Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Where has the time gone???

Updated late on 5/21 with some editorial corrections from LW and CC and a photo from GMJ.

Holy Cow Batman. Has it really been 14 YEARS?!?! I wish I had my photo albums to scan one of my commissioning photos and include it in this post.

14 years ago today, I was wearing my choker whites and marching into the Camino-Founders Courtyard on the University of San Diego campus.

Update: Thanks to GMJ for emailing me this picture. Nope, I haven't changed AT ALL. Seriously, I look like I'm TWELVE for cryin' out loud!!! Nice coke-bottle glasses, eh? It's really weird to see empty space between my neck and the collar of my uniform. You mean "chokers" aren't supposed to choke you and cut off blood flow to your head???

I can only think of three times that I've worn my choker whites in my entire Navy career. Wait, LW and CC corrected me. There were FOUR times.

The first time was for commissioning (see above).

The second time was for graduation from the Naval Postgraduate School in June 2001. I've got a really nice picture of LW, ES, and me in my chokers on my desk at work, but I think it was taken with a film camera.

The third time was a change of command ceremony in Guam where I stood on the black steel deck forward of the sail under the blazing hot sun, holding that ridiculous ceremonial spyglass that weighs a ton.

Change of Command in Guam 2003

Yep, that's me with the spyglass in the picture above. I stood in the shade while waiting for the ceremony to begin, but then I had to move into the sunlight so that the official party could walk by the sail on their way to the platform.

Did I mention how much my arm hurt

after holding that #%&$#@ spyglass?

After the ceremony, I had quite a few people come up and tell me they were all taking bets on how long I would last before I passed out from the heat standing there in the sun for the entire ceremony.

The fourth time was for the Mighty MSP's Inactivation Ceremony last June in Norfolk.

Inactivation Ceremony, 22 June 2007

Anyway, maybe next year when we're back on the mainland and have all our stuff back out of storage I'll be able to scan a commissioning photo to post here.

I have no idea where this is going to go, but I thought it might be interesting to recap where I've been on each anniversary of my commissioning.

1 Year: Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU), Charleston, SC. Enduring life as a prototype student in 12 hour shiftwork, but enjoying what little free time I had in Charleston.

2 Years: USS PROVIDENCE (SSN 719), Groton, CT. I was single and excited to leave on my first deployment in June, so we were busy with POM (Pre-Overseas Movement) workups and certification. I get LTJG pinned on just in time to go on deployment and let the extra pay accumulate in my bank account while I was gone.

3 Years: USS PROVIDENCE (SSN 719), Groton, CT. LW and I have been dating for 2 months. We spend every weekend together if I'm in port. If I didn't have duty, then I'd go to Boston for the weekend to be with LW. If I had duty, then LW would come down to Groton. This was before 9-11, so she could just show a bag of food from Boston Market to the gate sentry and say, "My boyfriend is the duty officer on the PROVIDENCE," and the sentry would let her through and she'd park her car right SMACK in front of the boat and walk across the brow.

4 Years: USS PROVIDENCE (SSN 719), Groton, CT. While my fiancee, LW, is back in Boston planning our wedding, I'm now on my second deployment. This time it is to the Persian Gulf as part of the JOHN C STENNIS battle group. I pin on LT soon and let the extra pay accumulate in my bank account to pay for our honeymoon and stuff.

5 Years: In transit. I checked out from the PROVIDENCE and LW and I are enjoying (using the term loosely) a long drive across country seeing every family relative and historic site possible. That's another blog post for another day, but let's just say we aren't going to intentionally take 3 weeks to drive across country ever again. Soon we'll arrive at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.

6 Years: Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA. LW completed her scuba certification, and we spend a good deal of time scuba diving and enjoying life around the Monterey Peninsula.

7 Years: Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA. LW is VERY pregnant with ES - overdue, in fact. I finished my thesis early so that I would not have to worry about the thesis after the baby is born, so it's a big waiting game. Given our impending graduation and departure for Groton, the doctors will induce labor in a few days so that we can start our PCS move across country.

