I’m aboard Norfolk Naval Base for a friend’s retirement ceremony. I look out across the harbor and see, not the buildings, aircraft taxiways, ships, and Sailors in my field of view, but the aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships I sailed on. I served aboard several ships and aircraft squadrons in my twenty-seven year career, and right now I’m walking the flight decks, banging into knee-knockers, donning OBAs, rigging flight controls and directing maintenance. I’m working in Spain, Thailand, the Philippines, Sicily, Diego Garcia, southwest Asia, the Pacific, Atlantic, Med, Arctic, Indian, Persian seas and gulfs, and bumping into the thousands of men and women I served with. I see them all.
I’m proud of my service, and I’d serve again if my country called. Those were the most rewarding days of my life, and worth every 18 hour day, scraped knuckle, banged up knee, laugh, tear, handshake, and salute given and returned.
Fair winds and following seas, Sailor.