Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Humbled

My feet hit the deck before I fully realized a pipe was being made. It was 0243 by my watch. We found the chug spotted by the MPA a full 12 hours before. 

Over the course of the next four hours, our team performed as trained, safely and professionally. There were a few tired squabbles as peoples' patience wore thin momentarily -- vaguely sharpened voices over the crackling radio, exacerbated by a couple metal decks' worth of interference. There were also shipmates helping shipmates, people offering a hand wherever they could. Lots of teamwork, buckets full of patience and overwhelming tolerance as we all worked together to get a difficult job done before the ass-crack of dawn.

And by 0645, I was sitting down to a veggie scramble with cheese, bacon and an English muffin. Watch sections were back in place and the ship's routine went ahead, with no hint of the turbulence caused by the early morning evolutions. 

The hard work done, the dedication shown, the effort put forth by this crew humbles me on a daily basis. OPS has finally just gone to bed after about an hour's worth of sleep over the past 40 hours. Boat crew and LE team members didn't blink an eye when we piped a debrief at 1930 to talk about lessons learned from the morning's excitement; instead, they came chock full of good suggestions, ways to make us all better at what we're already damn good at. During his impromptu check in with me on the bridge just before lunch, brand newly reported SN DA asked me about qualification deadlines. Not asking for an extension -- just raising the issue because, since he reported aboard two weeks ago, he's gone from standing migrant watch, to using his language skills as an interpreter, to breaking in helm and look out on the bridge, and he hasn't been able to get to any of the DCWQS training offered each day -- so willing to do what needs to be done at the moment and yet still concerned about meeting his future obligations.

There are, undoubtedly, 82 other examples from each of the folks onboard this ship, of daily selfless acts, both large and small, offered freely from a deep commitment to the larger goal..and frequently, with enough humor to keep it all in perspective. And this is what gets us through long days and exhausting weeks.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

Monday, May 30, 2016

Busy is Good

No pretty pictures for today's post. I know we took some, but they haven't yet made their way onto the public drive for me to scroll through. Today was quiet for most of the ship for most of the day. CIC was busy tracking maritime patrol aircraft (MPA (not to be confused with the other MPA -- Main Propulsion Assistant)) flights. Once the flights got up in the air, then CIC got busy tracking sightings of potential migrant vessels. 

We did get in a leadership pro dev session on Coast Guard appropriations structure, which *I* think is fascinating and highly useful stuff. I didn't have anyone throwing things at me, and there were some insightful questions asked, so I call it a highly successful session for how dreadful the topic was (to the non-budget geek). 

So basically, I don't really have anything to write about tonight. Some moments I feel like we're barreling to the end of my tour, and I'm frantic to make sure I have everything in order. Other moments, I feel like we're moving through the molasses of time, and it's all I can do to stretch my patience through until our next port call. I'm sure reality is somewhere there in the middle. 

The on again, off again nature of how this patrol is going is contributing to the feeling. At Evening Reports each evening, I look to OPS to tell us what to expect the next day. Some days, we just write TBD for everything because trying to map it all out is an exercise in frustration because guaranteed! something is gonna change. 

But we're busy, and busy is good. 

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Thousand Words

I'm not sure what struck me about this picture; maybe that there are so many stories to tell from it. I think we had just finished up transferring migrants, and were setting up for a photo op with a few ships all in formation. Someone's cutter boat was in the water to take the pictures, and got a few candid shots along the way. 
The beauty of a ship at sea It's a classic bridge shot, from the lookout staring intently through the big eyes on the fly bridge (just forward of the black mast), to the CO resting his forearms on the teak rail, looking out to the horizon. OPS, EO and I are all in a gaggle close up to the bridge bulkhead, talking about heaven knows what. BMC RB has the Deck and the Conn, and is watching to make sure everything was going according to plan. I can't quite tell who is further aft, just behind the .50 cal. The CB-L (Cutter Boat-Large -- we're so creative with names) is resting peacefully in her cradle. The TSTA Es are all bright and shiny. And there's a little hometown pride shown with the outline of North Carolina on the gumby suit box just aft of the spar-colored davit arm for the CB-L. And as you start to look closer, the ship's bell stands out with its brass color an anomaly among all the white, black, blue and international orange (at the bottom of the mast, aft). The wind is blowing gently about 10 knots off the starboard side. It must have been kinda hot for the CO leaning out into the sunshine like that on the lee side of the bridge. The radar arms are caught in an unusual moment of stillness; usually they rotate endlessly. Everything has its purpose, and (most) everything is in its place. Oh, the beauty of a ship at sea... LCDR Charlotte Mundy Executive Officer USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616) **UNDERWAY**

