Here Endeth my Patrol on the USCG Cutter Munro

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

May 11

Munro from the helo.

Things I won’t forget

The schizophrenic nature of an equatorial sunrise.
Sometimes it’s a bare, self-effacing minimum of pink pastels, peeping over the edge of the world with a diffident look, as if to say, “Oh, don’t mind me, I’ll just come up over here and you go on about your business.”
Other times it boils up over the ocean in a ferocious, frothing mass, beating its orange and gold chest, daring you to look away, and you don’t, for fear of what it might do when your back is turned.

Rolling out of my rack at 4am when I hear the pipe, “Now, set Flight Condition 1! Close all doors and hatches! The smoking lamp is out!”

the Darwin sorter

too little, too late

Being judged and found wanting in evolutionary excellence by the Darwin sorter.

EO Todd Raybonn’s description of the ballast evolution. “Every tank is only four valves away from sea water.” He makes the ship sound alive.

LSO

The way the flight deck seems to shrink in size the closer the helo gets to landing, whether I’m on board it or not.

me and the Twin Towers, aka Captain Barkley Lloyd and XO CDR Steve Rothchild

The absolutely unnecessary collective height of the Captain and the XO. They aren’t intimidating enough already? Sheesh.

The startling, over-the-cliff drop in crew energy and enthusiasm in mid-patrol. The grim, determined climb out of the pit, greatly aided by the crossing of the line festivities.

About which, I say only: Aaaarrrrrrrg. Though not as well as any one of the Chiefs.

Nicknames in the Chief’s Mess. I’m not telling who was called what, but they all fit. Nobody tell me what they’re calling me now that I’m gone.

The wonder in the eyes of my underway writers’ workshop as they learn what works and what doesn’t. I didn’t know I could do that.

the Captain and the kid

Our crew at that orphanage.

The pixie in the galley, aka FS2 Nicki Steele, serving midrats to the mid shift crew she treats like family. Also, her snickerdoodles.

Counting down the minutes left with the midnight-to-four watch on the bridge. Those guys are glad to see anybody.

Darkened ship, DIW, hove to beneath a moon so bright I can’t find my way home.

Things I won’t miss

Sea showers. I have too much hair for an EPAC patrol.

That’s all, really.

rendering honors

To the Captain and crew of the USCG cutter Munro,

Thank you for your tolerant acceptance of my presence among you. Thank you for your infinite patience in answering my endless questions. If I don’t get it right in the books, it won’t be your fault.

I will think of you all, I will miss you all, and I’m going to write about you all.

Now, set go fast red!


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Mess Bill

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

May 10

Munro's FS crew

I just got my mess bill from FS1 Kelly Napier. The total comes to $290.25 for March, April, & May. “Was it worth it?” she wants to know. “Not exactly cruise ship quality?”

Kelly breaks my mess bill down this way. “Breakfast is $1.65.
Lunch & Supper are $3.15 each. Everyone gets signed up for pizza night (no way of keeping good track of that night!). If someone doesn’t sign up for either a lunch or supper, we sign them up for one meal.
For all the snacks, espresso, and other items that are kept out to be consumed throughout the day, a ‘Coffee Mess’ is charged each officer, four if we are inport, eight if we are underway. If an officer isn’t with us the whole month, we estimate a number.”

Officers and guests are charged. Enlisted are not.

So I wrote my check and I marched it down the main deck to her office so I could say thank you in person for feeding me so well on this patrol. Let me just say one more time, everyone works hard on Munro, but the FS’s work hardest of all, in a grueling physical environment beneath the hypercritical view of their shipmates three and sometimes four times a day. FS2 Lee Schob, thank you again for the green chile stew. FS2 Nicki Steele, your snickerdoodles are divine, and your apple pie ambrosia. Captain, your egg yolks aren’t runny enough for over medium. See what you can do about that, will you?

Okay, maybe not cruise ship quality, but $290.25 for almost two months of meals that were pretty consistently tasty and for the most part pretty healthy? I lost weight on this patrol and I didn’t even work out (I figured I’d already hit this ship with my head once). If I ate this well at home where I get all the exercise in the world, all my pants would fit.

It was a bargain.

