[from the vaults, 2007]

May 1

On this patrol, it got so I knew who worked in Combat because I didn’t know who they were. I don’t have clearance for CIC, so I couldn’t go down there and watch them work and get to know them. It was really bothering me that they were so under-represented on the blog.

I asked their Chief, Luke Cutburth, if he could maybe take my camera to CIC and get some photos of them at work. Nope. But a not bad second best was to get them to pose as a group in front of the helo for a photo op. So here they are, those wonderful people who bring us go fasts and ghost fasts:

Back row: OS3 Chris Fajkos, OSC Luke Cutburth, OS3 Karl Griffin, OS3 Joel ROZA, OS2 James Griffiss, OS2 Joseph Castro
Front row: OS3 Georgina Pacheco, OS3 Kelly Randall, OS1 Erin Lopez

the crew in CIC

Turns out I do know some of them after all. Luke I know from dominoes and the Chiefs’ Mess. Karl I know from the Snoopy Team on the bridge. Joel I know from my writers’ workshop. Georgina I know from the horseback ride into the jungle. Erin I know because I helped her with a little project I hope to hear more about in the future. (The worst thing about leaving Munro in mid-patrol is I won’t know the end to a lot of the stories walking around this ship on two legs.)

Here is what the Chief says:

a sea boiling with dolphins

“CIC is the Combat Information Center.

“The Operations Specialists in my shop are the electronic eyes and ears and brains of our ship. The members of CIC are responsible for the safe navigation of the ship, communications to and from the ship, detection and correlation of all surface and air contacts, controlling and tracking our deployed helicopter, coordinating Search and Rescue operations, control point for Multiple unit operations, collection and dissemination of intelligence, and when the situation really deteriorates, we fight the ship.

spinner dolphins

“We are quite literally the nerve center of Munro. The word kind of travels like this: “If you need to know what is going on ask the OS.” Since many people do not know what we do and we work behind closed doors, the impression on the ship is that the OS’s do not do anything. Because most of our information is sensitive and we can’t talk about a lot of it, OS’s have been referred to as “Secret Squirrels” for many years.

“This is a nickname I don’t mind since it is a lot nicer than some nicknames you can end up with on a ship.”

more dolphins

Okay, that’s the Chief talking. Here’s Luke, talking about what he calls his family underway.

“OS1 Lopez is my right hand WOMAN without whom my shop would not run and definitely would not smile enough. She is also a promising triathlete who keeps us all a lot healthier.
OS2 Castro is our quiet, smart level headed handyman go to guy, though when you hear that we call him “Sleeping Bear” you would not believe that he has a 350z that will almost do 200mph and is street legal.
OS2 Griffiss is the old salt in the shop having been onboard Munro for the longest. He rides Harleys and keeps our young ones in line.
OS3 Roza is fast becoming a stable force in the shop, my wild young guy with a passion for everything Texas and anything sports.
OS3 Fajkos my resident gentleman. I have never met a more mature OS3 in all my 16 years. This guy has gone the extra mile over and over again for Munro, but he can be the first one to bring a smile to your face with one of his impressions when the days get long.
OS3 Kelly Randall, a resilient petty officer, is an amazing leader and teacher of our new people.
OS3 Roberts is an ex-boxer prior navy and a aspiring musician and good guy.
OS3 Pacheco is one of three new arrivals to the shop who has proven to be a can do over achiever like the rest of us.
OS3 Griffin, another newbie, the muscle bound family man who is willing to play the pushup game all day long because he has tree trunks for arms.
OS3 Martinez, our last newbie who is a laugh a minute when it is time to be listening to radios. He is most like a 10 year old at his birthday when he comes into the shop excited and ready to learn.

“I feel very fortunate to be a member of such a caring family and to call them my own is the greatest honor I have had in the Coast Guard. Without them I could not get my job done.”

dolphins us looking back

Okay. I feel like I know Combat a little better now.


I was up on the bridge this morning and the lookout spotted a mighty school of dolphins. The XO says they were spinner dolphins, found only in the tropics, known for their large pods and their acrobatics. The water was literally boiling with them. I didn’t know there were that many dolphins left in the world. Glorious. Enjoy the photos. I think they’ve already been emailed to the families of everyone on board, but you never know.

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Dana View All →

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4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Dear Dana,

    Am so sorry that you’re leaving the ship soon. Have learned much, as well as enjoyed the journey, even if only vicariously. It’s been a wonderful opportunity.

    Many thanks, Carol

  2. Thanks Dana for your wonderful account of what goes on, on the Munro it’s brought me closer to my duaghter’s world to far from home. Besides she never tells me what you have. LOL You also brought me back to reading a novel, a huge thing! Now to busy again to finish the other two I picked up. When the sun shines long enough in Ohio to hit the beach I’ll have some good reading. May your journey home be a safe one.

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