The Line

theleansubmariner

As Memorial Day approaches, I know that all of us will be busy with tributes, ceremonies and parades of honor. At least I hope that we all would be so engaged. The truth is that many will be more focused on picnics and pools, parties and getaways, sales and sports. How far away from our own heritage have we drifted.

I will have the honor of participating in the Elizabeth Parade and Ceremony in Elizabeth PA. The ceremony goes back as far as anyone can remember and has been a regular part of my families tradition for nearly as long. I hope to be able to introduce a new poem written today for the occasion.

This poem is a reflection based on a vision I had about sailors today. I have copywrited the work so if you feel the desire to share, please contact me directly.

The Line

Mister Mac

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I Was Mugged at UPS

I Was Mugged at UPS

By Garland Davis

If you ever considered shipping a stick from Branson, Missouri to Honolulu, don’t do it!

My shipmate and brother Cort Willoughby presented me with a unique cane during the sixth Asia Sailor Westpac’rs reunion last week in Branson. It didn’t fit in my luggage and was too long for the overhead bins in some of the aircraft. I decided to use FedEx or UPS to ship it to my home in Hawaii.

I found the address for the UPS facility and Hambone and I set out to locate it. After the Garmin in his rental car totally confused the hell out of us, we were eventually successful.

I informed the young woman behind the counter of my desire to ship the cane. Now I once shipped a Kindle via UPS to Jerry Juliana in West By God from Hawaii. The sweet young thing in Branson asked me for my zip code and then told me my name and address. Facial recognition?

That sweet young blonde measured and weighed the cane punched a bunch of numbers and crap into a computer and then mugged my dumb ass.

I paid $226.33 to ship a two-pound stick from Branson to Waipahu. It was delivered today.

On the positive side, I am now the proud owner of enough foam shipping peanuts to fill a shitcan.

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The Battle of the Bloody Angle

The Battle of the Bloody Angle

By Brion Boyles

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I used the battle of The Bloody Angle in my farewell speech to each graduating class of midshipmen, when I taught Celestial Navigation at the NROTC Unit The George Washington University.

It was a commentary on “salutes”… here paraphrased:

“Why a “salute?” Why are they important to you, as young officers? What’s the Big Deal? Here, have some…they’re free…(and I’d flutter my hand over my brow a few dozens times)… You have all been to sea for your training, and you’ve noticed how some men will cross the street for the chance to give their officer a salute, and yet others will duck into the nearest building to avoid “having” to give one… What’s up with that?

“What do YOU do that makes you THAT officer… for whom men cross the street to show their respect?”

“I think on the Bloody Angle… a Civil War battle that was fought but a few miles from here. For 3 days, the Union Army charged entrenched Confederates in a great, bloody battle thought sure to be the death blow for the Confederacy. Union soldiers watched from across fields as the bodies piled up before them…until they could no longer see over them. Every hour of the day, another wave of men would rise and charge into the carnage… By the end of the battle, nearly 30,000 killed and wounded lay over ground no larger than a few football fields….and every one of those charges were lead by narrow-shouldered, pimple-faced, squirrelly little 2nd Lieutenants …just…like …YOU. Young officers who would look over them, raise their sword, and lead them into the smoke….

” What was it about those rank 1st and 2nd Lieutenants that earned them the obedience and faith, that their men would survey the scene in front of them…more than likely certain Death… and yet Image result for sailors saluting images

“The answer is TRUST. You young officers will have plenty of opportunity to earn that trust. Answer your men’s questions. Follow through on their requests. Watch and reward their work. Be fair and efficient, follow your own advice, set the example… but do not hesitate to say “I don’t know” if you do not know, “I cannot” if you cannot. These answers in these instances are NOT faults… but are signs of trust. Be HONEST. Pretend, and they will see right through you…that you care more for your appearances than for them, that you will barter your men for your own ego.

“If you guard the trust your men place in you, then they will guard YOU. You are THEIR officer as much as they are YOUR men. Never forget that… and you will have salutes rain upon you… and they will stand in the ultimate salute when you turn to them and say, “It’s time”.

