Sunday, October 08, 2006

Across the Pond

Finally done with a harrowing maintenance period in Mayport and off on the second half of deployment.

These Mayport deployments are interesting in that they follow the template for your average battle group deployment, what with a carrier and a mix of cruisers and destroyers. Mayport, Florida is the home of most of the Atlantic Fleet's frigates (I'm on one of them) and the deployments tend to have us going to South America, like I did for the first half, Counter-Narco Terrorism Interdiction in the Caribbean and the eastern Pacific and the occassional trip to the Mediterranean Sea or northern Europe.

In between most of these, we get to go back to Mayport (since it's so close to the SOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility) for about two weeks to get things fixed. Meanwhile, the sailors get to go home at night, work regular hours for the most part and get to see their families. I had great time with Red and Jack, I missed them both a lot and they've both changed so much. Red has lost a lot of her pregnancy weight and I was gone for three-quarters of Jack's entire life so far, so you can imagine how much he's changed in ten weeks. I got a whole bunch of equipment repaired all at once, which was pretty overwhelming, but I'm really happy about getting it done. It did put a bit of a damper on the homecoming.

Another six weeks to go, heading to the U.K. for Neptune Warrior, a massive training exercise for us and all our NATO friends. By all accounts, it is intense and a little crazy, but I think we're prepared. I'll blog about it as time allows. What I'm really looking forward to right now is a visit to Scotland, where my best friend Egon will meet up with me and I wll take leave, and England, where I'm sure I'll figure out some way to spend my time.

I was stateside long enough to get a glimpse of the sort of stupidity that's going on a month before election day. I don't feel particularly compelled to discuss any of it. Last weekend I visited my in-laws and got enough of that from my wife's uncle Moonbat. I like being able to focus on my work and not too distracted by every breathless report of scandal. I've got my absentee ballot clipped on the wall in front of me and all I have to do is research the judges and the referendums before I send it off.

On the way across the Atlantic, we and the other ships will be doing a few exercises to practice for Neptune Warrior and trying to avoid the weather. I've been watching how most of the named hurricanes and tropical storms have been swinging up through the middle of the Atlantic and how relieved everyone in Florida was... except I knew our track would take us right through the area they've been going through. The weather will be rough enough as it is in the North Atlantic in late fall (can you say 30 foot seas?) I rarely get seasick, but I've already got a patch on and intend to keep it on throughout. I can't afford to be taken out by seasickness when I've got so much work to do.

Lots of deployment yet to write about, stay tuned.

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