In the photo, from left:

FS1 Kelly Napier (who is going to EMT school this summer and who also swings a mean paintbrush)
FS2 Moy Castillo (who turned me onto Sonora Santanera)
FS3 Matt Dulemba (who joins me in worshipping at the feet of Joss Whedon)
FS2 Lee Schob (who works out of Repair Locker 2 as well as the galley)
FS3 Shane Ayers (who is always smiling, even in the galley)
FS2 Nicki Steele (with whom I have a date sometime in the future to figure out my mom’s cinammon roll recipe)
FS3 Jake Barclay (He’s sure Snape is evil. Me? Not so much.)

Missing is FS1 Tracy Mellott (We shared a mutual affection for the espresso machine in the wardroom. Thanks for all the half and half, Tracy.).

Tomorrow, it’s goodbye, so long and thanks for all the fish. No, wait. Where was all the sushi I was promised, anyway?


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COMREL

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

May 8

USCG COMREL arrival
sanding port
sanding starboard
It’s called, in Coastie speak, a COMREL, short for community relations. Forty-five Munro crew members leave the ship at ten a.m. and present ourselves at a local orphanage for duty. We enter through a locked gate and are led to a courtyard occupying the center of a group of buildings that look as if they could have been picked up from Tucson, Arizona, and put down here.

men at work
shade gang
washing windows

We are taken in hand by a solid-looking, no-nonsense woman named Ruth, whose lack of English does not hamper her brisk ability to assign us tasks, washing windows, cleaning bathrooms and dormitories, scrubbing, sanding and painting walls both inside and out.
FN Sean Clark and the never-ending wall
LTJG Josh Dipietro with scaffolding
ENS Gary Kim in war paint

There is part of a scaffold that LTJG Josh Dipietro and crew loses no time in assembling to wash two stories’ worth of louvered windows on the auditorium. Inside, FN Sean Clark piles a small table on top of a large table, mickey-mouses a telescoping rod with a paint roller on the end of it, and starts painting up toward the ceiling while everyone else paints down toward the floor. The color is a brilliant teal green. “El color es muy bueno,” I say to one of the orphanage workers. “Muy bonito,” he says, grinning. Okay, so I don’t remember hardly any of my college Spanish, the color is gorgeous in any language.

SN Alex Trimble buried
HSC Gene Mason and friend

It is cooler in there than it is outside, where a gang of crew members dressed in everything from ship’s overalls to shorts and t-shirts is scraping paint. The work goes quicker when the Captain takes up a collection and sends out for more scrapers. The orphanage brings out buckets and buckets of paint, the exterior color a warm peach. Most of the walls require two and three coats. Ladders that would have registered 7 like a gong on a GAR assessment materialize and tall people climb them with safety spotters and paint loaders to paint up, while others climb up on the roof and paint down.
the kids
kid in wheelchair
short break
Nate Noyes and friend
HSC Gene Mason and friends
last arch
dead soldiers

SN Alex Trimble takes a break from cleaning to unwisely enter a room full of tiny tots, and disappears beneath the onslaught. SKC Heidi Eystadt, YNC Eve Helms and HSC Gene Mason clean bathrooms and are then hijacked by a roomful of little girls. I bring out my camera and am mobbed.
knocking off
soccer
pandemonium

Lunch arrives in the form of burgers, fries and cold drinks and we knock off for half an hour. Gene is very quiet. “You just want to take one home with you,” he says finally. “You want to take them all home with you,” I say.
piggy back

photo op

It’s not like the kids look hungry or mistreated, in fact, the opposite. They look healthy and most of them happy. They’re safe, they’re not on the streets. Some of them are handicapped, others low-functioning, and some are in wheelchairs, but the people who work there seem kind and capable and all the children help each other out. Kinda like Coasties on liberty, they all have buddies. goodbye

It’s just that there are so many of them, they are so responsive to any attention, and then here comes this big-hearted crew who haven’t seen their own kids (or any kids, really) in two months.

