man speaking is the Honorable John Dalton. The memorial was put up on the exact spot that the Joe Rosenthal Photo showed the second flag going up. The last two photos are from the 58th anniversary. 3rd MEF commander speaking in front of the dedication to the Japanese men and finally a shot of the island today.

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18 June 2007

You are the weakest link and you have failed as a leader.

Naval Base Kitsap Command Master Chief Petty Officer gets only 9 months instead of 7 years.

All I have to say is this:


What former MCPO Scott got seems very similar to the khaki mafia influencing a mast or court martial to protect one of their own. This looks bad to any E-6 or less service member. Why? Cause given a chance and this was an blue shirt, the book and then some would have been thrown at him. Go ahead and yell at me for saying this, but those of you that are (were) CPO's or Officer and try to tell me that I am wrong are just not looking back with the rose-colored glasses off their nose.

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15 June 2007

If I could afford to gas it and maintain it.

Deep thought for the day.

If I had the money to buy it, fuel it, and to maintain. Is a Grumman J2F Duck. I just think it would be cool to have at the local flying club on base. Then if I had a good weekend, hop in it with my fishing gear and find some secluded spot in one of the bay, coves, or lake. Spend the day fishing while sitting on the wing or in the radio operators station. Then when I have had enough, start the engine up again and come on home.

The Grumman J2F Duck is a further expansion of a design that Leroy Grumman borrowed from a former employer, Loeing Aircraft Co. It was so successful that it originally came into active service in the early 30's and served in a variety of locations and with either the US Navy or the US Coast Guard from 1931 until 1945.

It is a pretty easy aircraft from the maintaince side of the house. Just a rotary engine, hand cracked landing gear, cables and pulleys of the flight controls. In the cockpit there are some pretty simple gauges. A wet compass, a engine speed and temp guage, attitude indicators, then there is just a simple UHF radio that would be capable of doing radio direction finding. UHF radios aren't that hard to fix.
Like I said if I had the money for it. I would use it to go fishing or hunting in those hard spots to get to in other ways. I just think it would be a fun plane to play with where I am at right now.



14 June 2007

Why does life throw curveballs?

So life is going strong for me. I am in a great relationship with a beautiful woman, have just gotten a promotion, and am settled well in an apartment that I am renting. Then it happened, life in its finite wisdom threw me a curve ball.

I am expected to rotated from my current assignment in 12 months. "So what?", you say.

Big things.

The biggest question is where do I want to go to for my next assignment? Just looking at what is available is not good if I needed to rotate from here in the next 90days. It is all USS Neverdock scattered either here, San Dog, or Norfolk. On top of that if I want to stay in the community the only place to head off to is Japan and forward deployed. I am due to head to shore duty because I have done two sea duty tours with a short 9 month school in between them. Just looking at shore duty all I see locally is Always In Meetings Department. Which I am not really motivated to head to either. Been there, done that one, and got rid of the nervous tick.

What do I want to do? I want to head to either the school house and teach or head to the training squadron. If I do the school house then it is Monday thru Friday and a chance to get home by 1700. If I do the training squadron, I will still go to sea. Yet that will only be for two weeks then I am home. There are disadvantages to these choices.

My other choice is if I need to head back out to sea I would love to do a pacific deploying squadron and see some of the sights, sounds, tastes on that side of the world.

The other question is will the romantic interest react to me being forced to move if I can't stay in the area? I mean I am getting all back into the dating thing and really enjoy being with her. Yet, if it falls apart because I move away, then what? Do I become a hermit again and retreat to my job again or do I man up and try to date at my new duty assignment? Or will she stick by me and we just try to do the long distance thing?

I really liked Japan last summer I was there, but do I want to spend the next 3-4 years there?

I am so full of deep thought philosophical questions that unfortunantly only I can answer. I can try and talk to people about this, but still it is my decision. I am totally confused and unsure of what I should do.

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11 June 2007

Can you feel the love

So through out a number of cities in the US they have what is called "Fleet Week" which is usually used to celebrate the US Navy and US Marine Corps. Most of the time it goes off like Fleet Week in New York City, a time when the Sailors and Marines of the US Department of the Navy are celebrated.