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sunrise and Sunset

I was up for sunrise this morning, and I'm about to head out onto the foc'sle to watch sunset. I didn't actually see the sun pop over the horizon this morning -- our boat launching course put it on the opposite side of the ship, but I did spend about 30 minutes watching the sun light the clouds across the sky, coloring the higher ones a dazzling pink, but leaving the lower ones dark and grey somehow. 

I couldn't resist checking on it at least once, though. When I did, the sun was already about two inches above the water, shining brightly through a cloud as it rained. A few minutes later, a rainbow materialized out in front of us. 

Just checked -- still have about five minutes before I'll start to miss good stuff for this evening's sunset. Right now all there is to see are green specks in front of my eyes from glancing at the blazing ball of fire.

Since this may be my last patrol (ever), one of my personal goals is to watch at least sunrise or sunset every day, and hopefully both. So far so good. The early morning migrant transfers make catching sunrise doable, and I've had to be careful about how I schedule Evening Reports to make sure sunset fits into the plan of the day. No two are ever alike, and some are so subtle as to be...unremarkable, but the very idea of including a totally non-work related ritual that I can only experience at sea appeals to me. 

My five minutes is up. Off to sunset.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A "Quiet" Day

I say "quiet" in quotation marks because we still had migrant transfers with
two other cutters, moving a total of 51 people, rendezvoused with a station
small boat for a personnel transfer, and made a logistics run with our own
cutter boat. We're still sheltering over 100 additional people onboard the
ship. And every watch station is on a one-in-four rotation, with three hour
watches. There were still a number of changes to the plan of the day, and I
know OPS is juggling so many cases he feels like he could *teach* clown
school. 

But it felt a little more steady state. The overall plan seems to be holding
for now; we're just managing the details. I say "we...," I mean "OPS." He's
doing an amazing job of keeping track of everything, rattling off case and
individual numbers like he's reading from his notes. He said he almost lost
the bubble at one point, but was able to take about 45 minutes yesterday to
wrestle it all back under control.

We'll see what happens when the weather settles down later this week. I
suspect the pace will pick up again. 

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Randomness of Birthrights

I'd really like to write about what we did today...while at the same time, I
think I need some time to process it mentally before it's ready for public
consumption. We had a very busy day. Before it had even started, the plan
had already gone through about three iterations, with early boat ops
combined with logistics runs that then got changed to just a personnel drop
off then moving quickly into receiving migrants from an FRC and another boat
run to complete the personnel transfer (both inbound and outbound) and
setting up the tent on the foc'sle because the flight deck was filling up
and then receiving more migrants from another FRC and having the logistics
run work out well just differently than what we had planned and then another
transfer of migrants off to another FRC for repatriation tomorrow and one
more boat run tonight to take people ashore. 

Those are the broad strokes, anyway. I thought lots today about how the life
I live comes down in so many ways to the arbitrariness of my birthplace. The
most significant difference between me and the people trying to come into
the US illegally by the maritime route is simply that I was born in the US
and they were not. It has little to do with hard work, intelligence, or
tenacity. Because, while those are definitely traits within me that have
gotten me to the success I enjoy, without my original stroke of luck to be
born a US citizen, I would not have had the same opportunities to turn those
traits into standing on the deck of a Coast Guard ship, telling other
hardworking, intelligent, tenacious people they had to find another way to
success this day. Imagining myself without that birthright, it's easy to see
me in their shoes. 

Now, at the end of this very busy day, that helps me with two things: being
so very grateful for the fluke of my existence, the happenstance of
privilege, the benefits of opportunity I did nothing more to earn that be
born in a free country; and finding that much more compassion for each
individual as they come onboard. It's easy to get frustrated with the
constant press and the stress of having so many people to look after,
figuring out all the logistics of keeping them safe while keeping ourselves
safe, that every reminder and illustration of our common humanity gets me
that much further through the day.

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Best Awful Day Ever

I'm not even sure what to say about today. It's not over yet, so who knows 
what is yet to come. So far, though, I have been delighted with some great 
experiences even in the face of some really crappy circumstances.

