Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I would like to bring back an old post T.I.N.S

This one is from March of 2009, but I found some more photos today to go with it.

Besides, old sea stories are always worth repeating, right?

10 March 2009


Q: Do you know the difference between a "Fairy Tale" and a "Sea Story"?

A: 1. One begins, "Once upon a time..."

2. The other begins with, "This is a No Sh&**$#" or ..."And there I was."

Both may contain the same amount of fact and fiction.

I might offer, "How is this for a build up?"

To that you might reply in one voice, "GET ON WITH IT!"

Ok, the place was the Caribbean Sea. The Ship; Strike Trawler Deyo, DD-989.

We were on our second Counter Drug OPS mission for 1992, and we were having a rough time of it. Flight quarters at 0530, lift off at 0545, fly until 1245 (missing breakfast and lunch) Relaunch at 1300 and secure from flying at 1700.

Fish call at 1730, the Ship would slow to two knots and the crew given the opportunity to fish. Hence the affectionate nick-name "Strike Trawler" Deyo. A big fishing boat with 5 inch guns and missiles. And a hundred fishing poles.

Each week or so, we would pull into some fabulous island for food and fuel. Usually Gitmo and Roosey Roads, but sometimes someplace cool. Like Curacao. (Pronounced kur-a-sow)

We pulled into Willemsted, moved up the river just past the swinging bridge, docked at the highway crossing.

By the bridge

As we entered, I spied a hundred foot Ketch, docked by the down town. It's still there, I saw it a year or two back.

Anyway, my buddy Lee and I went out on our normal reconnaisance for cheap beer and family style entertainment.

We approached the Ketch and hailed the American Captain, who was kind enough to invite us aboard and offered us beer. Of course, the Captain was hoping to get us to sign up for the day trip, $45.00 and two Planter's Punches with lunch thrown in.

The Captain of the Charter Vessel

After my third free Polar Beer, I noticed that business was a little slow. Especially since the Captain admitted that only six tourists were signed up for the next day.

I made like I was the world class sailor, and talked mucho grande about how I could get a number of genuine Sailors and return for a gran tour of the island, maybe at the reduced price of $25.00 per? With all the beer we could drink???


So Lee and myself continued drinking the free Polars, and concocted a plan of plans. We stumbled back to the Deyo around 2200 (Ten PM for you Land Lubbers).

Up and down the length of the ship we did traverse, but only 15 or so takers for this non-ship approved trip. None of the Airdales would have it, either,


(I mean that in the French way, Un homme, meaning Man.)

Next day, me and sixteen Men from Deyo sauntered up to the Sailing Ship. The six civilians watched nervously as we filed aboard, we hoped we looked like Piratical Desperadoes, as the Maidens were trying to press themselves out of view.

As I was the leader of this motley crew, I offered our assistance in getting underway and in the handling of the vessel at sea. Seaman La Mattina, of Deck Division took his place at the helm. Myself and the rest strategically placed our selves by the halyards to heave and pull the sails into place. We were underway by 1130, the trades-breeze was gentle from the East and the main brace was spliced.


I had never felt so good to be a Sailor..

Me in front of green shorts, yelling for every man to "heave and pull with a will!"

My friend Lee Bonawitz, heaving on a Main Halyard;

We were like Rock Stars for a day onboard that small ship. I think the six civilians began to warm up to us when they could see how competent the Destroyer Men were, on an old sailing vessel. We began sailing to the Northeast, looking for the cove that the vessel's owner lived.

Three meat barbeque.

And all the beer.

And we continued heaving and pulling. The paid crew just got out of our way and took a break.

You can kinda see the civilians hiding out in the upper right corner, by the helm.
I think they were getting a kick out of us taking the ship over.

I have more pictures, just have to find and upload.

We pulled into a little bay, and we swam ashore for the barbeque. A little snorkeling and frolicking, and back to the City Dock. We arrived around 2200. Tired and shagged out from the best day at sea, ever.

UPDATE July 2011

Me heaving a halyard

Cheesy pic 1 Deyo Sailors Sailing

Close up cheese

The Guy in red went to OCS later that year. No idea what his name was.
Owner of the Boat invited us to lunch, since no dinghy, we had to swim in for our free grub.

Aaargh; Ye must swim for lunch!  Aaarggh!