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“Brandywine, Brandywine this is Singing Bush. Gertrude Check.”

theleansubmariner

There should be no question in anyone’s mind that submarines are one of the most challenging duties any person could ever volunteer for. The men and now women who sail on these unique ships do so with the understanding that all care has been taken to provide for their safety but in the end, safety takes a place in line behind the word “mission”. I have spoken with combat veterans who faced live fire who told me that they could not see themselves serving on board one of these underwater craft. Yet year over year since 1900, American Bluejackets and Officers have raised their hands and taken an oath to defend the country while serving within the confines of a steel tube, closed on both ends, surrounded by the darkness of the world’s largest battlegrounds: the oceans.

When things go according to plan, the crew submerges the ship, conducts their…

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The 2018 Asia Sailor Westpac’rs Reunion

The 2018 Asia Sailor Westpac’rs Reunion

By Garland

They say that as one gets older time seems to pass faster and faster. Well a number of us have found a way to slow it down. The fifty-one weeks spent waiting for the next Asia Sailor Reunion drag past. Then the week of the reunion passes so fast it is almost impossible to remember everything that occurred. Wait, the memory thing may be caused by the copious amounts of adult beverages swilled by the attendees. (I was going to say imbibed, but swilled better fits what I saw in Branson Last week.)

A partial list of the beverages available to the 118 members and guests who attended the reunion:

Over 1000 bottles and cans of Miller Lite

240 bottles and cans of Bud Light

240 bottles of Budweiser

240 bottles of San Miguel

48 bottles of Red Horse

48 cans of Spotted Cow

I forget how many bottles of Corona

240 bottles or cans of Coors

Some Coors Light

I am sure there are some that I forgot.

I counted 14 bottles and jars of Corn Liquor (better known as Moonshine).

I know of twelve bottles of Kentucky Bourbon. (Probably more.)

Numerous bottles of wine were drunk.

The ladies consumed copious amounts of champagne during their painting class as evidenced by the sterling quality of their artistic endeavors.

These quantities of booze are a little light this year. You see, I didn’t drink this year. No, I haven’t gone all sanctimonious on you. It is just that I no longer need the impetus of alcohol to fall down. I can now manage it all on my own.

The reunion activities didn’t all involve alcohol. Give me a little while and I will think of one…

There were a number of cases of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Coke, Diet Coke, and Diet Dr. Pepper consumed by the no-loads (among whom I include myself) and the morning after cottonmouths. (there were probably more cottonmouths at the hotel each morning than in the local swamp).

There was a reversion to our youth during the reunion. Many of us acted as we did in younger days. F-bombs were an integral part of every conversation. It, in its many variations, was probably the most overused word during the five days of the festivities.

There was more to the reunion than sitting around drinking. There was the joy of meeting old shipmates and renewing friendships, putting faces to some Facebook shipmates and making new friends, then sitting around drinking with them.

On a serious side, the members opened up their hearts and wallets for the annual raffle and auction. We raised in excess of $7,000 to support the Fisher House Charity and the Wat Sa School in Thailand. Bravo Zulu my shipmates. I am proud to be a member of the Asia Sailor Westpac’rs.

Many attendees already have room reservations for next year. Already counting the days until we do it again. I tell you it is the most fun you’ll have with your clothes on.

I logged the reunion secured at 2130, Sunday 20 May.

BTW, when I went in to check the Jungle Room Monday morning, there were three lone beers floating in a cooler of tepid water and an unopened bottle of Carolina Moonshine and one of Kentucky Bourbon on the table. Take that for action Mac.

Many members proclaim the Asia Sailor Westpac’rs Reunion the best they have ever attended. The credit for producing six outstanding reunions goes to David “Mac” McAllister and his lovely bride Kathy Mac. Actually, the credit goes to Kathy, Mac is just the menial labor. Bravo Zulu shipmates on the best one yet!

Sea stories abound…

Sam Davis and his lovely bride…

Doc expounding on something…

Bullshit predominates every conversation…

Old and new shipmates…

The bar…

A spectacular new gangway provided by shipmates Kurt Stuvengen, Pat Mullins and Fred Kruse…

A Blues Band entertains while Sam Davis is “getting down.”

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Fire At Sea

Fire At Sea

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USS White Plains AFS-4 Fire.

On 9 May 1989, while underway in the South China Sea en route to Guam, the White Plains experienced a major Class Bravo fire in the main engine room while conducting underway fuel replenishment with the combat replenishment ship USS Sacramento (AOE-1). The fire resulted from the ejection of a valve stem on the fuel transfer system which sent a high-pressure spray of fuel over the boiler and consequently ignited into a fireball.

There were 6 fatalities and 161 injuries reported as a result of the fire.

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