8 Years: USS HELENA (SSN 725), San Diego, CA. I've just transited under the polar ice cap via the Bering Strait and completed PACSUBICEX 2002, and we stop in Pearl Harbor for a port call. LW and ES flew out to meet me, and we had an awesome week in Hawaii. ES is crawling now and chases the birds along the sidewalk around the Hale Koa.

9 Years: USS HELENA (SSN 725), San Diego, CA. LW is about 2 months pregnant with YB, and I'm getting ready to leave for WESTPAC for the third time in three years. This will be the first official "deployment" for me on the HELENA though, because the previous two trips were less than 56 days, so they weren't "deployments." During this deployment, LW would get to endure fire storms, raining ashes, and the emotional stress of packing up our valuables in the car and being ready to evacuate due to the fires.

10 Years: USS HELENA (SSN 725), San Diego, CA. In a few days, LW and the boys will come down to the boat to help pin on my new collar devices. In anticipation of going out to sea for most of the rest of the summer, we've got our house on the market and LW plans to take the boys and leave soon to find us a new home in the DC suburbs. I would detach in Sept and fly out to meet them.

11 Years: NGA, Chantilly, VA. Enjoying the suburban DC life, hiking, geocaching, bike rides, touring battlefields, launching rockets. Oh yeah, I just had laser eye surgery (PRK) at Bethesda Naval Hospital, so I'm now free of glasses!

12 Years: NGA, Chantilly, VA. We've just returned from a wonderful week-long family vacation to Aruba. Still enjoying the suburban life around DC, but anticipating my departure in September for the Submarine Command Course (SCC) and the PXO training pipeline. At this point we think we're going to a boomer out of Bangor.

13 Years: USS MINNEAPOLIS SAINT PAUL (SSN 708), Norfolk, VA. Yep, I got an ORDMOD while I was in SCC sending me to MSP instead of HMJ. We just returned from deployment on April 4th and enjoyed a month of post-deployment stand down. LW and the boys are still living in the DC suburbs because we're leaving Norfolk on July 6th to change homeports to Pearl Harbor. Flashback to Year 3 - when I'm in port, either I'm driving to DC for the weekend or LW and the boys are driving to Norfolk for the weekend. Actually, on this anniversary, I'm underway en route to Kings Bay to offload our deployment weapons and commence midshipman ops.

14 Years: USS MINNEAPOLIS SAINT PAUL (SSN 708), Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in decommissioning. Enjoying our time in Hawaii, but looking forward to moving back to the mainland to be closer to family and friends. Decom is scheduled to finish at the end of August, so the entire crew is negotiating with their detailers for orders to detach in September and report in October to their new duty stations.

Where will we be this time next year? I predict either Norfolk or the DC suburbs again. We're anxious to find out so we can get started on our PCS move logistics.


Sagey said...

Actually, you have worn you chokers 4 times, NPS graduation! :-)

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Thank you Sagey...I was going to remind him of that as well!

14 years? Going for 40?? :)

E.P. said...

As you know, I'm not one to disparage tradition, but...what IS up with the spyglass? I did my Spyglass duty indoors (Groton, Winter) but my arm was still nearly numb.

fastnav said...

I have no idea, but the Spyglass SUCKS. Luckily, mine wasn't in the sun. But it did rain like a champion. fun times indeed.

RM1(SS) (ret) said...

4 Years: USS PROVIDENCE (SSN 719), Groton, CT. While my fiancee, LW, is back in Boston planning our wedding, I'm now on my second deployment. This time it is to the Persian Gulf as part of the JOHN C STENNIS battle group. I pin on LT soon and let the extra pay accumulate in my bank account to pay for our honeymoon and stuff.

I seem to remember a #10 can of corn somewhere in there.... 8)

blunoz said...

RM1 - I'm surprised you remember that. Man, that creamed corn gets into EVERY bodily crevasse!!! That was extremely nasty. Thanks for the memory!

RM1(SS) (ret) said...