It's not too far...
From the pointy end of the boat

Heading back to Willemstad
Enjoying a sunset at sea with a Polar Beer Buzz

Mission Complete. What a great day on the water in the Spanish Main.

Next morning; we are revivifying and recovering from our hangovers. Seaman La Mattina is in the pink shirt.

We pulled into a little bay, and we swam ashore for the barbeque. A little snorkeling and frolicking, and back to the City Dock. We arrived around 2200. Tired and shagged out from the best day at sea, ever.

The ship was completely out of beer and rum. We all went back to Deyo with real sea stories, and had terrific hangovers for the morning.

For 25 bucks a person.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Patriot Point and tourism in South Carolina

We departed the hotel and headed in a Northerly direction looking to find our way to Patriot Point and maybe a Fort Sumter Tour. With the top down, of course.

Got over the bridge and pulled into a  Visitor Center and waited our turn to ask the pertinent questions like where, how, how much, etc. After waiting 15 minutes for the family in front of us, we decided to wing it on our own.

Headed down the road about a quarter mile and we came up to the USS Yorktown/USS Clamagore Exhibit.

Active Duty in uniform get in free. Us retiree's get the two dollar discount and as you can see below; Recognition. Military
Woo-hoo! I'm almost somebody!

Really nicely done Museum. We had a nice time. Spousal Unit was feeling her ankles, so I went aboard the Submarine alone. I have a few photos to upload in a bit.

Cruising around the Yorktown was like any other Carrier, except not as crowded. I recommend anyone on the West Coast visit the USS Hornet, which is permanently moored at the Carrier Pier at the former Naval Air Station Alameda (My old base!). There is cooler weather and it's in Alameda.

Not that Charleston is so bad, quite the opposite; Charleston is nice.

Anyhoo, we traipsed around the hangar deck and admired the A-1 Spad, Hellcat, Corsair and more than a few other historic aircraft that are in wonderful condition. We did hike up the ladder to the Flight Deck and wandered around the modern aircraft; Phantom (Done in Marine colors on one side Navy on the other), SH-3 Sea King (An old airframe I spent five years working/flying in), S-2 "Stoof with the Roof" early AWACS, F-14 Tomcat (in work paint job), S-3 Viking, EA-3 Skywarrior, F-18 Hornet and maybe something I'm not remembering. I do have photo's coming up when I get home...

Another of the attractions was a flight simulator that charged about  $5.00. I didn't bother, let the chirren have their fun.

She Who Will Be Obeyed was having some ankle issues, so we cut the visit a bit short. We wandered off the ship and I wandered aboard the USS Clamagore (Old Diesel Boat built in 1945). I think the Sub was a real treat, it was pretty much left in the same condition as when it was decommissioned in 1975. There were some ships binders which still had the dates done up with "FY 1973 OPTAR" "FY-1975 Personal Gained/Lost/TAD" and so forth.

There was a moment in the galley, I was letting some youngsters get past me when an older Dude, wearing a USMC hat asked me, "Could you ever serve on this?"

"Nope. Too small." I replied. "I was on Tin Cans..." "The Submarine Sailors of WWII lost over 25% of their personnel, gotta hand it to them for being able to live and fight in such tight, nasty conditions."

That was the end of our discussion. Amazing stuff. The width of the boat at it's widest (inside) is about 16 feet.

Barco Sin Vela is 13 feet wide.

After leaving the Submarine, we wandered back to the HAL-3 and Vietnam Navy experience. While walking to the grassy area, we were treated to the sight of one of the employees plowing head first with a golf cart into the Vietnam fence.

Walked around the con-ex boxes and huts and came up to a beautifully preserved HAL-3 Sea Wolves UH-1.

There was a plaque with the names of the KIA members of HAL-3. I told the Spouse about the many members of HAL-3 who remained in the Navy later on and that I flew and served with many of those folks between 1980 and 1988. Particularly, there was one fellow by the name of CDR Quick, whom I flew with during my WESTPAC cruise of 1983. CDR Quick would tell stories about Muc Wa and flying with the Sea Wolves in the Southern portion of South Vietnam. (I could mention more names but that would just be name dropping...) I will mention a notable enlisted fella; "Gunny Guthauser". That Dude had 72 air medals. We young enlisted Aircrew folks had mucho respect for Chief Guthauser.

Sorry for digressing onto my own weak memories...

