November 30th, 2004



The Discovery Channel is showing the building process for destroyers up at Bath Iron Works. They've skipped from one hull where they're putting the ships together, to running Nitze into the drydock, to taking Chafee out on sea trials.

Technically, I like the drydock idea instead of sliding it down the ways. Having the sonar dome already in place when it launches saves mondo time later, and the hull can be painted all at once without being skinned on the ways. Emotionally, I prefer the old-fashioned method. It was quite the experience to help pound wedges under Decatur's hull to lift her off her supports so that she'd slide down at the Launching ceremony. But the heavy winds could have thrown her into the bridge before the tugs could take control, so they actually launched her on the next day. We couldn't stay until the second ceremony, but the pilot did a flyover of her sitting on the ways in the shipyard. There she sat, flags proudly flapping in the chill October breeze!
(I think it was October--I know it was damned cold at 4am!)

The Chafee shots had their ETs loading out their spaces. *Sniff.* Homesick! My brain filled in the smells as the camera followed a sailor down the passage.

And I think of how big Boxer is, and how not-sleek...but she's got helicopters and Harriers, and important things to do.

At heart, though, I'm a destroyer girl. Always will be.