Big Gun Go Boom

[from the vaults, 2007]

March 21

Big gun go boom. That pretty much sums up the morning’s activities, a drill on the 76-millimeter gun mounted forward. To give you perspective, the casings from the ammunition are the size of umbrella stands.

At ten hundred Chief Greg Colvin and PO Josh Hendl heave the Killer Tomato over the side, which will be our target. The object of the drill is of course to exercise the skills of the gun crew, but it is also, according to Weps (LTJG Kevin Beaudoin), to make sure the nifty radar they have mounted to the roof of the bridge works.

the Killer Tomato

Weps has some interesting things to say about older equipment. I have been beginning to feel a little indignant on behalf of the USCG in that a lot of their equipment seems a bit dated. I know I won’t be able to say any more than that so I’ll stop there, but when I say this to Weps, he points out that with older equipment, chances are you’ve still got a weapon you can fire when the computer breaks down. So I feel better.

Big bang

The CIC, or Combat Information Center, aka Combat, has been “scrubbed”, i.e., all the secret stuff put away so I can visit. (Note to self: Get clearance before next ride.) Chief Luke Cutburth gives me as much of a tour as he can without giving away any state secrets, but it’s very clear that he is a very competent individual who is very enthusiastic about his job and his crew. Also, Combat rides in the center of the ship and because of all the electronics is kept very cool. “When it’s rough or when it’s hot,” Luke says, grinning, “you’d be surprised how many people wind up down here.”

Big splash

I get to see part of a videotape showing film from a helo chasing a go fast, but right when we get to the good part we get the word that we’re about to begin firing. The deck shakes. We watch the monitor which has the target floating 2 nautical miles away and there is a big splash next to it. These people are so good that I think they’re just toying with the Killer Tomato, because they score a direct hit on the eighth shell, which they very kindly wait to do until I get to the bridge. Ear protection very important when the 76 goes off. Did I mention the big boom?

cleaning the 76

That afternoon another drill, this time flooding in a storeroom, complicated later by a fire in Sick Bay.

Gun grab!

Later there is LE (law enforcement) training on the hangar deck, with ENS Dan Schrader instructing. You’d all recognize the first move, the interview stance, eyes steady, feet spread, hands on belt, it’s the same law enforcement stance you see on every practicing law enforcement professional the world over. Less familiar is “Gun Grab!” which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

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7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Thanks Dana for all the great pictures. We have a daughter onboard the Munro, LTJG Morgan Barbieri. Her younger sisters and brother look forward to your blog each day and were happy to hear she had a nice birthday!

  2. Dear Dana~

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your fact-filled posts, as well as viewing the vibrant pictures. My husband, Kevin (“WEPS”), is a self-confessed ‘non-writer’, therefore your blog has done an excellent job of enlightening me with the activities of both the ship and crew via an alterative means. Keep up the fabulous work!

    ~Jasmine Beaudoin

  3. Hi Dana!
    I almost feel as if I know you, just from reading everything that I can get my hands on that you have written. Needless to say, I am a staunch FAN, totally devoted to Kate Shugak! I just finished “Blindfold Game”. Wow! Superb! Different from most of your other novels, but just as brilliant! I plan to buy another copy, just to send to my son. He is a seaman, a Navy Veteran, and a devotee of anything to do with boats and the sea. He will love it!
    I was born near the sea, on the East Coast, but have lived in and around Fairbanks for 36 years. All of my kids were raised here, and all of my grandkids started life here. I still miss the sea. I have often thought that I might like to live in South Central or Southeast Alaska, but I have never had the money to uproot and move. Enough about me. I just want you to know that you have a thoroughly devoted fan here. I haven’t yet aquired your latest Kate Shugak novel, but I will! Just so that you know, Your Novel “Hunters Moon” just wiped me out! I know that it is fiction, and that the characters are not real people, but I cried for days. What really impresses me, is that you could remove a key character, a really strong character, and still maintain the power and integrity of the Kate Shugak series. Your talent as a writer and story teller, consistantly at the top of the game, is totally amazing! I wish that I could meet you in person. I know that is unlikely, but if you are ever in Fairbanks, I would love to just have coffee (or tea) with you sometime. Thank you for the gift of your talent, and the many hours of wonderful reading that you have provided.

    Sincerely, Respectfully, Affectionately,

    Kathy Villeneuve

  4. Dear Dana,

    Thank you for the opportunity of keeping up with the crew. This will be an experience they will never forget (nor will I).

    Your friend and new fan,

    Judi Hernandez

  5. Our most sincere thanks, Dana. We have a son on board the Munro, Justin Ramirez. He keeps in touch, when he gets a chance. His sister worries about him all the time. The images you’ve posted has provided some “calm” to her. For us it’s like a glimpse in “a day in the life on the Munro”. Tell all on board we are proud of each and every one of them. Most importantly they need to know how much THANKS and PRAYERS go out for them every day!

  6. Hi Dana

    Question — I know it is early – but do you know when your 20th book party will be in Arizona with the Poison Pen???


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