For those same two months, I’ve been listening to OSC Luke Cutburth talk about Zachary who wrote the essay on Thomas Edison (“But I call him Al”), XO Steve Rothchild about Chelsea’s saxophone playing and Erica’s singing, Gene Mason about Courtney, Kevin and Sarah, Todd Raybonn about his two girls and a third on the way (“Scarey,” one of them said when she saw the picture of Charlene on the blog), Matt Sayers about Little Man, the Captain about Matt, Emily and Miss Bridget and their lemonade stand in front of the Ballard Locks. I never again want to see anyone as unhappy as EMO Jimmy Olson was after our first port call, where he had talked to his kids for the first time in three weeks and knew he wouldn’t be talking to them again for at least that long.

At the orphanage that day, I am glad I am wearing sunglasses. Can’t have these big strong Coasties see me cry.

After lunch, the orphanage workers seem to wake up to what a good thing they are on to here, and more exterior walls are discovered to be in need of paint. In the auditorium, FN Sean Clark is still painting up. The scaffolding has been reassembled inside to get at the really high spaces. ENS Gary Kim, who has donned war paint, climbs up to paint the last arch. People are knocking off, stacking brushes, rollers and empty buckets of paint, and gathering on the steps leading up to the auditorium to pound back bottles of water and pop. A soccer ball appears and our crew members start kicking it around.

“We’ve gotta go,” the Captain says, and then they turn the kids loose. They swarm down into the courtyard and mob the crew members and it’s pandemonium. Our crew has kids riding on their shoulders, kids swinging on their hands, kids playing soccer with them, kids playing tag and airplane and hide and seek with them. There is no language barrier here.

Crew and kids assemble on the stairs for a photo op, and then it really is time to leave. Two toddlers almost make it out to the bus with us, cut off at the pass by two laughing workers. The kids and staff are still waving and calling “Adios!” as we climb on board for the ride back to Munro.

Overheard in the bus coming home:

“That’s the coolest thing we’ve done on this patrol.”

“I’ve never been so excited to go anywhere as I was this morning.”

“And it was manual labor. That’s just wrong.”

These people have been at sea for two months. This is only their second port call. Port call is only three days long, and this time, due to heightened security concerns in this particular country, they have to return each night to the ship, no hotel stays. They voluntarily gave up one of these precious days to public service, and it wasn’t even our public.

No. That’s just right.


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Underway Writers Workshop 3

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

May 7

Relieving the Watch
LTJG Josh Dipietro

Mr D's Last Day

“Why’s this engine overloaded? What the hell you been doing all watch?”
“Overload, what the hell are you talking about, look at the rack reading, look at the scav air. We are acting perfectly within published parameters, the only thing wrong here is you can’t figure out how to fix your stupid overload light. Huh, freaking overload.”
“When’s the last time you checked the scav air? Have you made any adjustments? What are you gonna just ignore that light? Damn, Lumpy, just drive it like you stole it. Don’t worry, Main Prop will spend hours fixing our shit cause you don’t feel like standing a competent watch.”
“At least I stand a watch and don’t get everyone to relieve me to smoke and joke. So, what’s for lunch?”
“Oh, its chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and corn on the cob and they actually cooked it right this time so its isn’t all mushy or raw. You better get up there while they still have the pie, too!”
“Alright, Andy, take the pass down real quick so I can go get some.”
“In the booth, MPA has the EOW.”
“See ya in the gym at 1900.”
“See ya, Lump.”
———————————————————–

