Hazard to Navigation

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

March 29

target practice

We came upon a floating refrigerator. (It seems to be a trend, as this is the second floating refrigerator of the patrol.) This naturally constitutes a hazard to navigation which must be removed. In this case we remove it with 9-mm handguns, shotguns and M-16s.

death of a refrigerator

Not an organization to neglect an opportunity, we deploy the LE (Law Enforcement) teams A and B to use it for target practice, first from the fantail and then from one of the small boats. ENS Chris McGhee and LTJG Josh Dipietro demonstrate how even their holsters have safety devices that will avert most attempts by someone to grab their guns. “Even we have to get used to them,” Chris says, “it takes a little muscle memory.”

Boat Deck Captain PO Heath Smith

When the guys left to board the OTH on the main deck to continue Surface Tactical Procedures on our hazard to navigation, I went up to the boat deck and watched Boat Deck Captain PO Heath Smith and SA Mark Barry breaking in SA Paloma Orozco on the Welin-Lambie davit, the hoist that raises and lowers the boat. Paloma handles the boat deck radio communications with the conn and the controls on the davit with care and attention, and the boat is set down in the water with minimal fuss and off it goes. The davit is one of the cooler toys on board the Munro, that’s for sure. Paloma’s got good command voice, too, no mumbling going on there.

SA Paloma Orozco and SA Mark Barry

Yesterday afternoon there was trash call for E-3s and below and I went back to check it out. According to Maritime Pollution (MARPOL) regulations we have very specific rules set for when we can jettison what kind of trash where. See photo.

trash rules

So the lower ranks (as well as anyone whose services have been made available by circumstance, figure it out for yourself) go out on the fantail and sort through the various kinds of trash we produce and either heave it over the side (biodegradable) or pack it in burn bags for the incinerator (not biodegradable). “The most glamorous part of my job,” says SN Dennis Gordon. That, as EMO Jimmy Olson’s eight year old son Joshua would say, is sarcasm.

trash call

This afternoon I asked Weps if I could come down to the flight deck for flight ops, where we launched the helo, did a set of four touch and goes, a tiedown, another set of four touch and goes, and a hot refueling (fueling the helo while the blades are rotating, a cold refueling is when they are stationary). I hung out on the forward starboard side of the hangar (wearing all the right safety gear including the inflatable vest and cranial) with SA Thomas Pulte and SN Cory Barrios, who explained all the LSO’s hand signals. Turns out the LSO is none other than Chief Wes Guilmartin, who was LSO in a previous Coastie life and is requalifying on board the Munro.
About the photos – if you click on one of the photos, it takes you to a Flickr file, to which all the photos from my time on board will be uploaded. All the “underway on the Munro” photos are public, which means you can download any and all of the photos you wish, you can print them out, you can order copies, I think you can even have a calendar made out of them. Click around the Flickr site a little and you’ll find instructions. You can also leave comments if you’d like.

And, since we’re talking about photos, don’t forget, ENS Dan Schrader is posting a photo essay of our patrol at Fred’s Place, which will continue after I leave the ship.

Click here to order a copy.


Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hi Dana!

    Love your blog and the pictures. Hope you’re influencing my daughter to read more. My daughter is the wonderful SA Samantha Crane! Hope all are well and safe!

    LeiLona Crane

  2. A question for both Dana and Capt. Lloyd:

    Dana, how is this trip with the Munro different than with the crew of the Alex Haley?

    Capt. Lloyd, how is this trip with Dana different this time around, if at all?

    Enjoying the photos and blog. Our thanks and best wishes going out to you all!


  3. CathyO,

    She’s still Dana. Inquisitive, careful not to get in the way, and a good shipmate.

    The biggest difference is the bright red shining beacon that is her Alaskan skin in the EPAC sun. I gave her a ship’s ball cap but it doesn’t seem to do much good.

    Capt Lloyd

  4. It’s warmer. I went up to the bow at 2230 last night and just sat there for half an hour looking at the stars and the moon. The ocean was like a lake, barely a ripple against the hull. Glorious. You won’t be doing that in the middle of box ops in the Bering Sea in February, believe me.

    There are forty more people on board, which makes it quite a scramble to meet everybody.

    Security is much tighter and more serious, understandably so.

    Life on board the Munro is somehow more formal than on the Alex Haley, although after I write those words I remember the XO giving two of the junior officers a time out at dinner –they are a riotous bunch, but very amusing. There is a clearer separation of church and state, if you will, between the officers and the chiefs and the ratings. Which is not to say everyone’s afraid of the officers, because they aren’t, and the ship couldn’t function as well as it did if they were. (I think everyone actually is afraid of the chiefs, though.)

    I’m not that red! I’ve been slathering on the sunscreen, honest. I’d wear my cap all the time except everytime I do I hit my head on a ladder. It hurts.

    And if you thought I was blonde before, wait till you see me now, I’m practically a towhead, or about the same hair color as when I was ten.

  5. Which begs the question..
    When are we going to see a picture of you all pink, looking like a fully boiled lobster?

    (that was the loving compliment paid to me by my friends and family when I’d crisp myself each summer)

  6. Thanks to both Dana and Captain Lloyd for taking the time to answer my questions.

    Dana, maybe we need a photo of you and the engineers?

    Would love to see the new blonde locks you are sporting .

    Thanks again.


Leave a Reply