My tooth ache from two patrols came back. Raging back. With angry and fiery 
vengeance. On Friday afternoon. The day before we got underway. I asked Doc 
(HS2 TW) for something stronger than 200 mg of ibuprofen which just wasn't 
cutting through the pounding agony in my face. He gave me 800 mg of ibuprofen 
which I could take one every eight hours. It wore off after five.

In the meantime, we got down to the oparea, met up with four other cutters, 
embarked over 140 migrants and some contraband that went immediately down to 
lock up. Nothing like jumping in with both feet, as CO said over the 1MC when 
we had about half the transfers done.

Finally, Monday morning arrived, and I took the first opportunity I could to 
get set up with dental sick call at the local MTF (military treatment 
facility). I rode in on the Station 45' Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) when they 
came out to drop some partner agency representatives off to us. The ride in 
was glorious; flat calm about an hour after dawn, not too many boats out and 
about, and we tied up right as the base was observing morning colors. The duty 
HS from last night told me exactly what I needed to do this morning, and the 
HS3 at the clinic was ready and waiting for me. Logistics had a GV all ready 
for me to go, and by 0900 I was filling out paperwork at the dentist's office.

The awful part of the experience was the tooth extraction. Never done that 
before. Never want to do that again. 'Nuff said.

On the brighter side, the dentist and all his assistants were thoughtful, kind 
and seemed to truly care about providing good service. The dentist was very 
concerned that he couldn't find a smoking gun for my discomfort, but was much 
more confident once he heard the whole back story about a pending extraction 
that I hadn't gotten done yet. He explained everything thoroughly, and his 
technician was very apologetic for having to jam the big x-ray frame all the 
way back into my mouth to get the roots of the molars in the picture. I was 
even lucky enough that the office had one cancellation and one no show so they 
could do the procedure straightaway and take their time with it.

I was back in Coast Guard territory by 1145, even with a stop at the grocery 
store for soft foods so I had something to eat for the next few days without 
making special requests to the cooks onboard. It took a few moments to figure 
out how I was going to get back to DILIGENCE, but that just gave me time to 
gather up all the parts and packages that had been delivered to us for 
transport back to the ship. It was gonna be Christmas in May when I got back 
to the ship!

Our cutter boat made a run in, dropping off some of those partner agency 
representatives who had quickly finished what they needed to do onboard. BM2 
CJ and MK3 CC loaded the packages all into the boat, and away we went.

What a glorious ride we had out to the ship. It took about 20 minutes at 30+ 
knots, and once we got away from the traffic-ridden harbor area, we *flew* 
over the glassy calm water. I saw a fish boil about 30 yards off the port bow, 
with silver and grey flashes churning all over each other. And the fresh air 
smelled damp and briny with a hint of fishiness. The ship was far off on the 
horizon, barely a spot when I first saw it. It grew larger, with more details 
coming into focus until I could see the individual faces peering at me from 
the flight deck and fantail. We have a new migrant tent for the flight deck 
that, if possible, even improves the lines of a very good looking ship. 
         DILIGENCE framed by DILI 1. Just another day at the office.

So, what could have been a shitty day turned out to be a string of really good 
things one after the other. Love it when that happens!

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
**UNDERWAY**

Sunday, May 22, 2016

TSTA, Week 3 -- aka The Clean Sweep

We did it! Clean sweep at TSTA! Our last three drills on Monday went off
incredibly well, and by Monday afternoon at 1500, we were moored back up and
only had school house training and our Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) left.
BM3 JR was our MVP for Monday, displaying some mad Investigator techniques,
discovering damage and making sure existing damage didn't spread throughout
the ship. Our final drill score averages for each warfare area were: Command
and Control at 99.33%, Engineering at 100%!!!!, Damage Control at 95.37%,
and Seamanship at 97.56%. All Onboard Training Teams were certified
effective. 

Mike drop.

On Tuesday we sent about eight people to Rescue Swimmer school to play in
the pool for most of the morning, while the rest of us enjoyed either a
relatively easy day of duty or a day of liberty. SN RS was Tuesday's MVP; he
was already qualified as a Rescue Swimmer, having finished his PQS during
the inport and did a great job helping the other members get through their
training.

Wednesday was a workday for the crew, and we sent about 25 people to Basic
Fire Fighting school. They had some class room time, and then donned fire
protective garments (FPGs) and went into the fire house to practice hose
handling techniques. FN NB was Wednesday's MVP for his enthusiasm with the
training.

