No Reveille

[from the vaults, 2007]

March 31

When I was up in the bow last night I saw thunderheads developing off our stern, and this morning they paid off with thunder, lightning and rain. At 0730 they were mopping up the residue in the bridge. Ops (LT James Terrell) is standing the four to eight as OOD. Technically, the Ops Officer doesn’t have to stand watch, but since he’s in charge of the OOD break-in program, when the OODs come before the Captain on their board examinations to qualify he needs to know what’s been going on on the bridge. “But really,” he says, smiling, “it’s because I like it.” Given his responsibilities on board I don’t think he ever sleeps, and considering how often he’s up and down between the bridge and Combat (five flights), he has to be in better shape than the rest of us combined.

unrep locker

We don’t love drills. In fact, there are those among us who regard training officer LTJG Morgan Barbieri as nothing but trouble. One of my enduring memories of this patrol will be just before yesterday’s SCAT drill, when PO Stephen Garon clutched the bridge radar with both hands and prayed to the Coastie gods, “Please, give us a go fast red, please, a go fast red, please, right now.” They weren’t listening. No drills today but flight ops, and EMO won the gas guzzling guessing contest. Last night, LTJG Adrian Harris won for the third time.

the Support pizza gang

Passing down the starboard side of the ship this afternoon I run into SN Dominic Cortese and SA Aaron Guttierez, joined shortly by BM3 Jordan Wagstaff, who are waiting to take inventory of the unrep locker. Inside it looks like a small chandler’s store, lines and floats and a 60-pound tool box they have to hump up to the hangar deck when they put up the king staff, which they use when we do a replenishment of supplies by helo. Over time, Dominic says, “people move stuff around, you have to be sure you’ve got everything you need in the right place.” Just keeping track of all the equipment on this ship is a full-time, all-crew effort.

their happy customers

No reveille this morning, a real gift from command to crew, and pizza tonight, served by those lovely people in Support. Normally petty officers go to the head of the chow line, but tonight its shellbacks, people who have sailed across the equator, and PO Matthew Sayers stands at the entrance to the mess deck like an MP – “You! You’re a shellback, step up here to the head of the line!” While the pollywogs remain glumly lined up on the main deck corridor, afraid the galley will run out of pizza before they get their share. Every Saturday the mess cooks (with I hear some trepidation and probably even real heroism, as they have to clean up after) turn their galley over to a different department on board to make and serve the pizza. The crew really likes the turnaround. And the pizza.

PO Matthew Sayers

Several folks have asked what the crew does in their off time. I’m happy to report that a lot of them read, because that’s job security for me. There are also three mini-theatres on board and the ship has a library of hundreds of movies. Engineer Officer LT Todd Raybon is teaching a college level algebra class. Most everyone has an iPod, some have DVD players, and there is a four-computer internet café. I’ve also seen wrestling being painstakingly coached during steel beach, people playing cards on the mess deck, and of course, people are always studying to get qualified as a quartermaster or a bosun’s mate or an officer of the deck or a helo control officer. There are two gyms that are constantly in use (there is a serious culture of fitness in the CG, they have biannual weigh-ins and they’ll fire you if you’re overweight and don’t take it off). And, of course, there is fishing off the fantail, where this evening the XO scored the first sailfish of the patrol. It was taller than he is. I just want to know how it tastes.

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Dana View All →

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9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Dear Dana,
    Am going to miss you when you get off the Munro. Have thoroughly enjoyed your warm humanity that comes through in your presenting of the daily life, standards and values of the Coast Guard. From what my son, LTJG Eric golder, wrote, the crew will miss you also. He emailed that as they usually stick to their work areas (he’s in the engine room), your blog has become their daily newspaper.

    Your writing has opened up a window into the Coast Guard world, as well as providing reassurance and a way of contact with our loved ones. I have gained, through your words, a deeper knowledge and appreciation of and respect for the Coast Guard. The comments of Coastie family members have shown the commonality that we all share, regardless of our location or ever physically meeting.

    Again, thank you for the experience and all that you’ve done.

    Carol Golder

    PS: I love reading. You are definitely, to me, a new author to explore. Thanks.

  2. Dear Dana,
    I enjoyed your description of my son, Ops LT James Terrell today. You describe him well, he truly loves the CG.

    In El Paso, Texas; where we live and where he was brought up (desert, brush, sandstorms) we can only imagine how beautiful the vast ocean must look like, how it feels to have fresh, cool ocean air hit your face every day. Wow.

    Appreciate your daily writings on board more than you can ever know. We are so proud of our son and equally respectful of all serving the CG.

  3. This is to Carol and all the other Coastie families reading this blog. As a long time reading fan of Dana’s books, it’s been fun to read her accounts of life on board the Munro. My respect for the Coast Guard (which was already high) grows with every day’s account.
    My dad was in the Navy, so I know what it’s like to have a loved one far away for months at a time. Thank you to all of you currently making that sacrifice.
    Now that you’ve discovered Dana’s writing, I think you’ll really enjoy reading her books. Her last Coastie thriller was a best seller. I expect you’ll all help make the next one an even bigger seller, but don’t miss her Alaska mysteries also – they’re terrific!

    Deb McNeil

  4. As a retired Navy (Enlisted and Officer) this brings back memories. Sometimes I wish I was young again and had picked the USCG although I do not regret one day.

  5. Thanks Dana for another wonderful exciting trip in the deep waters of the Pacific. The account and photos are great. I am looking forward to another exciting book. I thank the Coasties for all they do to protect us each and everyday.

  6. Dana,
    I just want to thank you. I look so forward to your daily postings. My husband is MK1 Dan Bensley, and although I receive emails from him on a daily basis, which I also enjoy, he just doesn’t cover the day to day activity the way you do. Sorry Dan, she is much better at this then you are!!
    Thanks Again
    Deb Bensley

  7. Delia T,

    Having served with Jim at every assignment since he graduated from CGA, I breathed a sigh of relief when he received his orders to Munro. His job is exceptionally challenging (as he, Weps and and quite a few others will attest – sometimes I’m the biggest ‘challenge’). He consistently serves with professionalism and style.
    Thank you.

    Capt C. B. Lloyd

  8. Hi, Dana,

    I’m loving these daily insights to life at sea! Although the “Crossing the Line” entry made me immediately think of a “JAG” episode I’d seen recently. ;-D Life imitating art.

    The real reason I’m writing is because I just finished “A Fatal Thaw” last night and I wanted to commend you on the final few pages. Don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t read it (in case I’m NOT the last one ;-D), but it was just one of the most beautifully detailed scenes I’ve read in a long time. It was extremely powerful and I thank you.

    Back on topic, look forward to hearing more from the ship!


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