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More on Darwin

Before, I might have mentioned to some of you what a great group of folks
the radar shop was (Me: "Go ahead and stop, we'll finish this in the
morning." Them: "Chief, we want to work longer today and just get it
done." Me: "Sure!"), and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the
communications shop is full of equally great folks. While we were in port,
they spent the first evening and most of the next two days running 150 feet
of very rigid cable--think flexible copper tube stuffed with foam--through
seven bulkheads and three decks. Damned awesome job. Add to that the
countless problems they've fixed very quickly and very
professionally--they're great. The whole division is great.

I hope I don't fail them.

That's always my greatest worry--that I won't be the chief they need. But
I'm what they're stuck with, so I'll do my best.

~

I had shore patrol the last night there. Now, that's both a good and a bad
thing. Good, in that one gets off the ship and has a good walk around, good
in that liberty usually expires earlier when the ship is underway the next
morning. But bad in that some folks are always out to get as hammered as
they can before they turn into pumpkins, and bad in that there's a LOT of
walking.

So my feet really hurt when we got back. If not for those Superfeet inserts
in my shoes, I'd have really hurt. I went everywhere on shore patrol that I
went on liberty, but this time there weren't long periods of sitting
interspersed with the seven hours of walking.

But it also had high points. A group of Aussie Army made up a little song
for us in one of the bars about BOXER and Shore Patrol. ;o) Then I thanked
them and mentioned that I hadn't been serenaded on shore patrol since 1993,
when some guy in Hong Kong sang "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." I bet
you can guess what happened next. They sang pretty good, too, and we could
still hear them when we left the bar.

We finished up down at The Vic, a bar with very sturdy tables--good thing,
too, because people were dancing on them. Gathered up a few of our sailors
right before liberty expired and put them on the bus so that they wouldn't
be late--which was one of our functions out there, after all. Asked one
young fellow where his buddy was, and he wrapped himself around his
Australian chic and proclaimed that she was his buddy. ;o) We found his
buddy a few steps away and they were the last ones we hustled out of the
bar.

I stank of cigarette smoke so much when I got back that I stripped right at
the washing machine in the head (bathroom) and threw it all in. Ick. Got
my shower and crawled into bed, then debated getting dressed and going up to
my office for some tylenol out of my desk drawer, and then had my dilemma
resolved for me. Had to get up and make an official statement about
something I'd witnessed on my shore patrol, so after that I got my tylenol
and that helped my aching feet. By the time I got to sleep it was nearly
3am, and then up again at 6am for the workday. Unfortunately for some, I
had a low tolerance for what I perceived as idiocy all day.

Now it's Sunday, and it's time to play catch-up on the paperwork that's been
piling up.

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