Thursday dawned clear and warm. The ITT brief started at 0645 and we set the
Fast Cruise environment at 0730 for our FEP. The FEP requires integration of
as many training teams as possible, loss of critical leadership positions
and damage in numerous spaces -- so we had to come up with a pretty
catastrophic event. Our scenario was pretty far-fetched...something about a
minefield laid across the Florida Straits so the drug trafficking
organizations (DTOs) could have a direct route for shipping their product to
the US. DILIGENCE lost steering (as best we could simulate tied to the pier)
and drove into the mine field. We took two mine hits, lots of damage and our
Damage Control Assistant (DCA, who directs damage control efforts in a
General Quarters scenario), Repair Locker Leader, and On Scene Leader all
were injured and not able to perform their duties. CO was standing on the
bridge wing looking over the side of the ship at the second mine strike and
fell overboard. All simulated, of course. 

It was a good drill. Even though it was pretty chaotic, we had fun with it.
The crew was enthusiastic and energetic. The training teams were engaged and
made sure events happened in the right order. Out of the 10 drill cards we
had to grade, I think we passed nine of them. Not that it really had any
bearing on our overall TSTA score -- we already had that in the bag!

Thursday's MVP was SN BS from the group that went to the Wet Trainer to
practice combating flooding damage. While everyone on the crew did a great
job with the FEP, all the folks that really stood out had already earned
their MVP t-shirt. 

We also recognized an overall MVP for TSTA which was DC2 AC for his
sustained energy and positivity throughout CART preps and TSTA. Our overall
Training Team member was LCDR TD, our EO. He took great personal pride in
getting DCTT through CART and TSTA, everyone agreed he earned it 100 times
over.

Despite all the success with TSTA, Thursday was a sad(ish) day. We had a
bunch of people leave to start their transfers to their next duty station.
I'm always excited to see people head off to their next assignment, but sad
to see them go because I *like* our crew. Thursday afternoon was a flurry of
logistics -- Quarters with award presentations, van runs to the airport,
vehicle swaps and loading of our GV to head back to Wilmington. We also had
a bunch of people show up the last two days of TSTA, both TAD and permanent
party folks.

And when we sailed out of the harbor enroute our patrol area, we had a brand
new, clean broom flying proudly from the starboard yardarm. Clean sweep,
indeed!

LCDR Charlotte Mundy
Executive Officer
USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616)
Quarterdeck: 910-815-4528
Cell: 910-367-3328

Sunday, May 15, 2016

TSTA, Week 2

To end the suspense I know you're all in -- last Friday's (6 May) MVP was HS2 TW. He was on duty that day, and when our shipmate collapsed in pain after tripping over first base, he rushed over to help with first aid and follow up medical care. He drove the guy to the onbase medical facility, sat with him and um, pressed for attention when most of the people in the clinic were not hopping to help on a lazy Friday afternoon. It wasn't necessarily TSTA-related, but it was definitely the attitude and actions we like to see from our crew.

After a wonderfully relaxing weekend, some time on beautiful beaches, and maybe a small amount of work on my part (truly, only about 2 hours over the whole weekend), Monday brought more medical and damage control (DC) drills. Monday morning we had a fight on the messdeck; some disagreement among the deckies about being told to clear off the messdeck so the mess cooks could clean. It was a raucous fight and we had crewmembers suffer from a sucking chest wound, a facial fracture, a compound fracture of the leg, a big long cut on the arm, an evisceration, and one guy passed out from all the blood. This was *of course* all simulated for our mass casualty drill, so the first responders had to triage all the different casualties and determine which were most life threatening and needed attending first. After the mass casualty drill, we ran a bunch more stand-alone medical casualties, and finished up all our required medical drills.

Monday afternoon, we were in a fast cruise environment, where we simulate being underway, with watches stood up on the bridge, in CIC and in Main Control, but with lines and shoreties still connected. Honestly, I don't remember exactly what drills we ran on Monday afternoon or all day Tuesday. They're a blur of training team briefs and debriefs, pipes, manned and ready reports, casualty reports, simulated damage all over the ship. Monday's MVP was FS1 DP for his response as the leader in BDS (Battle Dressing Station), responding to the mass casualty and all the individual medical drills. He directed efforts of all the first responders and other members of BDS.

