Memories of a Time When I was a young man.

This past Saturday, the ship that was my first duty station began it’s final journey. The Good Ship Independence was towed from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard enroute to the breaker’s yard in Brownsville, Texas.

I reported aboard her in January of 1974 as a fresh faced 19 year old kid from the Montana Prairies. So began my adventure in the United States Navy.

I participated in the ammunition offload along with several other guys that I went through boot camp with. Then I was assigned to V-1 Division in the Air Department.

After a short period in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, we began working up for the upcoming deployment to the Mediterranean Sea.

I freely admit that I was absolutely terrified the first time I was on the flight deck for operations.

In the latter part of July 1974 we embarked the Air Wing and departed.

We covered the evacuation of US diplomatic personnel and their families from Nicosia, Cyprus. All available aircraft were armed. We then coordinated the Search and Recovery of TWA flight 847 which had crashed near the Greek coast. It was an eye opening experience to say the least and certain images remain in my mind to this day.

Finally, we were able to get some Liberty in Naples, Italy. Cold beer and playing tourist. Other ports of call included Cannes, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona and a few more visits to Naples.

In early January we were relieved by USS America and headed for home. The North Atlantic in January is a rough place, I should add.

20 January saw us go pier side at Naval Station Norfolk. It was a bitter cold day and along with families, friends and a band was a troop of baton twirlers who in those costumes must have been freezing.

It has been a bit over 40 years since I departed The Good Ship Independence as a Petty Officer Second Class now. I know that things change over time and a lot of places that I was stationed have gone into the “dustbin” of history.

The media outlets in the Pacific Northwest gave coverage of Indy’s departure from Bremerton this past weekend.

The following photo is from a Facebook group I belong to………

To those who have been there, you understand.

 

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A post from The Good Captain

Lex’s Love Of The Navy Explained
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Things you’ve never seen…
By lex, on January 21st, 2006

Unless you’ve been to sea:

You’ve never heard the prolonged blast, and the 1MC call of “Underway. Shift colors,” and knew that it meant you wouldn’t be seeing those you love again for at least six months, if ever.
You’ve never stood on the very point of the bow of a destroyer in the Caribbean, where the sea is clearer than it has any right to be, with the rays of the aching sun slashing down through the water like spears from heaven and seen the sonar dome there thirty feet below the waterline as the cut line brusquely shoulders the waves aside.
You’ve never seen the flying fish playing in the bow wave, nor seen them leaping from the water as though electrified when the active sonar sings its questing, lilting song, asking of the submarine, “Are you there? Where are you?”

You’ve never opened your mouth the better to stop your ears while a Tomcat sat in tension on a waist cat in full blower, screaming to be released, and felt more than heard the sound of it vibrating your ribs, shaking your very organs and knowing that of all the things a man might be made for, this could certainly not be one of them.

You’ve never sat on a bollard right aft, on the helo deck, as a distant sun went down across an infinite sea, and just for a fleeting moment, grasped your part in the bigger picture.

You’ve never stood on the flight deck in a steaming sun and saluted a ship that went to the bottom sixty years ago, and saluted those she took down with her.

You’ve never seen how blue the ocean can be south of the line, on the way to Australia, and never felt the need to just get there.

You’ve never trembled with anticipation as the carrier neared the pier, the deployment done, and tried to find your own family, and hoped that it would be OK. You’ve never felt the shiver that came with that final blast on the ship’s whistle, “Moored. Shift colors.”

And I feel a bit sorry for you, for never having felt these things.

The Sea Effect 1

only 5 percent of Americans have ever seen the sun set from a warship

From theBrigade: USS Ronald Reagan visiting Pearl Harbor Memorial (25 HQ Photos)

As most of my followers know, I was fortunate to be able to spend a day on this Fine Ship last April 9(2014) with Christopher Goodrich and his Daughter, the WSO. It was, except for the marriage of my children and the birth of my grandchildren, The Best Day since I retired from the US Navy in September of 1993.

This is a somewhat solemn post as when we enter or leave Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Honors must be rendered with the Traditional Manning The Rail…………in Dress Uniform…………………….Attention To Port! Hand Salute………………………..Too!

In the old days we would exit on the opposite side of Ford Island and do the very same for The Utah.

Pride

Tradition

Service

A few samples follow………………………………

Ronald-aricraft-pearl-920-2

a-Ronald-aricraft-pearl-920-0
The USS Missouri and The USS Arizona Memorial. The two ships that represent the beginning and the ending of World War 2.

It has been a long time since I have been to Naval Station Pearl Harbor……………………………Perhaps I should take Missus ORPO as we are approaching the sunset years……………

The full series of pictures are at the link below to theBrigade……………….

http://thebrigade.com/2015/04/02/uss-ronald-reagan-visiting-pearl-harbor-memorial-25-hq-photos/

 

HOW TO SIMULATE BEING A SAILOR

Kitty Hawk in the Indian Ocean 1987 duing the Round the World Cruise1. Buy a steel dumpster, paint it gray inside and out, and live in it for six months.

2. Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls.

3. Repaint your entire house every month using gray paint.

4. Renovate your bathroom. Lower all shower heads to four and one-half feet off the deck.

5. When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down.

6. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, turn water heater temperature up to 300 degrees. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turn water heater off.

7. On Saturdays and Sundays tell your family they used too much water during the week, so no bathing will be allowed.

8. Put 5W-20 lube oil in your humidifier, instead of water, and set it on high.

9. Leave your lawn mower running in your living room 24 hours a day to maintain proper ambient noise level.

10. Once a month, disassemble all your major appliances and electric garden tools, inspect them and then reassemble them. Do this every week with your lawnmower, weed whacker and other gasoline powered tools.

11. Once a week blow compressed air up through your chimney, making sure the wind carries the soot across and onto your neighbor’s house. Laugh at him when he curses you.

12. Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back doors, so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass through them.

13. Raise your bed to within 6 inches of the ceiling, so you can’t turn over without getting out and then getting back in.

14. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.

15. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 4 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say “Sorry, wrong rack.”

16. Make each member your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house i.e., dishwasher operator, blender technician, etc.

17. Find the dumbest guy in the neighborhood and make him your boss for the next two years.

18. Have your neighbor come over each day at 5 am, blow a whistle so loud Helen Keller could hear it, and shout “Reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up.”

19. Have your mother-in-law write down everything she’s going to do the following day, then have her make you stand in your back yard at 0600 (6 A.M.) while she reads it to you.

20. Empty all the garbage bins in your house and sweep the driveway three times a day, whether it needs it or not.

21. Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering it to you.

22. Watch no TV except for movies played in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch, and then show a different one.

23. When your children are in bed, run into their room with a megaphone shouting that your home is under attack and ordering them to their battle stations.

24. Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When they finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs.

25. Bake a cake. Prop up one side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly. Spread icing real thick to level it off.

26. Get up every night around midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread.

27. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. At the alarm, jump up and dress as fast as you can, making sure to button your top shirt button and tuck your pants into your socks. Run out into the back yard and uncoil the garden hose.

28. Every week or so, throw your cat or dog into the pool and shout, “Man overboard port side!” Rate your family members on how fast they respond.

29. Put the headphones from your stereo on your head, but don’t plug them in. Hang a paper cup around your neck on a string. Stand in front of the stove, and speak into the paper cup “Stove manned and ready.” After an hour or so, speak into the cup again “Stove secured.” Roll up the headphones and paper cup and stow them in a shoebox.

30. Place a podium at the end of your driveway. Have your family stand watches at the podium, rotating at 4-hour intervals. This is best done when the weather is worst. January is a good time.

31. When there is a thunderstorm in your area, get a wobbly rocking chair, sit in it and rock as hard as you can until you become nauseous. Make sure to have a supply of stale crackers in your shirt pocket.

32. Buy a trash compactor but only use it once a week. Store up garbage in your bathtub.

33. Invite at least 375 people, most of whom you don’t really like, to come and live with you for about 6 months.

34. Lock-wire the lug nuts on your car wheels.

35. Start your car and let it run for 4 hours before going anywhere, to ensure the engine is properly “lit off”.

36. Walk around your car for 4 hours checking the tire pressure every 15 minutes.

37. Make coffee using eighteen scoops of budget priced coffee grounds per pot, and allow the pot to simmer for 5 hours before drinking.

38. Have the paperboy give you a haircut with sheep shears.

39. Submit a request form to your father-in-law, asking if it’s OK for you to leave your house before 1500 (3 PM).

40. Take a two-week vacation visiting the Far East, and call it “world travel”.

41. Lock yourself and your family in the house for six weeks. Tell them that at the end of the 6th week you are going to take them to Disney World for “liberty.” At the end of the 6th week, inform them the trip to Disney World has been canceled because they need to get ready for an inspection, and it will be another week before they can leave the house.

42. Needle gun the aluminum siding on your house after your neighbors have gone to bed.

Now, who’s ready to go back to sea?

Navy helicopter with 5 aboard crashes in Red Sea

From NBC News: Sad News. Prayers for our Shipmates.

“Five crew members are missing after a U.S. Navy helicopter crashed in the Red Sea on Sunday during routine flight operations, military officials said.

The MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6 — nicknamed the HSC Indians — went down in the Central Red Sea at about noon local time, according to an official with the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.”

