Forgotten: the most valuable lesson of my life

mso-520It didn’t take long to forget the most valuable lesson of my life. Only about a year!

We were bouncing around the Atlantic along the coast near Charleston, SC. It was a bright sunny day and the minesweeping exercise that we were conducting was going well. At 23 years old, I had been appointed Chief Engineer of the USS Alacrity, a Navy minesweeper. I had little to do that day other than watch the deck hands deal with the wind, the currents and the equipment we used to detect and remotely detonate underwater mines.

The last major effort of the afternoon was to retrieve all the minesweeping equipment that trailed in our wake. And, that’s when it happened. A bearing supporting the 16-foot reel that retrieved the minesweeping cable blew out, leaving the crew to retrieve thousands of Continue reading “Forgotten: the most valuable lesson of my life”

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Thank you for saying thank you

911neverforgetIt’s pretty common for service men and women to be thanked for their service by passing strangers. Not so long ago, it wasn’t common.

I recall the first time it happened to me. I was grunting through my morning workout at the local Gold’s Gym. A young man – a big, muscle man – spotted my tee shirt with its Naval Academy crest and the word N A V Y in bold block letters.

“Prior service?” he asked. (It was clear from my graying temples that I was not currently Continue reading “Thank you for saying thank you”