Port Call
SN Caleb Critchfield

SN Caleb Critchfield

“Liberty, liberty, liberty! Liberty is hereby granted to expire in accordance with the plan of the day! Now, liberty!”
These are, without a doubt, the sweetest words ever heard aboard USCGC Munro. After three straight weeks underway we finally pulled into our first official port call. The weather was hot and sunny, there was a mountainous jungle looming over the pier, and several hotels and bars waited to be occupied.
A small group of us went to a local hotel to get rooms. After about an hour there admiring the room and the small jungle in the courtyard, complete with aviary, we hopped a cab to the bar.
If avoiding contact with anyone from the boat had been our goal that night, we would have failed completely. Every department and every rank on the ship was represented by at least one bar patron that first night.
At the end of the evening many bowed out gracefully. Some went kicking and screaming, but no one was left behind. After a day of Powerpoint presentations on the dangers of drinking too much and the sudden reversal of a strict liberty policy, none of us were willing to risk the wrath of command. We may have been relaxing, we may have been trying to escape the pressures and responsibilities of underway life, but we all looked out for one another. Everyone made it back to the boat, or the hotel, and lived to regret the previous night.
The next morning twenty-two of us woke up early to go on a horseback ride. It took us through town and deep into the jungle to a small open air restaurant. There we dined on local cuisine, met large barking rodents, and set out on a hike through the jungle. Three streams, a large jungle swing and one rest stop later we reached the falls.
Here we luxuriated in a deep pool fed by cascading water and zipped through the trees on suspended wires. We made our way back to the restaurant and mounted up. Not even halfway back the sky opened up. The rain dissolved one camera and almost dissolved pockets full of money.
There was more revelry that evening, but not so much as the previous night. The crew had hit their stride and settled in and there was a much more relaxed air about the entire crowd. That night was all about slowing down and enjoying the remaining time in port.
Imagine being at work twenty four hours a day seven days a week. You work and eat and work and sleep and work some more. You don’t get to go home. You don’t get to see your friends or your family. You live at work.
Port calls give the crew a chance to get away from work. They allow all of us, from the Commanding Officer to the lowest ranking Seaman Apprentice to take some time off and relax.

———————————————————
Pollywog
OS3 Carson Russell

Carson's Pollywogs
Carson Russell wrote a very nice piece about the metamorphosis from pollywog to shellback, and then discovered to both his and my dismay that the time-honored, purely voluntary and entirely safe ceremony is undertaken beneath an oath of secrecy.
“There are ceremonies for crossing many different parts of the ocean,” he says. “On Munro we did the crossing of the line ceremony for crossing the equator into Davy Jones’ territory. We started as pollywogs and became Honorable Shellbacks. We had an excellent time with it, and we’re anxiously waiting to do the other line crossing ceremonies sometime in our Coast Guard careers.”
In the meantime, here’s a photo of Carson, his fellow pollywogs, and their Honorable Shellback sponsor, EMO Jimmy Olson.


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Underway Writers Workshop 2

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

May 6

Lookout
SN Dennis R Gordon III

SN Dennis Gordon
1120.
I have been on watch for five minutes.
It feels like three hours.
The ocean rocks the 378 like a cradle. Water against the hull, wind whistling through the antenna, the occasional unrecognizable clank or thud.
It is dark. The moon and stars peek from behind the clouds every so often to cast beams of glorious white light on the surface of the water.
The green vision of the NVGs fabricates a world of light in the darkness, mocking me. “Found a go fast yet?”
I check my watch.
1122.

—————————————————————-

Way Down in the Hole
DC2 Shawn Milton

DC2 Shawn Milton

Just when I was getting my sleep on, 0330 I get woke up out of a pretty cool dream.
Great, another call. “What was it this time?” I said, as I put on my overalls.
I take a moment to calm down. Have you have ever slept in a space the size of your average middle income kitchen with 14 other guys? You hear everything in my berthing area, snoring, groaning, and farting. I swear, this place smells like ass and feet. I don’t know sometimes how I ever get any sleep.
I walk the darkened passageway down to the guts of the ship. Yes, my friends, where all the sewage pipes dead end. I climb down the ladder, the dull light trying to penetrate the darkness, reddish brown decks and the grey sides of the ever-loving VCT.
Finally, I’m here, someplace I don’t want to be, Forward Sewage. I try and drain the VCT tank down below halfway before opening the sucker up. Don’t even think of the glass half full on this job.
I put on my glasses and gloves and start to release the vacuum pressure from the tank. Opening one of these suckers up is kind of like opening a Cracker Jack box. You never know what kind of prize is clogging up the system.
I just hope its something different this time, other than the usual paper towels, green pads, or feminine hygiene products.
—————————————————————-

We are ETs
ET3 Dea Lang

PO Dea Lang
They call us passengers.
They call us Rec Deck 8.
We don’t stand watch. We don’t work in the engine room. We don’t work on the bridge. We don’t clean out forward sewage.
We are ETs. Our real name is Electronics Technicians, but the ones who know us well call us the Everything Techs.
Every BM knows that the boat can function without radars and positioning equipment. But what would happen if our ability to find go-fasts disappeared? What would happen if communications with aircraft, other ships, stations, or the beach went down?
Every ET knows that there are many more important jobs all around us, engineers, support, even deckies, but we take pride in what we do. Every day we deal with our number one problem, operator error. Equipment breaks, we fix it. We set up network LANs, so that the ship can participate in gaming.
We go to school for eight months just to learn the basics. In port, we stay late to update, fix, and install equipment that betters the ship and her crew. We know what we do, and we do it the best we can.
We are ETs.


