Happy Hour

"IF A LIFETIME CAN BE LIKENED TO A DAY, THEN THIS IS HAPPY HOUR!"
BUCK PENNINGTON

Mother, Mother Ocean

Mother, Mother Ocean, I've heard you call
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all
Watched the men who rode you, switch from sails to steam
In your belly you hold the treasures, few have ever seen
Most of 'em dream, most of 'em dream
Yes, I am a pirate, two hundred year's too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late

Yoda

"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."
―Yoda, to Luke Skywalker

Counted the Stars

Counted the stars on the 4th of July
Wishing we were rockets bursting in the sky
Talking about redemption and leaving things behind
I have these pictures and I keep these photographs
To remind me of a time
These pictures and these photographs
Let me know I'm doin' fine
We used to be so happy once upon a time
Once upon a time
But the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line
And the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line


""SOME SEE A GLASS AS HALF FULL, SOME SEE IT AS HALF EMPTY, I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHO’S DRINKING MY RUM."
Rumbear

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Elaboration on a comment at instapinch and other observations of a life at sea

Pinch had a really cool shot of the Island on USS Harry S Truman CVN75's Island. It was decorated with all sorts of Departmental Awards. Seems to have it's act together?
The post had comments as to who got what "E"
The black "E" is something familiar to me. I was a recipient twice.
The first was aboard USS Ranger CV61 during the 1980-1981 cycle as a member of the AIMD Hydraulic/Pneumatic Shop. Best in Pac Fleet.
The second was aboard USS Kitty Hawk CV63 for the 1986-1987 cycle including the World Cruise. Best in Pac Fleet, again.
In the early part of 1988, as a member of SeaOpDet Lemoore aboard USS Nimitz, I informed the assistant department head that the black "E" that the Nimitz had won while still in the Atlantic Fleet should be mailed back to ComNavAirLant. He enquired as to why and also desired that I qualify that statement.
First: I told him his Hydraulic/Pneumatic shop LPO, fresh out of the F/A-18 RAG at Cecil Field was out of his league. The man had more of those green government "record" books for things that he spent the bulk of his time in the logs and not running his work center. And I then informed him of the two black "E"s I already had. I even drew my service record to back it up. His answer was: you're right, we don't deserve it.
This was the point in my career that I realized things were changing. And not necessarily for the good. But I was also over 14 years of service and pushing 15. The first draw down was being started and I almost got out. The set up was that if you had an End Obligated Active Service between April and September of 1988, it was re-enlist for two years or get out. I shipped over with a few days left. A lot of men I knew got out and some were very senior second and first class petty officers who were the experience the Navy could ill afford to lose. Understand this is before we had the number and low quality of idiots in the congress that we have now. We are talking 21 years ago. Keep that in mind.
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: The fallout after this was incredible. I was on my last shore tour during this. It was following this that the Graham-Rudman act took effect and the beginning of the most massive draw down since the end of WW2 began. I had to re-enlist to obliserve for a sea tour. I shipped for four years. Six months later, I completed a PCS transfer to a seagoing squadron. It was walk out of one hangar and into another at NAS Whidbey Island, WA. When I checked in, the Command Career Counselor said to me that the window to request transfer to the Fleet Reserve had been opened to 18 months from the projected date. That day was exactly 18 months out. They got rid of us in bunches. I averaged a retirement ceremony per week for those last 18 months, of someone I knew and had served with.
I enlisted on 29 September 1973 at AAFES Butte, Montana. I had a draft lottery number of 343 as a member of the class of 1972. Let that sink in, a lottery number in the draft, the last draft. I am almost 2 generations removed from those who now serve................at a spry age of 55! Think about it. The primary fleet fighter when I first went to sea was the F-4! Three of the five ships I went to sea on are gone, awaiting their fate in Bremerton, Washington. Three of the squadrons I was in at sea and ashore are gone, along with a Naval Air Station.
Buck, Old NFO, MCPO Airdale and my brother-in-law, fair winds and following seas.

3 comments:

Buck said...

I hear every bit of this, loud and clear. All I can do is invoke an Ol' Fart-ism: I'm oh-so-glad I served when I did. SN1 and I go round and round on the state of "things" today and I find myself sounding a LOT like my old man back in the day when he was always telling me that my Air Force was nothing like HIS Air Force. The Ol Man was right, yanno? And so am I, to a certain extent. SN2 and I beat this subject up a bit, too... but he's Navy and I most often can't relate to his tales o' woe except in a general sorta way.

Old Retired Petty Officer said...

When I got off the airplane from San Dog in the Elmo Z. coat and tie uniform that was issued beginning in 73..........Dad said..........You don't look like a god damned sailor! You look like a skycap!
My eldest is in the Army Reserve in one of those MRT jobs. Nice civilian gig but with that reserve catch to it. All I have to compare is my Dad and that is but a blurry memory now.
The bad part then was watching it change and not being able to do anything about it. But at least I hung on and got that "big check" the first of every month. It has been a life saver on occasion. The last five and a half years were not as fun as the first fourteen and a half. It was almost a battle to stay until I got that Blue ID. And those two Black "E's" are the only thing as far as awards go that I put on a resume'.
And I loved the ocean! Early morning before the flying day began was sometimes breath taking out there.
Remember perspective shortly after the surgery? In November of 2006, The Missus, Youngest Daughter and Granddaughter went on vacation to Oceanside to spend Thanksgiving with family. The Daughter, Granddaughter and I went to the beach and the Pier. We let Bailee wade in the surf, just for fun. While doing this, she looked up and asked me this.Have you ever seen this ocean, Pa Pa? I replied yes, I had. She said when and I responded with......the last time I was out there on it. The look on a five year old's face............priceless.

Buck said...

The look on a five year old's face............priceless.

Now THAT is just too cool!

I will not go down and tell my children I didn't have the courage, the conviction, the commitment or the character to fight for this country...Don't go home and let your children down~~ LTC Allen West

Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus

‎"Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.("Therefore, he who desires peace, let him prepare for war")" from "Epitoma Rei Militaris," by Vegetius (Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus)