I Was a Sailor!

Doc

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I Was a Sailor!
I like standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe - the ship beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drive her through the sea.

I like the sounds of the Navy - the piercing trill of the boatswains pipe, the syncopated clangor of the ship's bell on the quarterdeck, the harsh squawk of the 1MC and the strong language and laughter of sailors at work.

I like the vessels of the Navy - nervous darting destroyers, plodding Fleet auxiliaries, sleek submarines and steady solid carriers. I like the proud sonorous names of Navy capital ships: Midway, Lexington, Saratoga, Coral Sea - memorials of great battles won. I like the lean angular names of Navy 'tin-cans': Barney, Dahlgren, Mullinix, McCloy - mementos of heroes who went before us.

I like the tempo of a Navy band blaring through the topside speakers as We pull away from the oiler after refueling at sea.

I like liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port. I even like all hands working parties as my ship fills herself with the multitude of supplies both mundane and exotic which she needs to cut her ties to the land and carry out her mission anywhere on the globe where there is water to float her.

I like sailors, men from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest,small towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains and the prairies, from all walks of life. I trust and depend on them as they trust and depend on me - for professional competence, for comradeship, for courage. In a word, they are shipmates

I like the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is passed "Now station the special sea and anchor detail - all hands to quarters for leaving port" and I like the infectious thrill of sighting home again, with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting pierside. The work is hard and dangerous, the going rough at times, the parting from loved ones painful, but the companionship of robust Navy laughter, the 'all for one and one for all' philosophy of the sea is ever present.

I like the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work, as flying fish flit across the wave tops and sunset gives way to night. I like the feel of the Navy in darkness - the masthead lights, the red and green navigation lights and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence of radar repeaters - they cut through the dusk and join with the mirror of stars overhead. And I like drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad noises large and small that tell me that my ship is alive and well, and that my shipmates on watch will keep me safe.

I like quiet mid-watches with the aroma of strong coffee - the lifeblood of the Navy - permeating everywhere. And I like hectic watches when the exacting minuet of haze-gray shapes racing at flank speed keeps all hands on a razor edge of alertness.

I like the sudden electricity of General quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders and the resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transforms herself in a few brief seconds from a peaceful work place to a weapon of war - ready for anything. And I like the sight of space age equipment manned by youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that their grandfathers would still recognize.

I like the traditions of the Navy and the men and women who made them. I like the proud names of Navy heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, John Paul Jones. A sailor can find much in the Navy: comrades-in-arms, pride in self and country, mastery of the seaman's trade. An adolescent can find adulthood.

In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, they will still remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods - the impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm-tossed green water surging over the bow. And then there will come again a faint whiff of stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the bright bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a refrain of hearty laughter in the wardroom and chief's quarters and mess decks. Gone ashore for good they will grow wistful about their Navy days, when the seas belonged to them and a new port of call was ever over the horizon.

Remembering this, they will stand taller and say,
"I was a Sailor. I was part of the Navy and the Navy will always be a part of me"
 

Lenny

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I can relate to that.....Navy from 1965-1969. I liked going through typhoons because a lot of sailors were sick, so there was no waiting line to the chow hall and a lot of food to eat.
 

Doc

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We were in a hurricane in the Bahamas. It changed course and headed right at us. The heads stank so bad from those getting sick. I did not get sick but taking a leak was rough due to the smell.
I don't recall the chow hall but don't believe they were able to cook. Not sure.

I so remember the moods / phases of the oceans. How they can be so quiet and flat, then rolling with whitecaps etc etc. So kewl to see an impossible for me to put to words. Night time was usually neat as the ocean calmed down and so smooth looking and so quiet. A full moon would be so beautiful. Sure wish we had digital cameras back then. 71-74.
 

Lenny

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I was in electronics....Fire-Control Technician. Boot Camp, electronics school, then 6 months in Pearl Harbor and then 6 months overseas, three times.
 

Doc

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I dealt with ET's daily. I was in communication. A sparky aka Radio Man. Bainbridge MD A school then served on an Ammo ship an sailed the world. Med Cruise, multiple Bahamas cruises, through the Panama Canal on to Hawaii for a couple weeks, then on to Vietnam. Spent lots of time in Subic Bay Philippines. Visited Hong Kong and Singapore while over there. Cruised in to Haiphong Harbor mid 73. Then returned to Seal Beach CA before going back through Panama Canal and back to Norfolk VA. We sailed by ourselves and not with the fleet since we had so much ammo on board. A huge advantage when going into port. We'd have the places pretty much to ourselves. :D :beer:
 

Lenny

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You got to see a lot more than me. I was on an oiler. Subic to pick up 8 million gallons of oil, aviation gas and JP5, then unrep (underway replenishment) on Yankee and Dixie Stations (North and South Vietnam). Hong Kong 4 time and Japan twice.
 
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FrancSevin

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Doc; I love that post. Well done sir

Thanks,:)

My son was a submariner. Although is head often bumped the overhead when underway, now that he is out...: He stands tall.

Me, I have a 30 foot sailboat. I also love the salt spray standing on the bridge deck of my sailboat. If only I had the time.
 
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Doc

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Doc; I love that post. Well done sir

Thanks,:)

My son was a submariner. Although is head often bumped the overhead when underway, now that he is out...: He stands tall.

Me, I have a 30 foot sailboat. I also love the salt spray standing on the bridge deck of my sailboat. If only I had the time.

Thanks Franc but all I did was copy it from a Navy Radioman group I'm on on FB.
 

sno-drifter

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Thanks Doc. Brings back memories. I was a snipe on a LST (Large Slow Target) 1966-1970. Many beach landings in VN, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, stationed out of Yokosuka. We can tell sea stories (lies) in SV if we get through the corvid BS.
 

Lenny

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Thanks Doc. Brings back memories. I was a snipe on a LST (Large Slow Target) 1966-1970. Many beach landings in VN, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, stationed out of Yokosuka. We can tell sea stories (lies) in SV if we get through the corvid BS.
I wonder if we bumped into each other in Olongapo.
 
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Doc

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I wonder if we bumped into each other in Olongapo.

Well, I doubt it I was there a year or two after you ...but I was probably in some of the same bars you frequented. De Pearl and The Cherry Club were the names I remember. Pearl had Mojo juice ..served by the pitcher. Fun fun. LOL Enjoyed the ride back to Subic's entrance in the little buggies or mopeds with a side car. Woo Hoo. I still have some of the stereo gear I bought in the PX on Subic. Great buys.
 

Lenny

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Well, I doubt it I was there a year or two after you ...but I was probably in some of the same bars you frequented. De Pearl and The Cherry Club were the names I remember. Pearl had Mojo juice ..served by the pitcher. Fun fun. LOL Enjoyed the ride back to Subic's entrance in the little buggies or mopeds with a side car. Woo Hoo. I still have some of the stereo gear I bought in the PX on Subic. Great buys.
Sno-drifter was there about the same time I was.

Did you even ride in jeepneys?

They said there were about 250 bars and 8000 prostitutes.
 
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