By lex, on May 26th, 2011
Today seems to be a day of remembrances. Quite out of the blue I got a note from an old shipmate who’s beginning a book project on the last deployment of USS Constellation. My ship. He wanted to touch base for an interview, gather some reflections from those aboard her.
He also attached an email I wrote to my officers and chiefs on my last day aboard. It’s nice that he kept it, I’m not very good at holding on to such things.
CONSTELLATION was my first ship. Tomorrow is my last day aboard Connie, at least as a member of her company. After tomorrow, I will be a guest, someone you used to know, who used to be a part of you.
I may not get the opportunity to say farewell to each of you in person tomorrow, so please forgive me if this seems too impersonal. I just want to say that it has been an incredibly positive experience working with such an outstanding group of professionals.
Your focus, energy and enthusiasm were remarkable to observe.
A warship never sleeps – there are always people on watch, keeping her safe, keeping all of us safe: the ship is, in a sense, alive. Her people give her life.
You made this ship a living thing, working her decks and spaces. You lightened it with laughter, and freighted it with consequence to our country’s enemies. This ship lived fast, and it lived hard, like it meant business, like it knew that what we were doing was too important for half measures. We trained hard, fought hard and played hard, because of your work and that of our CPO’s and Sailors. And we did great things, with style – flawless execution was the standard expectation.
Life is very much more about what you accomplish than what you acquire. I hope you are as proud of what we accomplished together, as I am to have been a part of it.
My very best wishes to everyone. I will not miss all of this, but I will miss all of you. Maybe we’ll meet again in the fleet. Until then, farewell, and following seas.
Commander, United States Navy
USS Constellation CV-64
I meant it, too.