A splendid thing it is, indeed, to go to sea as a Reservist – not necessarily because going to sea is so intrinsically great, but because it is so rare once one has left active service. Opportunities do appear, to be sure – I’ve done it before – but only in certain units at certain times. If one believes in the notion that a sailor belongs at sea, then those times are times to be treasured.
Also, you’ll remember why life at sea sucks and refresh yourself on some of the reasons you left active duty in the first place. But don’t let that stop you. The skies are as dark and the stars are as bright as you’ll ever see.
My schedule this week is somewhat busy, but I want to avoid complete silence on the blog. Three weeks of that was enough. So below I’ve typed up a few notes and observations that I jotted down during the underway period, in more or less chronological order. Some will be developed further later, especially if someone asks. But for now, just some random points:
- The plane is full of young Marines whom we’re riding along with. The conversation is about what you’d expect.
- The best way to appreciate the scale of American air power is to fly over al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and look down.
- Djibouti sucks.
- A twelve-hour watch on the boat is still a twelve-hour watch.
- You never forget the layout of an LHD.
- I never thought I’d see an UNREP again… much less four of them.
- If aircraft are tied down forward and on the starboard slide, I will sleep.
- Allies can be annoying (but we already knew that).
- Wow, there are stationary bikes outside by Primary Flight Control. I’m never setting foot inside the gym again.
- I never actually ran on the flight deck when I served on one of these. That has been rectified.
- Two words: BURGER WEDNESDAY.
- It’s not a broomstick, it’s a bowhook (this should be a song).
- Somehow watching MV-22s land from Vulture’s Row seems perfectly safe when you would never watch a plane land from 100 ft away at an airport.
- The flight deck is always hot. Always.
- Sunday brunch included ice cream on a waffle. That’s worth going to sea for.