Tuesday, November 15


I saw Jarhead last night with Adrian at the Mann Theaters in Granada Hills. A lot of the stuff they did was reminiscent of my time in the service (the rigorous training & the tedious work). I served 4 years in the US Navy. I went to bootcamp during the Gulf War so by virtue of that I got a neat Wartime Medal (nice!). Jarhead is not your typical War movie, in fact it's not a war movie at all. Based on former Marine Anthony Swofford's best-selling 2003 book about his pre-Desert Storm experiences in Saudi Arabia and about his experiences fighting in Kuwait. They're actual accounts of his time there.

Well I wasn't a Scout/Sniper like Swofford, I was a Boatswains-mate. Never heard of Boatswains-mate before?

Boatswains mate

Boatswain \Boat"swain\, N. [Boat + swain.] 1. (Naut.) An officer who has charge of the boats, sails, rigging, colors, anchors, cables, cordage, etc., of a ship, and who also summons the crew, and performs other duties.

That about sums it all up (except the officer part). My favorite part of my job was being the Helmsman. A Helm as you might know is the steering device for a sea-going vessel. I flourished as a helmsman and was proud to be one. I was stationed in Italy on a Submarine Tender USS Simon Lake (decommissioned in 1999), a ship 644 feet in length displacing over 22,000 Tons. Yes she was a hefty one but easy to maneuver due to the relatively calm waters of the Mediterranean.

Anyhow, I would like to share (like Swofford) some of my fondest & favorite accounts during my time in the service.

  1. Being only 2 out of 70+ recruits in bootcamp to receive overseas orders (after only in my 4th month in America I was heading to Italy, yikes!)
  2. I arrive in Italy (with 3 other new guys) only to find out the USS Simon Lake was currently in Cartahegna, Spain (we flew to Barcelona 2 days later after spending 2 days at the beach staring at beautiful top-less Italian women.. good times!)
  3. Spending my first 2 months in the mess-hall washing dishes or flippin' burgers. This apparently is a Naval tradition (at least for non-commissioned officers)
  4. My first sea & anchor (going to sea). I became too sea-sick to enjoy it (or work). I barfed everything I ate. I swear them pills were placebo
  5. Dating white girls (yesss!)
  6. The experience of visiting counties such as Spain, Greece, France, Gibraltar (a British colony between Spain and Northern Africa) and not to mention all the major cities of Italy. Venice & Sicily were unforgetable.
  7. Watching dolphins and whales in the open sea (theres nothing like it)
  8. Seeing nothing but water for days on end
  9. USS Simon Lake was a submarine tender that supplied & maintained ICMB & Tomahawk missiles for Subs in the Med. The storage for these weapons of mass destruction were right below the mess halls. Periodically submarines needed a fresh load of ICBM's (like a pistol needing some oiling) which were craned right out of their hatches off the mess hall deck. Everyone had to wear radiation devices to measure exposure, all while eating lunch.
  10. Since it was a Submarine base no civilians were allowed near it. It was fun watching Marines in speed boats ladened with 50 caliber machine guns chase away civilian boats that got too close. They never actually shot anyone (darn)
  11. I was proud to serve this county... but how come I have to work on Veterans day? (lol)


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