DD(Dad’s Diary) 66

Yesterday was 14 years since the “terrorist acts” , so in the words of my Naval-Superiors “carry on” , so I’ll stick to a lighter note , just my experiences , and no editorial opinion ! Back to my deployment to Naples Italy , Touring some of Europe was great , But on my time off we toured many local sites. Rome was just a few hours away , so there was lots of history to see , The colosseum was massive , and must have been quite the spectacle many centuries ago. We used the High Speed Train to get around , and as an english speaker and reader , it was quite the adventure to get around , and asking for directions was a gamble for sure . Pompeii was a somber reminder of just how nature really has the last say. We were there to maintain the 1 H-3 helicopter ,it had many missions , as a Nato tool and the transport for the admiral there , he was in charge of all the  US Navy in the area , so when he went to sea on his command ship in the Mediterranean  every month or so , we saw lots of Europe. The H-3 is rather large and is usually towed around by tow tractors , so when  we were deployed , we moved it on the flight deck/hangar it was done by hand , so a task for sure.

More next time



DD(Dad’s Diary) 65

While I was stationed at HC-2 in Virginia ,  My second 9 month deployment was to Naples Italy , Our 1 H-3 was there as a support for the 6th fleet commander there (An executive transport for the Admiral there , and other various uses to support the USS’s in Europe and also part of the Nato force in Europe too) as the Bosnian conflict kept us rather busy , and our helicopter was replaced by a newer H-3 , which was quite a task for sure. The cargo area had to be converted for executive transport , but that mission was only made once in a while , so the VIP furnishings had to be portable(Fancy carpet , Seats , etc.). So my job as aviation electrician was much like my duties in Va. , but much different for sure. We were based at a local base , and we lived in hi rise overlooking the runway , so we were close to work , and had a front row view of the many military planes that landed for a rest at the tiny airport. The area was overshadowed by Vesuvius , that once showed Pompeii just how lethal it could be!  I Deployed there in cold weather for a few months , then spring showed me a much different Italy , The Command ship for the Admiral traveled the Adriatic Sea , and when he went aboard , we were deployed as a tool for him , so we visited many European ports , so as a tourist , the warmer weather was far better for us! And as warm blooded Floridian I especially appreciated spring!

The autostrada may be the home of road rage , but renting a fiat gave them another reason to hate me and other Americans, so plenty more next time…

DD(Dad’s Diary)62 A Fathers Day Edition

Just a Break from the regularly  scheduled  stuff ! I was more than Proud to be a dad for my 2 Kids , and no 1 event is better than any other , but my Mr. Mom title was the most memorable for me. When I was stationed at N.A.T.T.C.(Naval Air Technical Training Command) Millington  as an Instructor at The Basic Aviation-Electrical Maintenance , My Son Christopher came to live with me when he was 5 years Old. And being subject to Lots of Moving every 4 years , I Bought a single wide Trailer . And as an added benefit , when we moved to a new base we always had a familiar home! So getting used to a new town when we moved , we had 1 less thing to adjust to!

Mobile Home part 2 next time…

DD(Dad’s Diary) 61 Bahrain Part 3 , The Saga….

My second 9 month Deployment there , was a different place , as the Navy Built a new barracks for us , it was near the military ASU(Auxiliary Support Unit) , a compound for all the military in the area ,  It was full of mobile home like buildings for the Headquarters , and though I could Bike there in years past ,  I could get there quicker , not an all day affair like it once was. We were fed @ our living Quarters , so we rarely had to eat out , Maybe we are a bit spoiled? But food safety in foreign lands is always a gamble! This time I bought a bike , just like the locals , so I’m sure the american on 1 of their bicycles turned a few heads!? The bike was made in Pakistan , And was rather heavy , as it was made of steel , and it was quite a chore to lug it to and from my room. Luckily the elevators rarely broke down (Like years past!) so that helped. When i first deployed there , we were closer to the airport , and further away from ASU.

This post will definitely have a 61.2 , so more to come

DD(Dad’s Diary) 60 Bahrain 2

The Island in the Persian Gulf was a very busy port , as the Navy Ships use the area to get around the World from Indian Ocean and The Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean (Sort of , in a roundabout sort of way!?). So Living there was quite  a shock for any American , as their laws are much different from ours , to say the least! While I was assigned to HC-2 in Virginia , I was deployed there  twice for 6 months each time , and had a bicycle to get around. Great for sightseeing , but rather challenging on the Roads! We think we have crazy drivers? They surely have us beat on that one! Most roads use lots of Roundabouts , as they do in Europe , but they keep the traffic flowing , but are based on you trusting the other drivers. Is the car in the far lane going to get off on the next road , as he should? There are many lanes , and you have to know how it works. When I first was Deployed there our barracks were in town , and the hi-rise was on a corner overlooking a traffic circle  , so we had a front row seat to watch the mishaps. The Middle East has always been a dangerous place for Americans , we were always forbid to display any sort of American Markings on our clothes. So when we went to work at the airport , we all wore civilian clothes , and changed into our Military Clothes just at work. We had camouflage Pants and Either a Tan Or Desert Green T shirt , we also had a Blouse for when we were going to an official Base , But since the desert climate is rather dry and hot , we worked on the  Black Top Tarmac at the Civilian Airport ,  and the Hot Jet Blast only added to the heat! The 4 H3 Helicopters were there to support the Admiral There , but also brought mail and cargo to The Navy Ships Passing through the Gulf.

