Drill Card 4

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

March 26

Holiday routine today, and after the last two days they needed it. Steel beach and fish call on the fan tail, comfort food on the menu, mac and cheese, wings and pizza, and I think a lot of people just stayed in their racks if they didn’t absolutely positively have to be on watch. Or were engineers.

Because the engineers have triumphed, over a heretofore unknown redesign of a helo fuel tank fitting causing the vast majority of the problem (our Sons of Martha rock) and tonight we ran Drill Card 4 pretty much by the numbers. As XO says, “Sometimes it’s not best to be first with new gear.” We launched bad boat, good boat, and helo NVG. The boats went OTH and the helo took off after them, found the bad boat and waited until the good boat showed up to take custody.

The helo returned, did four touch and go’s, launched from the ship a fifth time to run an esthetically pleasing exercise off the port quarter, and finished the drill. It’s an impressive asset, I can see why we’ve got them and why the seizures of cocaine by the Coast Guard continue to be huge. See your local daily newspaper.

SN Caleb Critchfield

The boats returned and we picked up the starboard boat on our present course, did a little two-step to windward to give the port boat a lee (courtesy of the XO, Chief Guilmartin, and I think SN Samantha Crane was still at the helm), and picked them up next.

Everybody’s home, folks, safe and sound, all systems in the green and just need some action in the next week to reap the benefits.

First photo is SN Caleb Critchfield on the starboard wing of the bridge. Caleb’s a reader and he’s dying to talk about The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, a book I recommended to these guys specifically because of their mission. Chief Rick Whitney (whom I know from the Alex Haley) is arranging a time for our first underway book club to discuss it.

ET1 Damion Zura

Second photo is of California boy IT1 Damion Zura, and the fact that he is on board in his present capacity is a story in itself. Ten years ago his position didn’t exist. Now the Munro has two ITs on board to service email, internet, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff I can’t talk about. They call it the “E Coast Guard,” and the Captain says we are still finding our way ahead. Connectivity on board ship is limited by the existing technology which limits bandwidth. According to the Captain, “email from home seems more important to the crew (and their families) then the receipe for coffee and fresh baked bread.” The XO says “almost” more important, and if you saw his coffee mug you’d understand.

The “E Coast Guard” is how I found the Alex Haley, through the Kodiak CG station website, and went on my first patrol, which led to this one. Their online presence is amazing. Check out some of the links I’ve been putting in the blogs.

Click here to order a copy.


Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

11 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Dear Dana,
    I am LT jg Holderman (John)’s mom – and happy to have you on board. I now finally understand the routine of being at sea – you are, for sure, a much better writer than he is and have created a great visual for me of life on the Munro.
    Thank you for providing a ‘window into the world of a coastie at sea’ – I am indebted!

    marj Holderman

  2. Dana,

    I am MCPO Jeff Lang, stationed at Sector Seattle, and my daughter, ET3 Dea Lang is onboard the Munro with you. She told me that she has talked with you and enjoyed it very much. She has always enjoyed reading and asked me to check out this webiste. Thank you for being onboard.

  3. It is my privilege to be on board, Jeff. I see Dea everywhere, she’s working with the ETs on the bridge and she’s getting some instruction in hand to hand on the fantail. Last week when we went to check out the fishing boat (“busy day” post) and we’re charging ahead on turbine she said, “I love this stuff!” And I said, “Me, too!”

  4. Hi Dana!
    Your blog and these great pictures are fabulous. Thanks for keeping us ‘in touch’ with all the Coast Guard does. It’s amazing.

    Oh, and by the way….



  5. Our son Mark Haines (Helo) got us connected to your sight. Your writings are insightful and very much appreciated. Tis an excellent way for family to better understand the activities and responsibilities of our soldiers. Keep up the good work and “Happy Birthday”.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Happy Birthday, Dana. I hear they make a big deal about it on board. Just imagine people pay big bucks to be out at sea on their birthday.
    Good to know the drills are going well.

    Judi Hernandez

  7. oh, no! you mean engineers didn’t get to enjoy the pizza or steel beach?! sigh Well, I guess the Munro has to get to it’s destination somehow. Keep up the good work, Engineering dept!! Hopefully,You’ll get some glory when “HE” arrives at port! Dana, hope you have an awesome birthday! Maybe the engineers can have some B-day cake?, or cold pizza? My son loves cold pizza!

    Best Wishes-
    Lou :]

    P.S. I’ve throughly enjoyed staying connected. Thanks!

  8. Thank you, for this blog the infomation is so much more than we have recieved before.
    Not that Caleb doesn’t write.
    You explain the whole picture.
    Thanks for the pic of my son.
    Are you going to become a shellback before you have to leave?


  9. Dana has every intention of becoming a shell back. While we are willing to answer her questions for her book research, the whole line crossing, time-honored traditional ceremony planning is off limits to the literary pollywog.


  10. Hi Dana,

    I found your blog while trying to find an old friend of mine – Damion Zura.

    Please tell him I said hello!
    Many thanks,
    Lora Tuley Brys

  11. I’m not on board anymore, Lora, and I don’t know if Damion has rotated to his next duty station. I’m sure if you contact Munro that they will tell you. And tell him I said hi!

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