Anyway, walking around the Vietnam exhibit in 100 degree heat with the sun beating on us kinda gave a bit of taste of what those good folks were going through (Minus the mortars and being shot at) for their 13 month tours.

We stopped over at the Ships store and bought a hat for the Spouse and went our way in peace.

The Roadster turned right on Highway 17 and we headed to where the road would take us. This time we were aimed at Sullivan's Island. The homes looked like high cost beach houses, we headed towards the water to see what was interesting.

We came up on a Historic sign; Apparently, Sullivan's Island was the main shipping receiving port for humans being dragged from Africa to their new homes on Plantations in the South.

Oh, that sort of port. Not a nice history, is it?

Well, we went over to the National Park Fort Moultrie. Paid our $5.00 and wandered into the fort. 

This was a nice place to be. It was one of the Forts that fired on Fort Sumter (About a mile away), it was $5.00 and we could wander without children being underfoot!

Fort Moultrie was active from the early 19th century through the end of World War II.

After tiring ourselves on the berms and walls of the Fort, we hopped back into the Roadster for the trip to the North Charleston Embassy Suites which was right next to the Performing Arts Center, where the concert was due to begin at 1930. We arrived and checked into our very nice Suite on the second floor, had some snackage in the courtyard and retired to relax in our nice room(s).


Our room at the Charleston Place

The Champagne we did not notice for five minutes

One of the nice folks in Charleston
A street heading out of the waterfront
View from end of City Pier note the covered area which hold swing benches

View of Yorktown from the Pier

Old Courthouse where Constitution was ratified for SC
I love history!

Customs House
Old Churches with Steeples are everywhere!
Fleet Landing has become a restaurant
Washington Statue in front of Civil War Obelisk
Beauregard's Tomb in Washington Park
Still a working harbor with foreign trade
Blind Tiger Pub
Walking towards the Yorktown Exhibit
Left side of the F-4 on starboard cat
I don't care for the "new" subdued paint schemes; I really love seeing the bright paint to let the potential enemy know who is doing the ass kicking around here.

A-4 in the colors of Vice Admiral Stockdale

One of the Big Names™ of Naval Aviation
S-3 Viking Tail "World Famous Screwbirds" of VS-33
Whale Tail from a VQ-2 EA-3

This is the trademarked Don that inspired VQ-2 from Sandeman Port.

Ol' A-7 Corsair II on the port cat
More my speed; SH-3 Sea King (I spent five years on and inside those old birds)
Some Active Duty Sailors from the local Nuke School marching away from the Yorktown, singing cadence songs.
USS Clamagore Forward Torpedo Room
Closeup of some of the bunks in the torpedo room
Captains bunk closet
Upper part of Skipper's Bunk
Chief's Bunkroom

Galley (Cooking Space)
The Head
Officers Mess (Wardroom)

The Crew Shower

Starboard FM-10 Diesel "Speedy Gonzalez"

Port side FM-10 "Roadrunner"

I tried parking away from everybody, but this happened more than once on this trip (Somebody with a similar make car would park next to us) Never could see the use in a black car in the hot South.

On Sullivan's Island

Pointed towards Fort Sumter

You can see Fort Sumter in the distance
That there is Sumter. We saved 30 bucks and time traveling by going to Moultrie, instead.

Yep, that's a Fort all rightee

Another view of Moultrie

We enjoyed the fact that we were practically alone!

Now we understand how they moved cannon about. Hernia; Hut!

View inside the Embassy Suites

We left for the Concert about a half hour before it started, our hotel was in front of the Performing Arts Center, about a 150 yard walk.

The Concert was better than I can describe! Elvis Costello is a Master Showman who worked really hard to make the audience be involved with the show. There was a twenty foot spinning wheel with songtitles, Elvis would invite a couple of people to spin the wheel; If they drew a joker, the Request Light would flash and the spinner could make a request for any song they liked.

After the song choice was made, the spinner would be invited to have a seat at the "Society Bar" and have a glass of wine while the Star sang the song choice.

Ah, not so fast... While the song would play, a Lady came out behind the stage who would ask the Fan's to step into a Go-Go Cage where they would have to look silly dancing to the song(s). In the case of one of the spinners, they were up there for a four song stretch.

Great fun! Here is a review of the concert.

There is another Concert Scheduled for Jacksonville in September. If we aren't traveling, we may go again.

Have a great weekend!