More to come…

DD(Dad’s Diary) 59

This post is all about the Tiny Island  of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf , Just Off shore from Saudi-Arabia  , the Navy 5th Fleet Headquarters is based there , so as the USS’s pass through the area they get mail and supplies brought to  them , as I first saw on the Merrill(DD 976) and Lockwood(FF1064). Many years later when I was based at HC-2 in Virginia ,( I deployed there twice ,for 9 months each time) as The 4 UH-3s There are based at the airport and bring mail and supplies to the Ships passing through the Gulf. And since the Navy Admiral There is in charge of Military in the region , he used the Desert Ducks as a VIP transport occasionally. Our Barracks there used to be in the middle of town , But now the Compound is much more fortified! Some of the folks there are not too fond of the USA , so the vans to take us to and from the airport , are parked far away from the Building , no vehicles are allowed to get near the Building , as the Marines and sand bags keep it protected…

More next time

DD(Dad’s Diary)58

This blog is a reflection on one of the most interesting Deployments , was On The USS-Merrill(DD 976) , we sailed on the Pacific Ocean , which had many neat Asian Ports , but in order the circle the globe , we used the Persian Gulf , we were in the area in 1988 when the USA had enough of the terrorist using abandoned oil platforms as a base from which they attacked passing ships , more importantly petroleum tankers carrying gas through the area. So The USA lead “Operation Praying Mantis” was used to crush that threat. Many American Forces , and Foreign Allies launched an attack. And an Iranian-Gunboat fired on one of the US Navy Ships , which was not a real good idea , as The Gun Boat was unable to go any more harm! The entire Group of Ships were awarded the Combat Action Ribbon , and many other awards that I’ll cover in future blogs. Our helicopter had no role , so it was stowed in the Hangar. We were kept down below until it was all over. So there was nothing to see here , and besides being on the deck during the Operation would have been dangerous

DD(Dad’s Diary) 57

a continuation of my last blog…The 2 ShipsI deployed on in the Western-Pacific each had their own DeSalination Plant , to make fresh water from the salty sea water, so I have to wonder why the states don’t do the same? But that is just an aside! So when the system on the Ship was down or inoperative we had to conserve or do without! The only convenient time was in rough-seas in a storm. Fortunately storms were rare , but when mother nature  stirred up the ocean , we didn’t fly (as the flight deck was a bit unstable) and the salt spray was more severe than usual , so we kept it tied down in the hangar . But when the helicopter was in the hangar , the rotor blades were folded for storage , so none of the flight controls could be operated , as any control stick or pedal had a direct connection to the rotors and tail. And any change in the flaps on the blades  was very dangerous to the blades. So when it was stowed in the hangar , The control sticks and pedals were locked to prevent use or damage. More next time…

DD(Dad’s Diary) 56

This just a continuation of my last post , Duty at HSL-35 on the H-2 helicopter was an adventure for sure. I deployed for 9 months each time. First on a destroyer , then on a frigate. The H-2 was housed on a small flight-pad on the back of the ship. The salt-spray from the ocean was very corrosive by itself , but the rotor wash stirred it up even more. So we kept a coating of an oil-based spray to coat the aircraft and components (had to be good enough when we had no water!). We rinsed it off after flight , but the ship made their own water , so when we had to conserve when the system was down , and we also stored in a tiny hangar to shelter it from the elements. Not to get overly technical , the salt water acts as a good conductor of electricity , and speeds up the damage that rust can cause , and when the seas were calm ( as they are most days) we left it out on the flight deck , and when it stormed we housed it in the hangar.
This is sure to be more than 1 part , so more to come…

DD(Dad’s Diary) 54

Stop me if you heard this before , No wait , you did! After Duty @ HSL-31 in San Diego , I learned my trade on the H-2 Helicopter , I got orders to go next door to HSL-35 . They have the same helicopters , but it is a sea going squadron(they deploy ) . We were assigned 1 H2 and worked out of a small cage in the hangar. So when we went to sea we were all very familiar with the helicopter , pilots , and technicians , as we maintained our 1 helicopter. My first western pacific deployment was an adventure for sure. We were based on the USS-Merrill(DD 976) , as an anti-submarine hunter for the ship , and  (even though other ships and carrier in the group had the same capabilities )  , we could sail closer to land in shallower water , so we were used to keep the seas clear for the other ships . And the Merrill could visit smaller foreign ports , so unlike the larger ships in our group , we pulled into many ports. Sailing the Western Pacific Ocean was an adventure for sure!  none  of the many foreign ports were better than the others(all were great!)but being a sailor from Bradenton, Fl made them all seem  bigger and more unique! Lots of thunder here , so ma’ nature may want me to wrap this up? So in a few days I’ll continue this topic!