|USS TOWERS, DDG-9, heading out to sea from San Diego, Point Loma in the background. (Source)|
But seeing that ship's demise, and remembering my son's first active duty assignment, USS BRISCOE (DD-977), also expended as a target in 2005, (she was a ship I actually had the chance to visit) I got to thinking about the vastness of the sea and the many mysteries which lie below those endlessly rolling waves.
I have always loved being near the sea, for as long as I can remember. I can still almost smell the salt air and feel the ocean breeze when we would travel up to Maine for a weekend. My brothers and I were always bouncing with excitement (and clamoring to see who could see the ocean first) as we approached Portsmouth in New Hampshire. We were nearly bouncing off the interior of the car when we crossed into Maine at York. I have many fond memories of those times, looking out at the mighty Atlantic, wondering what was out there. Not over the ocean mind you, in the ocean.
I have flown over the Atlantic, which takes a while. I have flown over the Pacific as well, which takes an awfully long time. I flew over the Pacific a number of times while stationed in Japan and Korea. It always started with wow, the ocean looks interesting from this high up. After an hour or so it was no longer all that interesting, but it was mind boggling just how big it is. Miles and miles and miles of water.
The Atlantic I flew over a couple of times, out to Germany then back (with a sojourn of seven and a half years in between) and then out and back to Italy for vacation. A much shorter stay. While not as big as the Pacific, it's still kind of cool for about the first hour, then not so much. You can see very little detail from the altitude commercial airliners fly. I did see the wake of a ship once. I can't imagine having to search the surface of the sea for anything smaller than, let's say, Guam. Guam, though bigger than a ship, would still be easy to miss, depending on weather and if you were on course. Couple degrees off and you could miss it by miles.
Yes, the oceans are big and have always fascinated me. From time to time I will ask myself why I didn't join the Navy back in the day. Honestly, I really don't know.
I guess I just liked aircraft so much that I latched onto the Air Force and never looked back. Yes, I know that the Navy has aircraft, know it very well. Didn't really think of that back then. The Army recruiter was interested, the Air Force recruiter was interested, even the Marine recruiter said hello. The Navy recruiter never even came out of his office.
So for any Navy recruiters in the audience, I hope you pay better attention than that guy in Claremont, New Hampshire did back in the early 70s. You could have had me for a song. A song about the ocean of course. Probably this one...