Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Blue Water Sailors - The Tin Can Navy

For many reasons, Seventh Fleet sailors, when on the Pacific, sense themselves in the company of spirits.  Massive, historic events took place out there….not very long ago as history goes.  Most of the sailors have a keen sense of that history as they cruise through, by and over it.

Whether Pearl Harbor is their home port or they are just stopping over on the long transit to the Western Pacific, no one can ignore they're berthed in the shadows of the USS ARIZONA and the USS MISSOURI, both vessels that define the endpoints of America’s involvement in WWII.  Each rates a sharp salute.  

Further west, just about every deployment brings a tour of the legendary sites of the largest naval war in history...we pass over the site where the previous ship bearing our name rests on the bottom, the victim of a torpedo in 1942.  

Beneath these waters lie the ghosts of our forefathers, and if you listen carefully to the wind on a moonlit night, I swear you can almost hear them calling out, "carry on, Sailor".  And that's what we do....

“The destroyer is different from the rest of ships. It is small, fast and personal.  No other ship offers the experience that a destroyer does in any sea state.  Long after they are gone, their crews remember.” 

The destroyers were affectionately known as Tin Cans for the way they took the seas.  They bobbed, rolled, dunked, dove, pitched, and twisted in the waves…even in relative calm.

During long transits, the smaller destroyers had to be periodically refueled from the carrier.  When the ships came alongside to pass the fuel lines, carrier sailors got to see the smaller destroyers from close aboard. To a man, no carrier sailor ever wished he had been a destroyerman.  However, also to a man, no destroyer sailor would have had it any other way.

...and those aren't heavy seas !

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