Yes, I will admit too that Fleet Week is most cities are a recruiting tool as well, but it is an awesome thing to be in town and get up close to people that only see the military on TV news shows or via some other media. Even better is to walk up to some child and get asked questions like, "Are you a real Sailor?". Shy girls that are still in high school come up steal your white hat to get a picture of themselves in it or want to model the closing scene of "An Officer and a Gentleman.". One also get a chance to meet old grizzled vets who where in places that aren't known about anymore. It is a good time. I have only personally done it once when we pulled in to Miami. It was fun.

Though some cities have felt pressures from some of the extreme groups in the US that feel all we need to do is hug the world and apologize. So as a way to protest they push to ban Fleet Week when that backfires they tone down the rhetoric to ban military performance teams such as the Blue Angels, Leapfrogs, or Thunderbirds. So they do like three peace groups in San Francisco does petition the City Council to end the fly over as a step to end Fleet Week in the city.

I see this and it upsets me from time to time. Mainly because people associate us in the military with what is wrong in the world and abuse us because either they don't agree with politicos in the White House or they don't agree with US foreign policy.
I have thought about it for a while and talked with friends of mine over either a pint of beer or cup of coffee, while have a civilized debate about this. One of my friends sent on a copy of Rudyard Kipling's Poem titled "Tommy". It is Kipling's attack on the British Empire's civilians forgetting that it was on the backs of its soldiers and sailors that made it the empire for which the sun didn't set on for the better part of 2 centuries. Basically the populace shows hate, yelled at, jokes made of, and in general discontent of having soldiers walking around in uniform of the character that is until the solider is needed to defend them. Then it is the solider who basically says that they are a proud bunch and they see the population's reaction when they are not needed.
This is very much not unlike what I have seen from a number of friends about the police. They are hated and yelled at, that is until someone is in trouble.
So with out further ado here is the poem "Tommy":
by Rudyard Kipling:
I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
Think about this the next time you see people putting down the military or an individual solider. That most of us see this and at times it makes us angry, but we don't always express it out right. Why? Because at times it is like talking to a brick wall, or it just isn't worth it because some people have their minds set in concrete and are completely unwilling to change their minds. That is their lost.

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06 June 2007

My own connection to the 6th of June

As I write this it is the 6th of June. This date is pretty historic for a number of reasons, just historical items that occurred today:

  • 1862- The Battle of Memphis occurs in the American Civil War.
  • 1918- The Battle of Belleau Wood begins during the First World War. It was during this day that the USMC was award the name "Teufelshunde" from their German opponents. "Teufelshunde" roughly translates into Devil Dog.
  • 1942- The second day of operations during the Battle of Midway. The Japanese fleet is trying to retire and Spruance and Fletcher are conducting searches to make sure that another part of the Japanese fleet is not sneaking up on the two carriers left following the strikes on the 4th and 5th of June. Meanwhile the USS Yorktown is taken under tow by a fleet tug and they are attempting to make either Midway lagoon or Pearl Harbor to make repairs.
  • 1944-Operation Overlord or the Invasion of Normandy, France begins.

It is with moment in history that I have my own connection to this historic event. On my mother's side of the family, both my grandfather and his brother (my uncle) joined the Navy during World War 2. My grandfather served as a Aviation Machinist Mate in a training squadron in at NAS Corpus Christ, TX. Meanwhile my uncle went to pharmacists mate and went to serve in the Atlantic. In as far as I have been able to track he was assigned in 1943 to a pre-commissioning crew for LST-280. Sailed with LST-280 to England and in 1944 loaded up for the big invasion. He was the Pharmacists Mate on duty that morning when the LST made her run into one of the American beaches on day. Though they didn't deliver their cargo until well after the beachhead was secured that day. After that they were part of the run to deliver more troops and supplies to the beach head over the next few weeks. It on one of the return trips to England that his ship was attacked by a German U-boat. According to the the family story as my aunt has told me, my uncle's ship was part of a convoy of transports and supply ships heading back to the English coast on the night of 15JUN44. His ship was transporting some wounded men from the fighting on the Normandy coast back to better hospitals in England. He has just assumed the watch in the LST's sick bay when a torpedo struck the side of the ship. The torpedo hit the compartment that my uncle slept in and his relief just laid down in. Killed him and according to the family story, along with some of the other men asleep in their bunks that night in the compartment. A couple hours of fire-fighting and damage control efforts later the fire was out, the hole in the ship of the ship patched enough for the ship to continue on back to England and made port. The dead were taken ashore to be buried and life continued on for the crew of this LST. Near the end of 1944 he went home to the east coast and was transferred to a Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Virginia for the rest of the war.

