Earlier this week, Old NFO had a tale of woe about the trials and tribulations involved in his move from the (ptui!) DC area to some as yet undisclosed location in God’s Country. (Those of you unlucky enough to not live here might refer to it as Texas.) In that tale of woe, he mentioned that he had somehow misplaced his coffee pot.
That harmless statement, as it always seems to, set off a flood of commentary. One commenter went so far as to describe coffee as the “Lifeblood of the Navy”. Included in the comments were the Top Secret procedures for making that Lifeblood. (That should be good for an extra hit or two from the NSA.)
While most readers know that “back in the day”, I was in the Air Force as a Fighter Pilot, some may not have read these riveting posts on my first tour as a Joint Staff Officer.
One of the benefits of that job, other than, you know, being based at Camp Smith Hawaii, was spending time aboard the flagships of the USN’s 3rd Fleet and 7th Fleet, USS Coronado and USS Blue Ridge respectively.
|USS Coronado AGF-11 (decommissioned in 2006 and sunk in the Marianas during an exercise in 2012)|
|USS Blue Ridge LCC-19|
A small result of that time was getting to sample some of that “Lifeblood of the Navy”.
I also got to spend a good bit of time with 3 MEF on Okinawa. (I also spent time with I Corps at Ft Lewis WA, but that’s a different story). All these deployments involved exercises in which contingency planning was the objective. Coming up with an operations plan on short notice with a tight deadline necessitated some very long days. Long days meant Coffee.
I think I started drinking coffee in pilot training, but I was never more than a cup or two at a time person at that point. Strapped in to an ejection seat and pulling G’s is not a fun thing with a full bladder, and the restroom facilities are sadly lacking in fighters. (Never used a piddle pack! Not even on the Trans-Pacific drags.)
So….Where was I? Oh, yeah. Coffee and “Lifeblood of the Navy”.
So…There I was*
Camp Smedley Butler, Okinawa Japan. Deployed to 3 MEF for a Joint Task Force training exercise. The Joint Staff (in the Pentagon, believe me nothing good comes out of that building) has decided to test USCINCPAC’s ability to stand up a Joint Task Force, develop an Operations Plan and have forces ready to deployon very short notice. We get the Warning Order and, within 3 hours, my team is airborne on a C-141 bound for Okinawa. That's at least a 10 hour flight (more if it’s winter) and we couldn't afford to waste 10 hours of planning time. This was back in the early 90s before airborne WiFi was commonplace. We had a specially modified hatch panel that had a satellite antenna on it and so used that time to begin building the Plan, coordinating both with Camp Smith and Camp Butler. Very exciting stuff at the time. (Yeah, I know, it takes very little to get me excited nowadays.)
In any case (which, again, is Texan for “Anyhoo”), we arrive on Okinawa and continue to build the Operations Plan, sending drafts back through Camp Smith to the Pentagon. We’ve been at it for about 36 hours and it’s me, another Lt Col (USMC) and a USMC Warrant Officer.
My counterpart Lt Col referred to the Warrant Officer as “Gunner” with a high measure of respect in the tone of his voice. I elected to follow his lead.
We’re putting out the latest version of the Plan and it’s oh-dark-thirty. The Gunner comes in and says he’s going to turn in and asks if we need anything before he does. I ask him for a cup of coffee figuring he’d tell somebody to make a pot. He walks off and shortly thereafter brings back a couple of cups.
He’d made them himself.
I didn’t sleep for at least 12 more hours. (At which point, the Joint Staff called EndEx as they couldn’t keep up with us.)
Navy Coffee was good, but I thought it was kinda weak thereafter.
We’ve had a Keurig in the house for a while, and my brew of choice was always Jet Fuel for a couple of reasons, but the primary reason was it is as close to the Gunner’s coffee as packaged coffee could get. Lately however, even that seemed to be getting weak and disappointing.
On our recent vacation, in the B & B we rented in Sydney, the kitchen came with a DeLonghi Espresso machine. Now, I like Espresso, but I want my coffee in something other than shot glasses. This machine had a setting that allowed you to make the Espresso as large as you wanted. Suffice it to say, I was adequately caffeinated while in Sydney.
Coming back to the real world was tough, and the Keurig didn’t help. However there was a posting on Instapundit about DeLonghi Machines being offered on Amazon at a special price.
Santa brought me one for Christmas! Put whole coffee beans and water in the machine, push one button and Espresso comes out. Life is good!
Hope Everyone had a blessed Christmas and has a Happy New Year!