As many of you know, I just retired from my civilian career with the Navy. For the last 20 years, I have worked for a government agency, under different names, that provides technical assistance to all of the Navy, Coast Guard, and Military Sea Lift Command ships, worldwide. My last 12 or 13 years have been spent with the Greatest Group of individuals that I have ever been with. When all else fails, call these people and they will fix the problem. Day or night, holidays, kid's birthday, vacation day, it does not matter. They can and will solve the problem, anywhere, anytime, at a cost that can't be duplicated! I became associated with this group of professionals through a strange turn of events. But, it was the best thing that ever happened to my Navy career.
Why do I write this, because this wonderful group of friends and their wives, held a retirement dinner for my wife and me this evening. This was an exceptional evening that words do not begin to describe. These friends, that do so much for the Navy and did so much for me, professionally and personally, made my wife and I feel so loved and special. I am at a loss for words. And if you know me, that's not normal. To top it off, they gave me a beautiful shadow box with a U.S. Ensign, flown over the USS Constitution, a group photograph of the entire team, and a very generous gift certificate. Since I don't normal put individuals names in my Blog, without their permission, I will only use their "Gator" given names. Linda and I appreciate all that each of you did for us through our long time together and tonight. Naturally, the lead instigator was Gator. Thanks for carrying me and being my friend. Squig, PBJ, Toy Story, Picachu, and the Slayer of Small Fish, thanks for planning this entire day, from the firing range time, which Linda and I really enjoyed, to the magnificent evening. Picachu, the slide show was a hit. Thanks for letting me tell a few "Sea" stories. The rest of the team was there too, Big Head, Bat Man, Hey Yu, Wacko, Big Money, Cell Block, T-Rex, Bubba and Cal, who retired a few years before me. Thanks also to all of the wives. I realize how hard it is to be out with a group of people you barely know but whom your Husbands are great friends with. But I really appreciated seeing each of you and being able to thank you for sharing your extremely talented Husband with the Navy and me. Trust me, the Navy could not do it's job without this group of dedicated professionals.
I'd be remiss if I did not say thanks to those who could not come tonight. PP had a very important Father - Son event. In my estimation, if he would have missed that event with his son, to be with me, I would have been angry with him. PP, your a great tech rep and a wonderful Father. Keep up the good work. Everyone of us missed Captain Kenny, but he was there in our hearts. There were other team members, from the early days in the Search Radar Branch, that were not able to come, but still hold a loving place in my heart like, Crash, Grumpy, Gumby, MacGiver, Jaws, OB, and others whose "Gator" given names have escaped my failing memory.
I have written before, but it bears repeating; I spend much time reliving past memories. Today, is hard to remember and harder to deal with. But my memories are safe, warm, enjoyable, places for me to rest. Thanks to each of you, for writing such a pleasant, loving memory of The Greatest Team of All. I will never forget you.