Unfortunately for me, my uncle passed on due to a heart attack a few years before I was born. So the most I have to run on is family stories from my grandparents and my aunt. Those along with some stories from some of my great-cousins are about all I know of the man. We have pictures as well, that though just isn't the same. The thing I would love to do when I get the time is file a request with the US National Archives and Records Administration for his service jacket and create a shadow box of all his awards, duty stations, ranks, and put in one corner a folded up American Flag and in another corner a picture of him that she has in his dress blues as a PH1. Give that to her for a birthday or Christmas. Now I just need to dig up his original service number and his full name, to do all of that.

Anyhow, that is my little connection to the 6th of June and the invasion of Normandy.

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Some cool movies to watch

I cruise YouTube every so often for interesting videos and ran across these little time wasters and decided to pass them on to you all to keep you entertained, while I craft my next deep thought about the world.

Scooters return to aircraft carriers.
First up is a video from the Brazilian Navy and VF-1 "Falcons". The Brazilian Navy has an aircraft carrier the ex-French Carrier Foch now renamed Sao Paulo and they operate from her some SH-3G Sea King anti-submarine helicopters and a number of A-4Ku Skyhawks, aka "Scooters".

The Mighty Grumman Prowler
This is a video shot by VAQ-141 of the Might Grumman EA-6B Prowler in flight and in action.

The same thing no matter what navy you are in.
This is a video from the French carrier Charles de Gaulle. It shows that the same scenes are repeated no matter where you are. Dawn patrol, plane captains up prepping jets for launch, FOD walk down, launch and recovery cycles.

A Big and Beautiful Plane
This is a shot of an North American A-5B Vigilante. This was a large and powerful aircraft designed in the 60's to deliver a nuclear weapon on to the Soviets. It had a novel way of doing it as well. As the plane executed what was called the "Idiot Loop" or a also known as an Half Cuban Eight to deliver the weapon on the target, the nuclear weapon would be ejected out the tail in between the exhausts. However, one minor issue was that the airplane was so clean when flying that she use to keep the bomb in her slipstream and actually drag it along with the tail cone and the two extra fuel tanks they put inside the bomb bay a little bit until the bomb fell out of the slip stream. That along with some other issues pulled the A-5 away from the nuclear strike role, rather she was modified with cameras and was used to cross the beach alone and unafraid at twice the speed of sound to take before and after pictures of US carrier air wings targets in Vietnam. The Viggie was a big beast as well. She weight in at well over 48 thousand pounds taking off or coming in to land on an aircraft carrier, the heaviest to date airplane to do so constantly. She was 76ft from the point on the nose to the blunt end of the tail. I don't know but for some reason this plane just looks cool in the air and on the ground. It looks and was fast. In general it looks cool.

Well I hope you get a kick out of these little time wasters. Stay tuned more coming up soon about the 6th of June.



05 June 2007

General Quarters, General Quarters

After a morning in which 3 US carriers centered around the USS Enterprise (CV-6), USS Hornet (CV-8), and the slightly battered USS Yorktown (CV-5) and their respective air wings had found three of the four Japanese carriers that were part of an invasion force. It was just minutes before noon on the 4th of June, 1942 when strike force from IJMS Hiryu's (the last of the four and one of the six that bombed Pearl Harbor) air wing found the Yorktown. In quick succession three bombs were landed on her and that is when the real fun begun. Sailors trying to fight off the enemy, repair the ship, and return her to the fight. This historical photo from the US National Archives shows the sailors on the flight deck trying their darnedest to repair the flight deck and get the ship ready for flight operations again. Because an aircraft carrier with out a flight deck and an air wing is just a target.



03 June 2007

Cruise reading

Cruising on an Aircraft Carrier for 6+ months can get pretty boring at times. One of the ways that I find to bide my time is either bring a portable electronic gamebox, get in on a card game, or read a good book.

I am a person that a times has 3 or 4 books sitting on their bed side table for night time reading. It can get interesting when I am doing that with some fiction books. You lose track of who is who. When I was in middle school or high school I use to keep a spiral bound notebook by my bedside and create a scorecard of what was going on in each book. I have gotten past that now. Most of the time I have them stacked up on by bed side table for future reading. When I deploy though I am only able to carry a few things here and there. On top of that limited space and it becomes and issue of what books to bring. I have learned to bring thick, heavy, paperback books. I usually bring about 3-4 books that run in the thousand page plus, mainly because I read so fast and I usually try to read every place that I am at. After work sitting in my little sleeping cube with some music in my ears, waiting for a plane to land in the shop, going to lunch or dinner if I am going to eat alone, waiting for shift change, it really doesn't matter sometimes.

It also doesn't matter what I read either just something help me try and escape the ship for a while. I have read, "The Lord of the Rings", "The Fleet the Gods Forgot", "Red Storm Rising", "Introduction to Writings of Machiavelli", "Introduction to Airborne Radar Systems", "Short Stories of O.Henry", etc. I have read classics (or what most people consider classics), deep thought books, fun fiction, history, and job related educational books. Sometimes I get what I am reading, other times I don't understand some of what the author is trying to say. When that happens I put that book down and pick up another from my collection. The books that I don't understand I usually pick back up and try again. I don't ever try to admit that a book is above my intelligence. What I will usually turn around and do is again pick up a spiral bound notebook from my local supply clerk; and then create a mini-book club between me, myself, and I. At times the meetings can get very interesting because myself and I want to read fun things and me forces them to sit through the boring parts and really understand the chapter or pages that I have just read. Other times there are outright arguments when me falls asleep and then myself and I jumps ahead to an exciting portion in the book.

Anyhow, I am slowly gathering the books for this upcoming cruise I will be going on to keep myself entertained. So far my selections are as follows:

  • Democracy in America-Alexis De Tocqueville, This is the classic book by a Frenchman on how democracy was working the then new United States of America in the 1830's. Tocqueville traveled all through out the new republic and talked to people living in big cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York City. He also traveled to some of the little towns up and down the major roads at the time and talked to the common man to understand their beliefs of democracy and American government at time. This will be an interesting read for me, because this book is always talked about by politicos and history professors of how democracy was allowed to flourish in Europe and elsewhere.

  • The Federalist Papers-Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, This is the collection of basically letters to the editor by some of the framers (Hamilton, Jay, Madison) of the US Constitution on how the Constitution was supposed to work. These men were basically the lobbyist for ratification of the Constitution. They were also retorts to my other book choice. Most historians and political professors are able to guess who wrote which letters. At the time Hamilton, Jay, and Madison didn't want to be recognize so they used name Publius for signing off on all of the letters.

  • The Anti-Federalist Papers and Constitutional Convention Debates-Cato and Brutus. These were a series of letters to the editor that asked what sort of individual rights would of been granted under the New US Constitution when compared to the then Articles of Confederation. The people that wrote these letters maintained their anonymity as well, so well in fact that few modern historian actually know who wrote which letters. However, this book and its companion above give wonderful insight on how the constitutional debates and ratification process went. From what I have read in other places, the ratification debates make some of our current political debates (such as the war in Iraq, abortion, religion and government) pale in fire and passion.

  • Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy - Ian W. Toll, this is the short history of the building of the United States Navy. From nothing but a naval militia in the places like New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts; to have 6 fast and powerful frigates that gave the dominate navy at the time (the Royal Navy) a run for their money, did some oversea adventuring and helped to replace a government in the Mid-east with a more US-friendly one, challenged the French Navy (Quasi-Naval War), and basically held the line to protect Yankee merchant vessels until Congress would get around to authorizing a real navy later on in the century. A book about men that are now part of the mythos of the USN. Petty Officer Reuben James, Captain Thomas Truxtun, Captain Edward Preble, Captain William Bainbridge, Lt Stephen Decatur, Captain Issac Hull, etc.

  • Raymond Chandler:Collected Stories- Raymond Chandler, Raymond Chandler created the hard-boiled detective story with a detective name Philip Marlowe. He did it along with Dashiell Hammiett and in turn created a whole new genre of mystery. The one that shows the slightly decaying underside of a big city. The one where the detective isn't a Mrs. Marple or a Sherlock Holmes, but rather a jaded human being that feels the same way as nearly all of us. They aren't always able to spot the obvious and solve the puzzle in a few steps, rather it takes them down a few blind alleys and trying to figure all the angles. The one where the pretty damsel in may not be the in distress and may actually be looking for a patsy. I didn't think I would of enjoy this type of book, but after reading The Big Sleep I really got a kick out the book and the writing. This is a collection of the short stories he wrote for detective magazines in the 1930's and '40's. It interesting to see him develop his writing styling.

