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HawkerHurricane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:06 PM
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For my last days...
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From "Reflections of a Blackshoe," written by VADM Harold Koenig, USN (Ret).

I like the navy

I like standing on the bridge at sunrise with salt spray in my face and
clean ocean winds whipping in form the four quarters of the globe - the ship
beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drive her through the

I like the sounds of the navy - the piercing trill of the boatswain's pipe,
the clang of the ship's bell on the quarterdeck, the harsh squawk of the
1MC, and the strong language of sailors at work.

I like navy ships - nervous, darting destroyers, plodding fleet auxiliaries,
sleek submarines, and steady, solid carriers.

I like the proud names of navy ships: Midway, Lexington, Saratoga, Coral Sea
- memorials of great battles won.

I like the lean, angular names of navy destroyers: Barney, Dahlgren,
Mullinix, and McCloy - mementos of heroes who went before us.

I like the tempo of a navy band blaring through the topside speakers as we
pull away from the oiler after refueling at sea.

I like liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port.

I even like all hands working parties as we fill our ship with the supplies
she needs to cut her ties to the land and carry out her mission anywhere on
the globe where there is water to float her.

I like sailors, from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest, small
towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains, and the prairies, from
all walks of life. I trust and depend on them as they trust and depend on
me - for professional competence, for comradeship, for courage. In a word,
they are "shipmates".

I like the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is passed: "Now
station the special sea and anchor detail, all hands to quarters for leaving

I like the infectious thrill of sighting home again, with the waving hands
of welcome from family and friends waiting pierside.

The work is hard and dangerous; the going is tough at times; the parting
from loved ones painful, but the companionship of robust navy laughter, the
"all for one and one for all' spirit of the sea is ever present.

I like the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work, as the
flying fish flit across the wave tops and sunset gives way to night.

I like the feel of the navy in the darkness - the masthead lights, red and
green navigation lights, and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence of
radar repeaters - they cut through the dusk and join the mirror of stars

I like drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad noises, large and small,
that tell me my ship is alive and well, and that my shipmates on watch will
keep me safe.

I like the sudden surge of electricity of "general quarters, general
quarters, all hands man your battle stations", followed by the hurried
clamor of running feet on ladders and the resounding thump of watertight
doors closing as the ship transforms herself in a few brief seconds from a
peaceful workplace to a weapon of war - ready for anything.

I like the sight of space-age equipment manned by youngsters clad in
dungarees and sound-powered phones that their grandfathers would still

I like the traditions of the navy and the men and women who made them.

I like the proud names of navy heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, John
Paul Jones.

A sailor can find much in the navy, comrades-in-arms, pride in self and
country, mastery of the seaman's trade.

An adolescent can find adulthood.

In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, they will still
remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods - the
impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm-tossed green water surging
over the bow. And there will a whiff of stack gas, a faint echo of engine
and rudder orders, a vision of the bright bunting of signal flags, snapping
at the yardarm, a refrain of hearty laughter in the wardroom and chiefs'
quarters and messdecks. Gone ashore for good, they will grow wistful about
their navy days, when the seas belonged to them and a new port of call was
ever over the horizon.

Remembering this, they will stand taller and say, "I was a sailor, once...I
was part of the navy, and the navy will always be part of me".
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