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The Navy's traditions live on in the hearts of those who serve

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Fellowship of the Military

I was just sitting here thinking, about old friends from the Navy, the good times we had, tough times too, and it crossed my mind, you never see any Ford assembly line reunions! Yes, there are High School reunions, and college home coming days, but never a reunion of hair dressers from Ruby's House of Peroxide. But, those of us who served in the military will go out of of way to get together with the old unit, shipmates, or even those who served on the same ship we did, but we never met. Why is that? In my humble opinion, its' because we share a unique experience. The training we go through, living so close to each other, knowing that that guy who stands watch with you might be the only one who can save your life when you really need someone to stop the bleeding or patch up that sucking chest wound. Do we like everyone we serve with, probably not. I suspect there were folks in your unit or on your ship that you MAY have had a quarrel or worse with, at least once. But, when the chips were down, you knew, he would come to your aid, and you to his. he close living and shared misery puts all of us in the same "kettle of fish" as my Dad used to say. And, it does not matter if you served 44 years like Master Chief Rudy Boesch or served a "Kiddie" cruise. It matters that you served honorably, fulfilled your obligations to the best of your ability, and were a member of the team. That's what they call camaraderie. So, the next time you see a reunion for your ship or your unit, GO, no matter how far it it. It will bring back great memories of a wonderful thing that you did. Thanks for your service!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Navy IS fun!!

I know that I have written some pretty down posts lately. I am sorry about that, but, I have to write what my memory gives me. Today, I was thinking about some of the great FUN I had in my Navy career. That's right, the Navy is FUN. I remember deploying for the Med on USS Caron in 1985. We were making the transit across the Atlantic, in company with the USS Garcia, and doing plenty of training. Gun shoots on a minutes notice, ship handling drills, fire drills, anything to hone our edge. One day, we were shooting .50 caliber machine guns at a sled being towed by the USS Garcia. I was on the starboard bridge wing with Captain Polk, watching our Gunner's Mates fire the .50 caliber, M2 Heavy Barrel machine gun. They were having great fun and great success hitting the target. We were about 1200 yards away from the target on a parallel course. All of the sudden, Captain Polk asks me, Master Chief, do we still have M79 grenade launchers? My answer was a simple yes. He said, let's shoot them at the target. Sounded like a good idea to me, so I went and got an M79 and a case of ammo. He and I were on the bridge wing, shooting 40 millimeter grenades at this towed sled. The first couple of rounds missed until we got the range, then, we started to pepper the target with grenade after grenade. We were having a great time. The .50 caliber machine gun was singing it's song and the Captain an I were taking turns playing the base note of the M79. Wow!

When the grading of our firing came back from the Garcia, we scored well on our .50 caliber firing and commended on our M79 accuracy. The DESRON Commodore really got a kick out of our extended training idea. You can never be too well trained or have too much fun!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Saying good bye to a great friend

I have put off writing this one for a couple of weeks. But, I need to address the loss of a great individual. This friend, co-worker, and confidant, was not a fleet sailor, yet he spent over 30 years making sure the detection systems on Navy ships and submarines were working to peak efficiency. He didn't deploy to exotic places for long periods of time or make voyages to places we don't tell our wives about. But he did go anywhere the Navy sent him to repair IFF, TACAN, and surface search radars, that no one else COULD fix. He was a model family man, an avid fisherman, and a true gentleman. He worked hard, diligently, for everything he attained and he treated all of the nice thing in life with respect and honor. He NEVER had a harsh word to say about anyone or any situation. Recently, he spent 5 weeks in the Persian gulf, grooming and fixing numerous ship's detection systems in person, and through the use of the telephone and email. I have to tell you, Kenny was a magician when it came to coaxing a sailor into finding the problem with a system! He was a master of distance support. Why, because he knew every IFF and TACAN tech on EVERY East Coast ship. He knew their strengths and weaknesses. He capitalize on their strengths and built on their weak points. Any sailor, that would listen to Kenny, would go away with much more knowledge and ability than he or she started with. I used to watch him teach an IFF class. He would take green techs, afraid to stick a probe in an AIMS MK XII encoder and turn them into competent fleet technicians. In any case. At the end of that recent 5 week stint in the "Sand Box". Kenny came down with what he thought was a cold. He took some "Patent" medicines and started the long flight home. By the time he got back, he had pneumonia. That was Saturday. Sunday, he went to the emergency room and they confirmed pneumonia. Monday he visited his doctor, and by Wednesday he was in the hospital in a medically induced comma. Two weeks later, Kenny was with the Lord. He was young, too young to be gone, only 56. But, too many things went wrong and his body could not fight it off. Yes, I know what GOD told us about our lives in Psalm 139 verse 16. "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." GOD was not surprised when Kenny passed from this life into his reward, but we were and I was. I know James, Christ's half brother wrote; "Faith without works is dead." Kenny had a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and I know he is in heaven today, because his life was a testimony of his faith. Kenny's entire life was an example for all of us to follow. If you knew him, look at his life and emulate it. If you did not know Kenny. I am sorry for you. You missed a truly good man. I will miss him, but I WILL see him again!