Between Monday afternoon and Tuesday, we knocked out *a lot* of our DC drills, and had an ITT (Integrated Training Team) drill where an engineering casualty (run by ETT, the Engineering Training Team) cascaded into a main space fire (run by DCTT, the Damage Control Training Team). We have to do three-ish ITTs for ATG to show that our OBTTs (Onboard Training Teams) can work together to train for complex scenarios.

Tuesday's MVP was BM3 WF, earned for his energy in responding to casualties. BM3 is our boundaryman for casualties -- he goes to the area around the damage to make sure the boundaries are set and the damage does not spread. For fire, he breaks out a fire hose, charges it and pulls all combustible material away from the bulkhead shared by the space on fire. For flooding, he makes sure water tight closures are secured and bulkheads and overheads are not sagging or hogging, which could indicate potential failure of the watertight boundary. He was out, on scene almost before the pipe describing the damage was complete -- which is a huge help because we have 5 minutes to set the top boundary for a fire (heat rises, so it's important to get this set quickly) and 7 minutes for the horizontal boundaries (side by side to the damage). The time standards are so we get maximum points on the scored drill.

We got underway on Wednesday primarily to conduct our gunnery exercise (GUNEX), but also to do our BECCEs (basic engineering casualty control exercises), which simulate various types of damage to equipment in the engine room to which the watchstanders must respond. We did BECCEs on the way out to the firing range, and on the way back in. We had to redo one, a Class C fire in the switchboard, I think because the training team got a little ahead of themselves, and talked the watchstander into securing power before they really should have. But, by the end of the day, we'd finished up with BECCEs -- our second warfare area finished! With a 100% drill score average!! And our MVP from Wednesday was from the engine room watch team; MK2 GF responded to casualty after casualty in the sweltering engine room, quickly restoring functionality of the propulsion and power plant. This was another hard choice for MVPs, because MK2 wasn't down there by himself. EM2 TB and other engineers were also strong contenders.

The GUNEX almost wasn't. We got shot all the rounds we needed to from the .50 cal machine guns, training on warning shots, disabling fire and destructive fire for two gunners and loaders on each gun. But the 25 mm gun got cantankerous after drilling about 10 rounds down range. Our gunnersmates were pretty frustrated, having worked through electrical problems on the gun for months with out finding a smoking gun (ugh -- just couldn't help myself), other than the gun didn't work. The GM from ATG was able to look at it with a fresh set of eyes, and helped figure out a work around so we could get the remaining rounds shot. We all sighed a huge relief when the GUNEX was done -- this is one area that so many ship have troubles with that ATG gives a six-month waiver to reattempt the GUNEX as a matter of course. Finishing the GUNEX wrapped up our Combat Systems warfare area. I don't remember the drill score average, but I'm pretty sure it was above 95%.

We were underway again on Thursday, overnight into Friday, getting underway a little later in the day because we knew we had a late-ish night planned. We started off with rerunning our loss of gyro drill on the outbound transit, and finally passed it (I suspect running it for practice on the way outbound and inbound on Wednesday helped significantly with that). Then we moved right into towing and astern refueling. The tug that helped us get underway (don't ask -- the port we're in has compulsory pilot and tug requirements because one too many ships has bashed their piers trying to moor unassisted. I understand the necessity, but I still think *we* don't really need it) stayed on scene with us and acted as our "disabled vessel" that needed towing. We had a perfect day for it, with a light breeze from the southeast, no chop and the slightest of swells from the east.

WEPS made two beautiful approaches, both times getting within 75 feet (yes, feet; not yards) at a super slow speed to allow the fantail sufficient time to make a couple of attempts to get the heaving line across. SN JB heaved a spectacular throw, stretching the heaving line out its full length perfectly across the tug in front of the pilot house. And about 45 minutes later, after lengthening the tow to 400 feet, making a 30 degree turn with the tug in tow, shortening the tow and passing back a fueling hose, we broke the tow, and the tug headed back to port. Their comment to OPS on the radio just prior to departing was best approach and heaving line throw they'd seen in 12 years of playing TOWEX.

But the day was barely started for us. We attempted a loss of steering drill after the tow, but missed a few things on it. I agreed with OPS to try to rejigger the schedule to fit it in somewhere.

