Good Boat, Bad Boat

[from the vaults, 2007]

March 24

I got a tour of the 76 this morning, conducted by GMC Chief Greg Colvin, the 76 being the big gun that went boom the other day. It can fire four different kinds of ammunition up to eighty rounds a minute. Each round is three feet long and depending on the kind of ammunition weighing anywhere from 36 to 56 pounds. At any moment during practice or actual operations, anyone has the ability to call “Silence!” to cease firing. The person who calls silence is the only one who can call it off so as to resume firing.

Chief Greg Colvin

It’s that CG safety first thing again, like the swimmer on the Alex Haley’s helo telling me he had the ability to call a waveoff if he didn’t feel comfortable. You see that in the GARs as well, anyone on the crew has the ability to revise any of the GAR evaluations upward. From seaman to captain, if you’re a member of the crew you’re supposed to contribute, you’re another set of eyes and ears, part of the collective experience that will help the ship work better and expedite the mission.


But back to the 76. “The gun gods require blood sacrifices,” Greg says, grinning. “Everyone in the crew has left blood on this gun.” They also appear to require pushups, because sometimes you’ll look down at the foredeck from the bridge and the whole gunnery crew will be exercizing their biceps and, get this, laughing while they’re doing it. “It’s a gunny thing,” LTJG Barbieri says.

Then we ran drills. First we launch the “Bad” boat, then we launch the helo (did I mention our helo? more later), then we launch the “Good” boat. The bad boat hauls butt and the helo goes in pursuit, followed by the good boat. The helo radios us that they have the target in sight, that the boat appears to have no name and no nationality and that further it appears to be a go-fast smuggling contraband (probably cocaine, could be heroin, marijuana).


The bad boat notices that its neck is being breathed down by the US Coast Guard, whereupon they drop their contraband, noted by the helo and radioed to us. The bad boat takes some convincing that its smuggling days are over, and the helo radios that it has finally stopped. The Munro goes full speed ahead and recovers the contraband while the good boat takes the bad boat’s crew into custody and confiscates the craft.

good boat bad boat

Things, inevitably on a first run-through with a green crew, go wrong. Pressure to the helo fuel hose was 25 psi less than it ought to have been and the radios between bridge and hangar deck and both boats and the HCO (helo comm officer) and the LSO (landing signals officer) gave everyone a blasphemous time. Then we put the bird in the air and everything went right from there, helo stops bad boat, bad boat taken into custody, Munro recovers contraband, helo and boats both good and bad.

Everyone bolts dinner (veal parmesan, spaghetti and spinach and Senior Chief Minos is ladling it out next to the mess cooks) and then, yes, really, back to work, we’re going to launch the helo NVG, the ship in the dark with the aviators wearing night vision goggles, and do it all over again.

Don’t forget to check out ENS Dan Schrader’s photo essay of the patrol.

Click here to order a copy.


Dana View All →

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11 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hi, I’ve been reading everyday. My husband is Mk1 Childers he works in main prop. Tomorrow is our 13th year anniversary if you get a chance to get down there (I know it’s pretty hot down there) wish him annivesary for me.I’m so proud of him and all the crew.I really love reading your postings everyday it really helps feeling connected. Thanks, Kristin Childers

  2. Mrs. Childers,

    Congratulations on you and your husband’s 13th anniversery.

    MK1 Childers is without a doubt a real asset and a valuable resouce in the engineering department. He is a 1st Class Petty Officer (soon to be Chief) I have come to trust and admire for his technical expertise and leadership presence. By all means you should be proud of your husband.

    Thank you for letting us steal him away from you on this special day.


    LTjg Golder
    Electrician’s Mate Division Officer

  3. Hi Dana,

    Thank you so much for posting blogs. It helps paint a picture of what my boyfriend does everyday. I’m always teasing him and telling him that no matter where he’s at, I always know what he’s doing because I read your blogs. I look forward to your next blog and I wish you and the whole Munro crew a safe voyage!
    Marysol Vega

  4. Dana, thanks for all the great info. Especially liked 3-23-07 posting as Jessica Roberts is my GRANDdaughter.Luck and all the good s–t from Fairdale,Ky.

  5. Morning, Dana,

    It’s become my habit every morning after reading USA Today online to come over here and find out what is happening onboard the Munro.

    I heart your writing, you know that. These blogs are among your best writing…ever. Ever? So far? IMHO. I wish there was a way you could capture the blogs from the Haley and Munro and in some way form a book. I agree with a previous comment. Each ship should have an author onboard. You have truly captured something special here.

    Impatiently waiting for the next Kate/Liam/standalone/Munro blog. LOLOLOLOL


  6. Dana and Friends,

    Once again I enjoyed the news and the pictures. My son, FN Chris Hernandez, is one of those hard-working engineers/fire fighters who get to drill, drill, drill. I have yet to hear from him so we do appreciate your news. I have told everyone I know to read about the daily exploits of the MUNRO. Please tell all the crew how much we appreciate their efforts in keeping our seas and country safe.

    Thank you,

    Judi Hernandez

  7. I am having such fun reading these! Back in the day, I did not know of this blog. Just the books. Thank you for the rerun.

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