  • Black Shoe Carrier Admiral:Frank Jack Fletcher at Coral Sea, Midway & Guadalcanal - John B. Lundstrom, This was passed on to me by my father. John Lundstrom is a historian of some note inside Naval History. Most of his books that I have read are real well written and have plenty of fresh and new source material to prove his point. This one talks about Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, a man trained in how to run battleship fleets who was in command of carrier task forces at all the major battles and engagements of when the US Navy was up against the ropes. It was this black shoe who lead replenishment convoy in company of Adm. Brown and Lexington to Wake Island following Pearl Harbor only to be turned back by CINCPAC HQ. It was this black shoe was was in charge of Yorktown battle group and was there for Coral Sea. He was there with the Yorktown during Midway. He was there when the 1st Marine Division landed at the 'Canal. In turn because of choices he made in the heat of battle people have considered him an ineffective leader. Instead Lundstrom shows that he did the best that he could have and made the right decisions at the time when the massive fleet following 1943 wouldn't of begin to shown up. This looks interesting.

There are a few others, but these are going in the box of books I am going to mail my self just before heading to the ship on cruise. That way I don't have to lug them any place on my back or try and maneuver a big bulky box through the passage ways of the ship to where I sleep.

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01 June 2007

Scenes from the Flight Deck

Returning after being restructured is the famous show "Scenes from the Flight Deck" to the Southern Air Pirate channel. Previous Episodes are now available here:
Pilot episode
Second episode
Scenes from the second episode
"That may have been what it was like in the old Navy senior, but I am part of the new Navy. You have to be ready to jump quickly and quick to draw. That being said, we are caught up for right now and since we just cross the Chesapeake Bridge-tunnel complex, Burger doodle is too far away now. The AT shop is heading to lunch and grabbing a bite to eat before the mess decks close."
"Okay, just remember that the man-over board is at 1300."

So he and AT1 stumbled down the passageway remembering to try and pick up their feet over the knee knockers and carry on a conversation behind his back with the Uno.
"So where do you want to eat?"
"What do they have?"
"Dunno, usually they have sliders and fries up forward and back aft is the full meal. I would bet that since we just pulled out there might now be a line at either. So, we could..."
"Sliders sounds like a plan."
"Okay follow me."
They start to jink around the passageways up on the third deck above the hangar bay. For some reason only known to some one older them him, the hangar deck on a carrier is referred to as the main deck and everything above it is in the "oh" deck levels. They were on the oh-three (03) deck which is right below the flight deck (the 04 level) and where 99% of the staterooms and ready rooms were. Finally after moving through a couple of knee-knockers and turning through a couple of non-tight doors they came upon the ladder well that would take them right down to the line for the burgers and fries.
"We call them water burgers since they are nearly always sitting in a pan of liquid grease and look constantly wet. Sometimes we get lucky and they have fry season packets sitting out for us.", he said describing the menu to the uno.
Just as he was getting ready to say something else, the click of the general announcing system came on and three quick whistles
"Son of a..." they both said in unison as the turned and jumped up the ladder to head back to the shop.
At that instant some one was trying to come down the ladder. He thought about it for 5 seconds before realizing they were on the starboard side.
"Out of the way asshole you are going the wrong fucking way." As he shoved this person in coveralls which were neatly pressed with military creases and realized after a cursory examination was an non-petty officer with dual warfare pins.
"Obviously an admin punk who had nothing better to do then blow off real workers. While he got his pins gun-decked. "
They made it back to the shop in about 6 minutes and nearly everyone else was there. The night checkers were very unhappy and chief looked like he just woke up himself from a combat nap in the mess. AT1 took out his shift list and looked over.
"Anyone seen Airman Sanso?"
"Yea he is on his way, stupid bastard sleeps nude. That wasn't cool to roll out to." one of the night checkers that lived near him said.
30 seconds later in came the one missing man for the shop.
"South you want to dial maintenance and report AT's have everyone."
"Yea, Senior. AT's are here. All are accounted for. I know a few personnel issues need to still be resolved. Okay."
"Can we go now?" some one in the group pleaded.
"Nope not till they secure from Man Overboard." Chief said
For the next five minutes it went like that until at the 20 minute mark the constant screech of the 1mc changed yet again.
"Well at least Cobra's made it. We are usually lucky like that." he said to no one in general.
At 28 minutes later everyone was accounted for, the last one to be found was the AN Smith. After which the XO of the ship came on and went on for another 5 minutes about the need to do better and team Neverdocd.
"Okay night check can roll back to their racks." AT1 said
Grumbling and groaning they all staggered out.
"Well that was interesting. Do they always take that long?" AT1 asked
"Not really, but the boat chucks are pretty new." ,he said while looking at his watch, "Goddamit, we missed lunch and now the only thing worthwhile to eat is the taco bar."
"I don't feel like tacos."
"Good cause they aren't very good. Dried out meat or over spiced chicken and usually broken shells or ripped up soft shells."
"Hang on, I will get you two some burgers from the mess" Chief said for the first time after the start of the man overboard.
"Alright, lets go get the skids and the rest of the crap."
"Okay just follow me."
So for the next hour they went all over the hangar bay getting the gear together just in case they had to drop pods.
When they came back up to the shop there was one of the ITs and a pair of civilians standing outside the shop door.
"We are here to hook up your computers to the LAN and give you email and NALCOMIS access." the IT said
For the next 10 minutes of screwing around with the IT, a boat IT, and the civilians find out that of the three drops in the shop all but 1 didn't work and the one that did work was in a bad position to get to because it was behind the workbench. Yet, after it all it they finally got the two NMCI computers they brought out hooked up and email running.
They both separated and started to check their email on the separate computers.
After logging in he immediately clicked the icon for MS Outlook and waited for that to load.
The first thing message was from the AZ2 in charge of NALCOMIS, basically a link to the server while out to sea.
He skipped that one and looked through the 15 or 20 messages that had been stacking up since he forwarded he email the Friday when he got off from work before the flights out. When he finally found the two with the name he was looking for.
The romantic interest had written him twice. Once asking how the flight some general life subjects, the other email was some questions about himself. They had just barely known each other for a few days before he had to ship out. So it was perfectly natural to sit back and start to answer these questions.

