Thursday, September 14, 2006

2,996 Project

For what it's worth, I spent my September 11th in meetings about a huge intenational training exercise called Neptune Warrior that my ship will be participating in this Fall. We're doing a Group Sail this weekend to get ready for that exercise, which was the big reason we came to Norfolk this week.

Anyway, since I was doing that - and, yes, enjoying some time off - I neglected to commemorate the vicitm assigned to me by the 2,996 Project:

Name: Lizie Martinez-Calderon
Age: 32
Killed at: World Trade Center
From city: New York
From state: N.Y.
Special Notes: Mrs. Martinez-Calderon was a secretary with the Aon company in Tower Two. Born in the Dominican Republic, she died two weeks before her 33rd birthday. She left behind her husband Marino and two children Naomi and Neftalí.

I originally signed up for this because I thought it was for people to memorialize people they knew or remember. I couldn't find the vicitms at the Pentagon or on Flight 93 on the website, and I can't load it now, but I wanted to also remember CAPT Gerald F. DeConto, a Commanding Officer of my previous ship, the USS Simpson (FFG 56) who was organizing the Navy's response to the WTC attack when the plane hit the Pentagon.

I was the Ordnance Officer on USS Simpson at the time, performing a maintence spotcheck in the Combat Information Center with FC2 Jackson, when the Combat Systems Officer (the day's Command Duty Officer) rushed into CIC and started printing messages. I asked him, "What's wrong, sir?" He said, "New York and Washington have just been attacked."

Work ceased for the most part, all personnel were recalled, the ship made preparations to get underway to support in any way necessary. I watched Fox News for nearly 24 hours straight and we didn't let anyone off the ship the for 48 hours, at which time we relaxed to two-sections, so people could see their families.

We didn't get underway to support Operation Noble Eagle, however; and I have itching to support the war more directly ever since.

Many of my shipmates were there while CAPT DeConto was the CO and remembered him fondly. We sent flowers to his wife and I met her and the rest of his family at the dedication of Memorial Hall at the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, RI.

So, back to the business of keeping the ship seaworthy and in prime operating condition. Hope you all have a nice weekend.



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