Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AThird Bit, Slightly Rambly

I saw this post from the Coast Guard Compass. HAMILTON is the first of any ship I've sailed on to be decommissioned. I'm really, really sad to see HAMILTON and CHASE go. I know it's well past their time, and they've served their country and sailors well. Thank the powers that be that I have the memories I do of my time onboard, the good, the excellent and the bad and ugly. I was OPS onboard HAMILTON from June 2006 until January 2008. Most of these snippets won't make sense, but I'm cataloging them for my own sake.

Having a nasty cold and wanting to sleep in Combat so I wouldn't have to go so far in the middle of the night when the watchstander woke me up with an interesting contact report (I didn't, but Doc was nice enough to send down a cot just in case).

The sun rising over the deck of that Peruvian fishing vessel we chased for two weeks out too far past the Galapagos. The flat tire on the helo that kept them on the deck and unable to search. The 200 bales of cocaine the traffickers had stacked on deck as we came alongside.

"Shiny metal objects." And skull tattoos (not mine). (Well, maybe mine...thanks, MPA, for making sure Jimmy got it straight on my arm).

Watching Sunday evening sunsets on the flight deck while enjoying a rationed root beer. Most other sunsets on the gun deck, chatting with friends, commiserating about being far, far from home. Running the decks, laps and laps and laps around and being very grateful I never stumbled and shredded my knees and hands up on the non-skid.

The *reee-dik-uuu-lous* conversations with TACON.

The tasty fresh water the ship made while underway, and watching the EO get annoyed when we pulled in because it meant his good water would have to be treated once it was mixed with whatever we got from the shoretie. It would always take about four days underway to get back to the good stuff.

Getting backhanded with the Wonder Woman compliment. In front of all the other Department Heads, the XO and the Command Senior Chief. Still stings, that one.

The blueness of the waters in Gulfo Dulce when we came in close enough to pick up some passengers. And the chat about mentoring that happened while the small boat was away.

Four ugly days at the pier in Acajutla, El Salvador. Hot, sticky, and dirty rub marks left all alongside the hull. The late night berth shift to the other side of the pier, tight between two merchant ships.So that we could get gross, dirty rub marks on *both* sides of the ship.

Numerous hands of Bastard while sucking down Otterpops (I think I was Strawberry Short Kook), munching popcorn, and whatever other tasty treats the Wardroom Mess Treasurer supplied.

The peacefulness of Decameron Beach Resort after countless Panama City port calls. Bosn's comment afterwards, "I drank so much pina colada I'll be shitting coconuts for a week."

A helicopter almost out of radio range, two small boats in the water at the edge of radio range, and an LE team on a captured go-fast without running lights all screaming towards each other in the pitch black. Oh, and which way is the Equator? North or South?

And how happy I was that my sister was onboard when I finally lost it at the end of that last, shitty patrol when the mooring line snapped the deckie's leg.

Three days on both MDEs at flank speed...to  conserve fuel, of course.

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