A Succession of Thoughts Before the Waves

“For Good”
May 15, 2006  Monday

My last night before leaving.  It’s also a duty night, so I am on the ship for good, not to touch American land until November.  Not that it matters at this late point.  If it is not packed away by now it isn’t coming with me, but there is nothing I can think of that I am missing.  The most important thing tonight is to call home and friends, and give them a farewell.  Mom and Dad I’ve talked to regularly the last few days, more than I usually do, and they’re saying all of the “good luck” “be safe” you would expect.

“Heaved Off”
May 16, 2006  Tuesday

A really bad joke to tell ten minutes after leaving for a six-month cruise: “Man, will this deployment ever end?”

Yeah, it was hard. I’m sure from the captain on down no one wanted to be leaving this morning. A small group of families saw us off from behind the fences, and it was forever until we actually heaved off. So they just stood there, mothers telling their sons and daughters to keep waving to Daddy. Daddy leaned over to me and pleaded that we shold just leave already.

“Support”
May 17, 2006  Wednesday

Of all the things to be told on my second day out to sea.  Chief Waverley told me, very seriously, with unblinking, ice blue eyes– and he is always deadly serious– that he could not “support” having me leave in December, and cannot approve my chit.  This made me instantly mad, a slap after all the hard work we’ve put in.  Obviously the people here have been marching in a straight line for so long that one can’t imagine a leftward or rightward turn of the heel.  It’s all so conveniently official: “Well, the chain of command said…”  I hate it.  Well piss on me, as they say around here, they’re about to see Will Carlson roll up his sleeves and get out by 2007.

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