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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pearl Harbor

i spent a summer in pearl harbor in 1977. i was attending school on ford island while my boat was out punching holes in the ocean. yup, i got an "augment" assignment. of course, i'd reenlisted for this school 2 1/2 years earlier, but who's to bitch when you get a summer in hawaii. a summer that didn't require getting underway, incommunicado for 3 whole months!

i had pretty cush duty, being an E-5. i think i stood 5 duty days in 3 months. really tough to take. but one of the duty days i spent was on the Arizona Memorial. I rode the small boat out for morning colors, stood several watches on the memorial, and then stood evening colors, where i struck colors and folded the flag with another sailor.
i must have had my picture taken about 20000 times that day. i did look good. dress whites, dixie cup hat, and my submarine qualification dolphins worn proudly on my chest. that was one of the most emotional duty days i ever spent. i can't even begin to express the things that went through my mind as i stood there at parade rest. to have raised and lowered the flag on that memorial was one of the defining moments of my young military career. it really hammered home what it was i did for a living.
there were several ships still in the water, with only the arizona having a memorial built on top of it. as a matter of fact, my running mate mike and i found the plaque for the USS Utah buried under some brush. it's on the other side of ford island from the arizona memorial. we cut back the brush, and spent something like 14 hours cleaning, polishing, and varnishing the plaque, simply because it needed to be done. one of the things from that day that really stands out is that there was a description of the action that actually sank the ship, and penciled in (freshly too i might add) in a very shaky hand was graffiti stating that the japanese pilot's name was 'so and so'. we figured it was probably put there by either an old colleague, or a family member. we didn't polish it out, and it may still be there under a couple layers of varnish as far as i know.
when we pulled into pearl in '74, our skipper had the entire crew minus watchstanders lay topside and render honors as we passed the memorial coming in from westlock. we saw why we were out there in the big blue sea. we knew that we had to be ever vigilant to prevent that sort of attack from ever happening again. the skipper was pretty smart having us man topside. it cut the bitching about having to be out to sea by a factor of 10.


Blogger Alex Nunez said...

I love this, Bo. what a story.

12/7/05, 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post; interesting story.

S. Clark

12/8/05, 7:02 AM  
Blogger Alex Nunez said...

Hey Bo, Pajamas Media linked to you. Congratulations!

12/8/05, 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You see Bo, I did you a favor by making sure you didn't have any money in Pearl. If I had given you advance pay or sent your pay records (which back then could have gotten lost), you probably would have ended up drunk or something the night before your duty day at the Memorial.

Instead of standing tall and sharp, you could have had the Horse and Cow hangover look.

Merry Christmas!!!


12/10/05, 7:22 AM  
Blogger bothenook said...

ok hop. nice twist!

12/10/05, 8:09 AM  

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