They Were Home To Us

by Roger p. Korth

One of the advantages of aging is developing memories. Like with all, some good and some bad. Fortunately for me all of my naval memories are wonderful because I’ve chosen to forget the bad. This is a choice we all have to make. Although my enlistment was short compared to many of you, my fondness for my only ship is strong.

She was “born” in 1945 and ”passed on” in 73. Not too bad an age for a ship, but not a lady. To us, her crew, she was home. Served her country in Korea and Vietnam and was ”scrapped”. for razor blades, they tell me.

I was never a plank owner or part of a decommissioning crew, and I’m glad about the latter. I guess we all want to be part of the birth of anything. Young, fresh, just starting out, bright and shiny, and ready to go. Decommissioning, no? Call it what it is, a death. The no longer needed phase of existence. I’ve been to too many funerals over the years and think that would be the same.

I don’t know about you, but to me, it’s very emotional. Whatever ship you served on is special in your heart. Some of you guy’s rattled off names and numbers like football signals. From the Bonne Dick to the Big O, the JFK to whatever. They weren’t ships; they were home. They were families of brothers and later sisters traveling the world with you.

Wherever I go near the water, I always catch sight of a vessel and wonder where she’s been or going. Any Navy vessel talks to me. Major harbors stateside home one of the old girls or guys of the sea. Look at any battleship or carrier anywhere, and you swell with pride. It might be a museum or tourist attraction now, but it used to be home to us.

Red lead and Navy gray are two of my favorite colors… Go Navy!

God bless you guys