[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]
Holiday routine today, and after the last two days they needed it. Steel beach and fish call on the fan tail, comfort food on the menu, mac and cheese, wings and pizza, and I think a lot of people just stayed in their racks if they didn’t absolutely positively have to be on watch. Or were engineers.
Because the engineers have triumphed, over a heretofore unknown redesign of a helo fuel tank fitting causing the vast majority of the problem (our Sons of Martha rock) and tonight we ran Drill Card 4 pretty much by the numbers. As XO says, “Sometimes it’s not best to be first with new gear.” We launched bad boat, good boat, and helo NVG. The boats went OTH and the helo took off after them, found the bad boat and waited until the good boat showed up to take custody.
The helo returned, did four touch and go’s, launched from the ship a fifth time to run an esthetically pleasing exercise off the port quarter, and finished the drill. It’s an impressive asset, I can see why we’ve got them and why the seizures of cocaine by the Coast Guard continue to be huge. See your local daily newspaper.
The boats returned and we picked up the starboard boat on our present course, did a little two-step to windward to give the port boat a lee (courtesy of the XO, Chief Guilmartin, and I think SN Samantha Crane was still at the helm), and picked them up next.
Everybody’s home, folks, safe and sound, all systems in the green and just need some action in the next week to reap the benefits.
First photo is SN Caleb Critchfield on the starboard wing of the bridge. Caleb’s a reader and he’s dying to talk about The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, a book I recommended to these guys specifically because of their mission. Chief Rick Whitney (whom I know from the Alex Haley) is arranging a time for our first underway book club to discuss it.
Second photo is of California boy IT1 Damion Zura, and the fact that he is on board in his present capacity is a story in itself. Ten years ago his position didn’t exist. Now the Munro has two ITs on board to service email, internet, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff I can’t talk about. They call it the “E Coast Guard,” and the Captain says we are still finding our way ahead. Connectivity on board ship is limited by the existing technology which limits bandwidth. According to the Captain, “email from home seems more important to the crew (and their families) then the receipe for coffee and fresh baked bread.” The XO says “almost” more important, and if you saw his coffee mug you’d understand.
The “E Coast Guard” is how I found the Alex Haley, through the Kodiak CG station website, and went on my first patrol, which led to this one. Their online presence is amazing. Check out some of the links I’ve been putting in the blogs.
Click here to order a copy.