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Underway Writers Workshop 1

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

May 5

There were initially sixteen students in what I called my Underway Writers Workshop. I confidently expected that number to drop by half after the first class, especially since it wasn’t for credit and class time was at the mercy of ops and as such, well, fluid.

They stuck with it, though. I taught them first lines, setting, character, plot, and dialogue, and I made them practice, practice, practice writing, in class and out of it.

At the end of the last class, I challenged them to write me a story about life underway. If I liked it, and the Captain permitting, I’d post it to the blog. Nine of them stepped up. I’ll post three daily for the next three days. Enjoy.

——————————————————

Leaving for Work
YN1 Matthew Sayers

YN1 Matthew Sayers and Little Man

“I love you, little man.” I said.
“I love you too, Daddy. Why are you crying?” Like a knife straight to the heart.
I glanced at my wife. Can you please help me out here?
“Daddy is just sad because he’s going to miss you.”
I grabbed my last bag and walked it out to the car. Fuck, here we go again. Come on, Matt, suck it up. Let’s just get it done.
“I’ll be back before you know it, little dude.” Getting down on one knee, I gave him one last big hug and kiss. “Be a good boy for Mommy, o.k.?”
“O.k., Daddy.” Like I was going out for milk. Kids. Gotta love their perspective on life.
Standing up, holding my son’s gaze as long as I could, I turned to my wife. “I love you, babe.”
“I love you, too. Be careful and email me as soon as you can. Go, we’ll be fine. Do what you need to do.” Women. God bless ‘em.
Day one underway is always the hardest.
———————————————————–
Arriving Munro
YN3 Dorothy Davies

SK3 Dorothy Davies

She wished the ride from the Oakland International Airport would never end, but the van came to a halt all too soon. The salt smell of the sea air was overwhelming when the door opened.
The streetlight lit up the name USCGC MUNRO. The seamen tried to give her words of encouragement, but she couldn’t hear them over the thumping of her heart.
The ship grew larger with each step forward. The day that was so far off was actually here. She climbed the stairs leading to the brow. The weight of the green sea bag pulled her back, as if to tell her not to go.
The watch stander stood and smiled. She reached out her hand and said, “Hello. I am YN3 Dottie Davies, reporting as ordered”. He signed her in and the seamen led her down into MUNRO.
She walked into the berthing area and saw where she would sleep for the next two years. She smiled shyly at the other females, trying to make a good first impression with her new roommates. She unpacked, showered and lay down in her rack.
She wanted to hurry and go to sleep, in the hope that when she woke up she would not be there.
———————————————————–
First Day Underway
SN Jessica Roberts

