By lex, on October 2nd, 2007
Pictures of Arleigh Burkes refueling Russian Federation destroyers brings back memories that even in the bad old days, we still managed to have some fun. I’ve written before about the Bear Box and Gate Guard missions but may have failed to share a story I heard about that occurred during one ship’s transit through.
This particular ship was to start her transit of the box on Christmas Day, which was – in honor of the holiday – scheduled to be a day of relative rest. Holiday routine and a no-fly day to give the flight deck a day off. Since they were entering the Box and didn’t want to be caught flat-footed by long range bombers, they had changed course slightly, stood up alert 5 and 15 fighters and raised the EMCON status to increase the circle of uncertainty – they’d never be found!
By lex, on April 3rd, 2007
In the beginning was the jacket, and the jacket was precious on account of the “been there, done that” patches, but it got left behind.
And the Training Officer found the aforementioned bit of flight gear laying adrift, and like any good Training Officer he made things right. And that’s when the unassailable court of squadron opinion was benched:
The evidence –
By lex, on October 14th, 2006
The first day of our assessment yesterday and there wasn’t much for your humble scribe to do, straightaway, the experts had fanned out, and were doing that expert thing. I was left to my own devices.
I went up to the flag bridge, one level below the pilot house to get a workout in. As a space whose tactical importance is much diminished by the video-screen nature of modern naval combat, it functions now as a cardio gym for senior officers. It’s on the O-9 level, or 10 steep-pitched ladders up from where I have parked my slops, so it would be something of a workout just getting there, except that the ship’s XO has been so kind as to lend me a key to the captain’s elevator. We are feeling rather chuffed at our importance, these days.
By Lex, October 13, 2006
It was a long flight out to the ship, three hours strapped down in a COD, facing backwards. It was worth it all though, because I’m back at sea again and loving it, frankly. It isn’t just the gentle lift and roll of a warship in the open ocean, nor is it the familiar sights and smells: the fighters in tension on the cat, screaming to be released; the all-pervading flight deck smell of grease and JP; the ringing of the ship’s bells as the watch is relieved; the always-different faces that somehow seem as familiar as those of your own family – people you’ve never met but instantly know; the way that the sky and sea frolic in the distance, the way both of them seem to tease you, always running on before, always just out of reach no matter how fast you chase after them. Those things are good and precious and there is deep, abiding magic in them, but there is more.