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About as funny as a Don Imus joke

So my folks sent me an article about an incident over at a cemetery on Orcas Island which is part of the San Juan Islands in Washington state. I am from Washington state and my folks still live in the state. At times it can be very liberal and "progressive", yet this just takes the cake.

For those of you that haven't jumped to the link just yet here is the long of the short. Just before Memorial day a cemetery on Orcas Island was vandalized. Small little American flags that were placed in front of veterans graves were burned up and a number of them were replaced with hand drawn swastikas. So the local American Legion replaced those and it happened again the next night. Talking to my parents this hasn't caused much hand wringing in Seattle or some of the other big cities surrounding Seattle. Heck on the Tuesday edition of one of the papers and the local news stations this story was below the fold inside the local news section and after the 25 minute mark at the 5pm news.

That really hasn't caused me to hand wring that much either, because I see it every so often where I am living. Some of the hate and discontent directed at myself or my shipmates because of foreign policy decisions made by the White House or Congress. Even more interesting to see is the people take up how we are overpaid bloated and in general useless. I have become use to not letting it get to me.

I do get burned up at this desecration of some one's grave. It annoys me just the same as if the perps hadn't done it to vets graves but damaged some one's dear loved one headstone or stone angel or whatever memorial marker. This isn't being funny or trying to make a statement. This is outright dis-respect and at least in my humble opinion turn people off of your statement. If you can't reasonable debate your position and at least be open to hear the other side then I really think you don't deserve to be part of the conversation with the adults. There are plenty of people out there that I feel are like this some of them are the politicos ranging up from city council members to Congress members, selected teachers at the levels of US education system, and some people in general who base their stereotypes on Hollysleeze movies and those books/print journalism that supports their opinion. The most that these people can do is scream and shout and when you don't agree with them then insult you or your belief systems.

Now don't get me wrong I love people that have contrary ideas or positions. I am also pretty open about listening to what people have to say, because it challenges me to think hard and fast about my own position. I am also a person that believes that as long as you and me can agree to disagree and still shake hands at the end of the bottle of beer or cup of coffee, then that has been a good debate. I just wish more people were that tolerant. Oh, well to those the most I can say is this:

"Thank you for your support."

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