SN Jessica Roberts

“Now, there has been a report of fire in the engine room. All hands man your General Emergency billets!” I pulled out my WQSB and for G/E it said Bridge-Lookout.
It was my first day on board Munro, and I arrived at what most people referred to as the worst time possible, during TACT. TACT is a three-week long training evaluation where the crew is evaluated by the Navy on our proficiency and ability to react and perform during fires, floods, man-overboard, abandon ship, and refueling at sea, just to name a few.
No one had time to take me through the ship and show me where everything is, and there was no time for me to get familiar and settled in. This cutter is 378 feet long. During the first week, 378 feet seems like 378 miles. I had no idea what TACT meant. I didn’t realize that this was just a drill. Not only was I lost, but I thought the ship was on fire and I was scared for my life.
“Where’s the bridge?” Someone in the passageway laughed at me and said “Are you serious?”
Someone finally said, “Forward of the Wardroom, and up.” I yelled back at him “Where’s the Wardroom?”
He rolled his eyes and pointed down the passageway. Ah, okay. But I’m not an officer. I’m not allowed to walk through the Wardroom. So I “walk with a sense of urgency,” one of the useful phrases we learned in basic training, as opposed to running, through Chiefs Country, which I find out later than I’m not allowed to walk through, either.
Luckily the person ahead of me was on his way to the bridge, too. I finally arrive and someone throws me flash gear. Flash gear consists of a fire retardant hood, gloves and red long sleeved shirt. We were in San Diego, and the temperature on the bridge was eighty-something degrees, and they want me to wear all this?
I put it on and the Conning Officer said, “Seaman Roberts, you can lay to the flying bridge.”
“Um, where’s that, sir?” I think everyone on the bridge laughed at me. Someone took me out on the bridge wing and pointed to this terrifying little ladder that went up to a small weather deck above us. I have to climb up that? And go up there?
Ever since falling down a ladder during a high school play, I had suffered from a fear of ladders, and a fear of heights. I didn’t know that living on a ship meant climbing a ladder every time you need to go anywhere.
We were about fifteen miles off the coast from San Diego and the sea out there is very calm. I don’t know if it was the ladder, or the fact that I was fifty feet above the surface of the water, or the fact that I was surrounded by ocean for the first time. After being on the flying bridge for maybe two minutes, I had to vomit. I climbed back down the ladder as quickly as I could, entered the bridge and said, “Where’s the nearest head?” Someone told me to go down the ladder where there was a head for watch standers. I opened the door to the smallest bathroom ever and threw up into the toilet.
After cleaning up I went back up the ladder to the bridge and was greeted by the XO and Chief Hays. The XO asked me if I was okay. I told him that I guessed I was seasick.
He laughed at me. “This is nothing compared to the Bering Sea.”


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Mrs. Dipietro’s SAIL Class

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

May 2

Pam Dipietro is LTJG Josh Dipietro’s mom. Back in Scotia, New York, Pam teaches a SAIL class. “S.A.I.L. stands for Students Active In Learning,” she says. “It’s a program that our middle school set up to try and help the at risk students before they reach high school and become part of the drop out statistics. I’m their school “mom,” making sure they have what they need to be successful, including motivation, someone to go to bat for them with the teachers, and get their parents involved with their education. I have them for homeroom where I check to make sure their homework is done. During the day I have the kids for tutorial where I help them with their work.”

ENS Gary Kim on watch in main control

ENS Greg Vera with hangar bullseye

Josh put Pam’s students in touch with eight crew members on Munro to help with class projects. ENS Gary Kim, ENS Greg Vera, MK3 Derek White, OSC Chief Luke Cutburth, Chief Mickey Bettinger, ENS Dan Schrader and Chief Dale Brown stepped up, along with Josh himself.

Chief Mickey Bettinger at work

She tells me my Munro blog has been useful to her students, too, which pleases me no end. So I wrote and asked for a picture. They sent me this one, and here, in their own words, they’ll tell you which ones they are and a little about themselves.

—–

Mrs. Dipietro's SAIL class

My name is Savannah. I’m in the back row,the second in from the left. I did my report on Greg Vera. (And he got me a 98 on my project!) I like to read a lot. I mostly read romance novels, and when I’m reading I like to listen to music.
I want to be an English teacher for the 8th grade, to help prepare them for the high school. If I change my mind about what grade I want to teach, I would want to teach the 5th grade.

Hi, my name is Nick. I’m in the back row, second on right (long hair). I will be doing my report on Michael Bettinger. I play bass guitar and I take lessons. I want to play bass for a living when I’m older. Korn and Metallica are my favorite bands and I hate Slipknot.

Hi, my name is Molly. I’m in the front, third from the left, and I will be doing my report on Josh.
I play volleyball, basketball, and I run track. When I’m not busy with sports I like to hang out with my friends or just chill. When I grow up I would like to be a pediatric nurse. I like kids. I work in a daycare with my mom sometimes.