Next was our precision anchorage. Our bearing takers on either bridge wing shot continuous bearings to our head bearing and drop bearing, and our radar operator gave ranges to the drop range. We ended up about 67 yards off our planned drop point, so we lost 5 points for being more than 50 yards off. But we passed the precision anchorage with 80% -- something that ATG told us only 10% of ships are able to do on the first try.

I'm getting to the point where I feel like I'm bragging overly much about our prowess with all these different evolutions. But screw it! I'm gonna keep bragging. This crew works so well together, even when things aren't going well, with everyone so dedicated to the overall team effort. Do I think we're the best at what we do? Hell, yes! And it's always nice to hear an impartial, unbiased affirmation of that from outside sources.

We stayed anchored until just after dinner and some meeting or another, maybe a DCTT planning meeting. Then we got underway to try the loss of steering again, and wait for sunset to do our shipboard and small boat man overboard (MOB) drills at night. We passed all on the first try...though it did take a little longer than usual to recover all the life rings from the MOB shipboard pick up. It was getting late, and I think the darkness messed with folks' depth perception a little. ATG finished up with their debrief, and we small boated them back in at about 2130. Our small boat was back onboard, cradled and secured for sea by about 2215. Long ass day.

SN JB was Thursday's MVP for that epic heaving line throw that got our tow hooked up on the first try. It really was a thing of beauty.

ATG was back onboard by 0745 the next morning, brought out by our friendly tug. We had a day full of ITTs planned. Our first ITT was a General Quarters (GQ) drill. GQ1 is our highest state of readiness for when we find ourselves in a high threat environment. The make-believe scenario that drove the GQ state was that we were on patrol in JIATF-South's AOR and had been successful with multiple drug busts, and had large quantities of contraband stored onboard. The drug trafficking organization (DTO) wasn't too happy about that, and threatened to take back their drugs by any means necessary. They tried, including getting off an RPG hit and machine gun fire at us before we demolished their vessel. But the RPG hit and machine gun strafe did some damage that our repair lockers responded to. It was a fun drill, and we successfully fought and saved the ship.

Friday afternoon's drill was another main space fire, with other associated casualties from other training teams' warfare areas. DCTT was in evaluation mode, so we could only ask "leading questions" to get watchstanders to do what they were supposed to do, instead of directing them. But we got a 100% on the drill -- again something not many ships can do for a main space fire in eval mode.

EM3 JN was Friday's MVP, again selected from a robust pool of candidates. I don't remember what his specific job is for our various casualty scenarios, but he responded enthusiastically and correctly to whatever was thrown his way.

We moored outboard of another ship Friday afternoon, just before the skies opened up with a thunderous deluge of rain. And with that mooring, we finished all drills required for Navigation and Seamanship. Three warfare areas down. One to go.

We start next week with only three drills to go. I am strenuously optimistic that we'll be able to get through them, and make it look easy. However, in amusing and frustrating contrast to all the amazing feats of teamwork we saw throughout the week, we did have a couple less than stellar moments. Tuesday afternoon, I was sitting at my desk having changed out of my uniform into civilian clothes to work in comfort on the admin stuff I had neglected during a day full of drills.

DINGDINGARINGADINGARING. Now set General Emergency in accordance with the main space fire doctrine. There has been the report of a major fuel oil leak in the engineering vestibule. All hands respond in today's duty section respond from Repair III. Traffic pattern is up and forward on starboard, down and aft on port.

Right around the major fuel oil leak part of the pipe, I was on my way off the ship to muster on the pier with the rest of the folks who were onboard, but not in the duty section. They could call us to help from there if they needed it. Once EO came up to the flight deck, I got the full scoop. The Fuel Oil Water King was transferring fuel to the day tanks in preparation for our upcoming day underway on Wednesday. He didn't align all the valves exactly right, so he kept pumping fuel into a tank that was already full, and when he opening the sounding tube to sound the tank, fuel geysered out of the sounding tube. The duty section responded perfectly, and applied many of the lessons they had just learned during the previous week's inport drills. We got the mess cleaned up within about 90 minutes. Our mishap report is pending.

And, at this point having described all we did this past week, I simply can't muster the energy to bash the guys who brought us Yokohama fenders when we moored outboard that other ship on Wednesday. Their boat's number was BB-3, which quickly became known for the three bumbling bozos onboard. It took them nearly an hour to pass us two fenders, amidst the dropped lines, yards and yards of heaving lines jumbled into knots and general dip-shittedness. Circus music played in the background.

Seriously -- three more drills next week. I think we got this.