Asia Sailors and Shipmates
By Garland Davis
Here’s to the boys who went to sea in old worn-out steel vessels out on the Pacific Rim. They smoked cigarettes and sometimes something else, drank beer and whiskey and cohabitated with the girls. They fought a hot war while facing off an enemy in a cold war.
They built relationships stronger than any friendship. They were Shipmates. Fifty and sixty years have passed, and they still greet each other as they did in those long-ago days. And meeting a Shipmate they haven’t seen in decades brings tears to their eyes.
They talk of generations delineated by birthdate, Silent, Boomer, X, and Z. Tom Brokaw wrote a book, The Greatest Generation that brought to life the extraordinary stories of a generation who won WWII, which gave new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and honor. I don’t think you can categorize the Asia Sailor into a specific generation. I like to believe that members of today’s Greatest Generation still ply the seas to keep the peace and fight the countries battles.
Here’s to the coffee drinkers, those still waking up before dawn, because that’s what we do. They listened to Johnny Cash, Elvis. Conway, Creedence, The Stones, Lennon, Kyu Sakamoto, Hikaru Nishida, Ayumi Ishida.
Here’s to the best of the best, those few that are left, to those you call when you don’t know what to do, which way to turn, or how to fix something. To the thinkers, the ones that just don’t know how to give up. To the ones who give so freely of themselves. To the committed.
Their shoulders are stooped now. They’ve carried so much for so long. Their hair is gray, their steps come slower, the time left to them is short.
Here’s to Asia Sailors and my Shipmates.
4 thoughts on “Asia Sailors and Shipmates”
Good recap of the Asia Sailors I’ve spent the past 53 years cussing and discussing over beer and coffee. Thanks Garland.
I talk almost daily to these now, old guys. Love it. Thanks.
Garland it’s thru reunions, letters, cell phones, emails & etc. that we can all reach out & stay in touch and maintain the bonds we form throughout our careers. There’s nothing in the civilian community that will ever compare to that which we have.
Things seen and done while young, as noble and brave as it was, all those things were clouded by the piss and vinegar we were full of! The many years past are what made the facts in Asia Sailors a reality. The words stirred memories that I thought were unappreciated by anyone but me! Oh the stories we have shared over the years, with those who will never really know what it was like to be there. A time in our lives we will never forget, a time in my life I will never regret!