Kevin and his 90 percent project

Hi, my name is Kevin. I am sitting down on the bottom right. I did my report on Dan Schrader. I was the first to do my report and got 90%. I like to work on small motors and bikes. I would like to become a machanic. So far I have built a low rider bike and a chopper bike, and am working on a mini chopper with my dad. [And here is a photo of Kevin with his 90 percent project on Dan Schrader.]

Hi, my name is Dawn, and I am sitting down on the bottom left with the black hair and black shirt. I am gothic and I did my report on Dereck White. I like a lot of music, mostly rock, metal, punk, and screamo. My faviorite bands are Slipknot, Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. When I get older, I want to work at Hot Topic, a store with clothes and music and stuff for gothic people.

I’m Eric. I am standing top left. I did my report on Luke Cutburth. I like biking, snowboarding, stick fighting. I want to have a fun job. I’m not sure what that is yet.

Tiffany

I’m Tiffany. I was sitting bottom row, second to the left. My report was on Dale Brown. I got an 88. I like to listening to music, walking around with my friends, and going on the computer. I want to become a photographer. [See photo of Tiffany with her project on Chief Dale Brown. I believe I recognize some of those photos.]

My name is David. I am on the far right in the back row. I did my report on Gary Kim. I like baseball, football and girls. I want to join the military.

—–

And this from some of the participating crew members:

Chief Luke Cutburth

“I have been participating in the Partners in Education program for about the last seven years of my career,” Chief Luke Cutburth says. “I really enjoy getting the word out about the Coast Guard. It is also nice to think you may be a role model for a child rather than some pro ball player. I have been in the Coast Guard for 16 years. I’m an Operational Specialist Chief. On Munro I’m the OS in Charge of the Combat Information Center. I am married to Karla and I have a nine-year old son, Zachary.”

Chief Dale Brown and the steering linkage

Chief Dale Brown has also worked with kids in the Partners in Education program. “I like to tell them about my adventures in the Coast Guard, as they all seem intrigued by my stories. The person I wrote to has written back to me twice asking to know more. I just hope that it helps her in some way to realize there are bright days in what looks like a bleak future. I have a daughter, Kelly, in college in St Louis, and a son Jason, stationed in Iraq. I have been married to my lovely wife Elaine for 15 years. We are soon heading to Key West for our next transfer to the CGC Thetis.”

the XO piping the go for SCAT, with ENS Dan Schrader and LTJG Adrian Harris in the foreground

ENS Dan Schrader has tutored third through fifth graders at a local elementary school in Michigan in math and science. “The hardest part,” he says, “was keeping them focused on their studies and minimizing the questions about the Coast Guard. It was a nice surprise to hear that someone was interested in doing a presentation on me and my career. I told Kevin all about the various jobs I have had and places I have lived. I also found out he dislikes some of the same subjects that I did when I was his age. I told him to stick with it because it does pay off in the end to study hard. I’m glad my stories helped him to get a good grade on the project!”

Derek White

“I am in the Main Prop division,” MK3 Dereck White says. “We are responsible for everything inside of the engine room. This includes the main diesel engines, the turbines, the generators, and the evaporator (water distilling plant), where we work in temperatures that sometimes exceed 150 degrees. I have been in the Coast Guard for 5 and a half years. My tour is up on the Munro this summer and I am to transfering to the Coast Guard Cutter Aspen out of San Francisco. It’s a 225′ buoy tender. I am proud to be in the Coast Guard, and if I can change one child’s path by promoting it then I can be happy to say that I did.”

LT Todd Raybon and LTJG Josh Dipietro

The gentleman who orchestrated all this, LTJG Josh Dipietro, says, “When my mother and I first talked about this I wasn’t sure who would want to participate, but everyone I approached was excited to help. It worked out well because the crew members all had a little connection with the students, as hard as that might be through email. Even though it was more difficult because we were underway, I think the difficulty of communication and remoteness helps to tell the story. One of the things that really helped the students get a picture of our daily life was the blog.

“I of course love participating in this particular project because it is for Mr. Kirwan’s Social Studies class and he was one of my favorite teachers (hope that helps the grade, Molly!). I was excited to be paired up with Molly, her stepbrother is one of my buddies from school. This project was great because it took the combination of interested students, helpful crew members, an excellent and adventurous writer, and one nagging mother to pull off.”


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