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Goodbye Sun

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In 2003 when I was a members of the Gold Coast Australian/American.Association we hosted the crews of the USS Columbia and the USS Bonnhomme Richard in Australia they invited us on board both ships...an amazing memory

Dedicated to the Officers and crew of USS Columbia (SSN 771) Goodbye Sun We are welcomed by men in immaculate whites Through a hatch we descend a steep ladder into "The Last Slider" From a narrow corridor we enter into the brain and nerves of this vessel- To my untrained eye the confusion of cables overhead is bewildering This black ship of stealth tracks the world outside, silently invisible itself Rows of monitors, sonar devices high powered periscopes all with a myriad of buttons to push- A marvel of technology - yet men are the heart and soul of this great ship They are Submariners They say goodbye to the sun for months on end Week after harrowing week they spend day after day on grinding drills where the only thrill is their daily meals Systematic, methodical They are human- in a ship of war but a ship that exists for freedom The Officers guide us through each section The ship at rest has released them from an endless commitment but with a practiced eye they are still attuned to every detail Commanders almost prescient so in step with every procedure they can sense malfunction in their sleep I notice the commitment to excellence I note the pride behind the preparations for our inspection Blue curtains with the ships insignia are drawn on bunk beds Shiny copper engine parts, clean bright paint reflects the values of those who keep their vessel, ship-shape Now I stand in the nose where the weapons rest The metal tubes look benign for all the power they contain Ironically in rows, directly above, the crew's bunks are located- in tiers of three -even sleep is regimented Photos of family are the only human touch in this dark, black, whale of a vessel The sense of duty for each individual seems overwhelming There is a spirit of complete trust between them This is a world for honorable men "Victory is Silence" I try to imagine daily living the self-containment the steely discipline the choosing to go forward in the face of uncertainty Precision and man - morphing The pact between Submariners is absolute. They move as one.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2013




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Date: 5/19/2020 10:28:00 PM
A stirring write Suzanne, I worked with a submariner formerly of the French Navy at Disney World. He is an intelligent, kind and stalwart person.
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