Posted by asm826 on October 24, 2006
Tom and Bill came out of the doorway as Gunny Ceisak and Sgt. Collins walked by. They waved and the Gunny stopped. Bill grinned, “How about a beer, Gunny?”
Gunny motioned up the street, “Alright, but let’s find a quieter place. I’ll buy the first round.”
“Good deal, we’ve had all the noise we need.”
Posted by asm826 on September 27, 2006
To those of you who have been taking the time to read my words, I apologize. I have made several starts at the last evening I had with Emie. I have found that thus far it has resisted my ability to write it for Lex’s site. It was an interesting evening, and it ended on the bridge, with her riding down in a jeepney to walk with me to the gate.
Posted by asm826 on October 21, 2006
Crossing the bridge, Bill and Tom stopped and looked up river. The water swirled around the bridge supports. The level was several feet higher than the day before. The smell was muted, the flushing effect of the increased flow had carried the floating islands of waste out into the bay.
“I still wouldn’t swim in it.”
“Oh, c’mon. It’s your last chance.”
Posted by asm826 on Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Tom shouldered the door open and walked into the Cubi Point terminal with his seabag slung up on his shoulder. Outside the main windows, a C-130 sat with one engine turning. A quick survey of the Marines gathered told Tom a lot about how the last night had gone for most of them.
Posted by asm826 on September 14, 2006
The roar of the last Phantom taking off faded out as the aircraft disappeared into the dark clouds that hung over the mountains in the distance. The flightline was empty. The fourteen members of the rear party walked back into the hanger.
Posted by asm826 on August 25, 2006
Emie sat down at a glass topped table near the door of the shop. Tom and Bill joined her. The air conditioner over the door hummed and clicked, but it worked, pouring a stream of cool air into the ice cream shop.
The ship’s Captain stood by his chair on the bridge in his Service Dress Blues, his binoculars fixed on the channel marker just outside the carrier turning basin at Naval Station North Island, California. He briefly suppressed, and then just as briefly gave in to the temptation to sweep the pier with the binos, looking for his wife and children. Seven months. It had been such a very long seven months. There were thousands of people thronging on the pier, waving flags and signs – “Welcome Home, Son!” and “We Missed You Mommy!”
The civilian harbor pilot stood just to his right, in amiable but meaningless conversation with the Officer of the Deck – this was an experienced crew, and the pilot’s main purpose was to control the three tugboats that brought the great warship alongside the pier after it had made its final turn, gliding in.
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The JG looked forward in the ready room to see his squadron CO and XO break from a closely whispered conference – his CO looked him in they eye even as the JG tried to answer the questions of his brother JO’s. The old man pursed his lips, narrowed his eyes, raised his chin pugnaciously – and then nodded, almost imperceptibly. Nodded at him. Well done.
Turning his smiling face back to his brothers, it was all the young man could do not to weep.
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“Roger ball, Hornet, you’re just a little underpowered now. A little power, back to the right,” the voice of the LSO, smooth, caressing, careless. Another day at sea, for all his voice might give it away, but how did I get low? The power coming up and catch it, catch it on line-up – don’t chase it. Almost there, don’t lead it – Now, a little power back off, half of it back on again to catch it, rate of descent is looking good. Looking good, but wait, drifting a little “a little right for lineup,” said the LSO, the JG responded, silently cursing, I saw it, I was just about to “a little power” the LSO again, throttles up but not too far, for God’s sake don’t bolter. “Easy with it,” the LSO said and a part of him wanted to cry that there was nothing easy about it, but he stuffed it aside and he was almost there, crossing the ramp, one more correction, a little power off – no: ON and a little left wing down and WHAM! On deck! On deck, by God! And the joy in his heart, the engines screaming at military power as the wire ran out, went taut, held hard, the jet bucking like a trapped beast in a snare and there was the Air Boss on the radio, saying something, something to him, repeating it again, again with emphasis and finally the words making sense, “Lights on deck 311, lights on deck. We’ve got you, throttle back. We’ve got you.”
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“That’s right, 104. He’s trick or treat, the hard way. He doesn’t know it yet, but he has to land here – we’re out of options. We’ll give him one look at the wires, then rig the barricade if we have to. If that doesn’t work we’ll eject him alongside, fish him out with a SAR helo. You worry about you, and that fouled store.”
“Oh, and 104?” the Captain added, “He doesn’t need to know about this.”
“Copy that, sir.”
No, thought the JG. He certainly doesn’t.
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