Navy helicopter with 5 aboard crashes in Red Sea.

DOD Furlough Observations from Bill Paisley

Good old “Pinch” Paisley had this at his Facebook today. I am also one of those getting the furlough letter as I work for the Air Force at Eddie’s Airplane Patch. Sucks. But Bill has this short but most eloquent post…………..Shipmate, Friend, Blog Bud and Lexican.

 

Furlough letter today. Yay. Makes me feel better when I’m losing 11 days of work and Major Nidal Hasan is getting his full pay. Or when the White House has parties for Justin and Beyonce. Or millions of dollars are spent on a study of Chinese prostitutes to try and make it more difficult for American businessmen to become HIV Positive while on a trip to Hong Kong. Ain’t that America.

 

Guest Post of a sort for Thanksgiving

This was at the VA-147 Argonauts page at Facebook. AO1 Donald L. Locke is still my friend.

I still miss that little blue Dodge D50 Power Ram……………..a lot.

VA 147 Work Center 230 Thanksgiving
This is a no Shitter it was November 1987 in June we returned from the taking the USS Kitty Hawk on her World Cruise, more recently returned from a short det to Luke AFB playing war games with the Air Force (that is a another story). Now we wanted some fun, Thanksgiving was just around the corner my guys and I were debating what we were going to do for the holiday. We were the Night Check Ordnance shop and Ordies always know how to have fun. So AO3 Goldstrom (Goldie), AOAN Adams (Booger), Radar from the AE shop two others and myself AO1 Locke ( my old timers is kicking in and I can not remember the name of the others sorry) after some brain storming we decided we would go camping and cook our Thanksgiving dinner on a camp fire. I had a 350 cid powered 76 CJ5, Booger had a full time four wheel drive CJ7 let’s go four wheeling. Three hours south on Interstate 5 is Frazier Park just west of there is Mt Pinos ORV Park this is the place. So for the next couple of weeks we gather our gear and planned the menu things were looking good. That is until I was showing off in my CJ and twisted the out put shaft off flush with the transfer case. The really bad news it would not be ready before our trip. My good buddy AMH1 Glenn Cassel comes to the rescue. He let me loaned me his Dodge D50 Ram with a few do’s and don’ts. Last night of work I let Chief Rhodes night check Maintenance Chief where we were going he wasn’t sure the woods would be safe with that many AO’s on the loose. We had all better be back to work Monday night in one piece. The next morning we were loaded . Goldie was riding with me the others with Booger. The camp site I was headed to was 30 minutes of easy four wheeling from the main entrance. About 20 minutes later Booger was falling behind finding a spot I pulled over. About this time Booger CJ started bouncing down the trail out of control slamming into the side of the mountain. Doors flew open bodies came flying out Booger had passed gas everyone was dying. After this Booger was no longer allowed to drive. We made to the campsite without any more trouble. Setting up the campsite was going along fine when Radar tells me Goldie had cut his finger really bad. The OD rag wrapped around his finger was now becoming bright red. With Goldie in the Ram Frazier Park was the next stop. I was hoping there would be a Clinic open that took Champus or Bakersfield would be the next stop. To our luck we found a Clinic open. Walking up the window I explained to the nurse we were sailors from NAS Lemoore and my friend had almost cut his finger off. One look at Goldie’s finger we were in the back I was filling out the paperwork Goldie getting 20 plus stitches. When we returned the guys had the camp up and the mess deck was open. The rest of the weekend was spent four wheel’n just having fun with shipmates. We headed back on Saturday. 10 miles from the base I got pulled over for doing 60 in a 55 zone so I figured coming back with a ticket, Goldie’s 20 plus stitches the woods had survived the AO invasion. This Holiday will always rate one of the very best for me.

Reference to an earlier post. Rendering Honours and saying Good Bye

A couple of weeks or so ago, we lost our friend, coworker, wingman and shipmate, Ed Cunningham.

This is the shot taken the day after with the 416 CTF, 416 FLTS and 416 AMU rendering honors to his Flag in this jet as it taxies for a memorial flyover. Pilots, Flying Engineers, Engineers, Maintainers and the Family are lined up for this most solemn event.

Milestone, on a rough day.

Three years ago, on this day, I underwent a Nephrectomy. The left kidney had a ‘large mass’ on it. It went bye-bye. Pathology said cancer. I get a detailed physical every September since. The last results were all “in limits.”

About that rough day.

We at the 416 AMU/ Falcon lost a co worker to cancer last night. Ed Cunningham, AO1 USN RET was also a Shipmate. I had a flyer for a flight, turn, flight. It was on the second go that the flag was taken for the memorial fly over of our ramp.
Rough day for all, it was.