Sunday, May 3, 2015

Out and About*

Melville Marina, Portsmouth, RI - from Burma Road (Google Maps)
While enjoying my Friday off, surfing the net, drinking coffee, chatting with the house felines, The Missus Herself mentioned, in passing, the dire necessity of obtaining a new ID card. Her's was about to expire.

I didn't even know it was sick.


It was off to Naval Station Newport to procure for the love of my life her entrée into those facilities upon a military base from whence we might purchase sustenance at a price sometimes lower than "on the economy". Sometimes not. The meat though, is generally less dear than at a civilian facility.

As it was Friday, I surmised that the good people who do those sorts of things might want to leave early. I mean it's Friday, right? Then again, it is a naval base, I'm sure they keep regular hours, regardless of what day it is.

So we hopped into my vehicle and off we went.

We arrived and expected to wait in line for hours / days / months. But in actuality it took only a few minutes for our names to be called.

(I did note that the Naval Service is now apparently commissioning young children, there is no way those two shiny new ensigns could be much over 15 years of age. Then again, I am older than most admirals these days...)

While there, the nice lady behind the counter mentioned that I might wish to get a new ID myself. Mine still had my Social Security Account Number (SSAN) printed thereupon and the Department of Defense had issued an edict at some point in the near past, that henceforth and forthwith no military IDs would display one's SSAN.

As I was there and all, I figured "Why not?" (I had also heard a horror story from one of my readers, another retired military fellow, that once upon a time he had had his ID card confiscated upon entering an Air Force base because it still had the SSAN on it. The security types in my old service have ever been anally-retentive.)

Now there is a common rule of thumb regarding any form of picture ID issued by any agency anywhere. The picture is always unflattering. To say the least.

The lady behind the counter joked that most ID photos look like you just got out of prison.

The Missus Herself had her picture taken first, it came out "okay," it wasn't something I'd frame and put on my desk but it wasn't hideous either. She looked as if she'd spent time in a minimum security place. You know the jails with golf courses and such where white collar criminals pay their debt to society.

Then my turn came.

Yup, prison picture.

Even worse, I looked like I had just been released from a Soviet labor camp. Seriously, my photo would scare a Russian mobster.

Now I've never flattered myself to think I'm "handsome," I generally settle for, "Hey, look at that guy, he's not hideously deformed or anything." Occasionally I have been assessed as "cute."

Not in that photo. No way.

But on the way back from the base, driving down Burma Road which passes along the western shore of "The Island," I saw something at the marina (see first photo) which piqued my interest and will be the subject of a future blog post.

A three masted sailing ship, tied up at the pier.


The masts of the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry in the background.

She's named after this fellow...

Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, United States Navy

I learned that from a chap who works at the boatyard where the ship was finished and where she now lies tied up awaiting her move to her permanent berth at Fort Adams in Newport. You can read that story here.

I had no idea that Commodore Perry was a native Rhode Islander and that he is now buried in Newport.

Learn something new everyday I do.

I must get down there and pay my respects. I've been on one frigate in the class which bears his name, and am connected to another. The connection is to USS CURTS (FFG-38) and I've been on board the USS TAYLOR (FFG-50). The WSO did her 2nd-Class cruise on the former, out Sandy Eggo way, and her college roommate's first assignment was to the latter. I had the opportunity to see TAYLOR when she was in Little Rhody a few years ago for the Fourth of July.

Got the A-Tour because we knew one of the crew.

CURTS has been decommissioned and is awaiting foreign sale, TAYLOR is to be decommissioned this very month.


US Navy Photo by PH1 Terry Cosgrove

US Navy Photo by MC2 Marcus L. Stanley

Don't get me started with LCS...

* That would be "Oot and Aboot" in Canada. Eh?


  1. Haven't pulled my ID Card out in years, so I'm sure it's the old version. I'm sure that will come to haunt me, but then again, I've never seen anything from anyone any more official than Sarge and Old NFO (not that they're not reliable purveyors of good gouge) saying replacement is required. It's a PITB for alcon to drive to Randolph or Lackland and get it replaced. Not seeing the need at this point.

    1. One of my criteria for choosing a job was being near a base.

      There's an AFB not far away but I've never been there. Last AFB I set foot on was Spangdahlem. A long, long time ago.

  2. Purposeful looking ships they are...

    1. I like 'em. Too bad the Navy hierarchy doesn't seem to.

  3. I remember when they sold horse meat at the commissary. Also remember being late for a BYOM cookout one day and thinking "I'll just nip into the commissary and grab a steak." Youthful optimism, SMH. It's a wonder I survived to drinking age. And the parking lot! You had to g-warm and bring your A game. Those DW's took no prisoners!

    That's very cool on Perry and the Perrys. Always loved seeing the smallboys out there and spent a lot of time formating (kinda) on them in starboard delta. HIFR from a Perry was always a treat, hook ops too. Great ships.

    1. I seem to remember a time period when they talked about selling horse meat.

      Never saw it on an AFB. I'd have to be pretty hungry to eat a horse, they're damn fine animals.

      I plan on getting down to Fort Adams one of these days. Of course, the ship will be open to the public. Next week, when I'm in DC.

      Oh well...

    2. I also never saw it on an AFB. Now, what I may have eaten at various places overseas, no bets there. Got to where I could ride a horse, but never very comfortably so.

    3. Overseas I learned not to ask.

      I was comfortable on horseback a long time ago. Can't say if the horse was comfortable having me up there.

    4. Got two of them you're welcome to try your luck on.

    5. I was a much younger man in those days.

      Then again, weren't we all?

  4. Baton Rouge has a WW II Fletcher-Class Destroyer (USS KIDD, DD-661) that is in FIRST RATE condition (I think it was judged best preserved of all the nation's ship displays at one time iirc) Named for Rear Adm Issac Kidd who was KIA on bridge of his flag-ship the Arizona) KIDD also took two kamikazi hits, btw) A great tour and nice dock-side museum at downtown waterfront.

    1. Yet another reason to get back down to Louisiana one of these days.

      I drove through Baton Rouge a couple of times, never had reason to stop.

      Now I do!

    2. I make a annual visit to Baton Rouge for some first rate training. I've been trying to arrive early enough to visit the KIDD, but always seem to get caught up trying to cross the bridge. Going to make the trek again the first of August, hope I have better luck.

    3. Juvat - pictures.

      Just a hint...

    4. juvat/

      Going E. on I-10 you MUST hit the bridge approach at least by Lobdell off-ramp/truckstop BEFORE NOON or it will quickly back up to bumper-to-bumper, inch by inch traffic for 10 miles until AT LEAST 6PM--EVERY Weekday. Except if you really are transiting on 1 Aug (a Sat) you should be alright..

      Its the most amazing thing you'll ever see. Clear Sailing early AM, but if you're 10 min behind the magic hour suddenly it becomes stacked up for miles as if by magic. I think it has something to do with the heavy afternoon Eastbound truck traffic bunching up on the eastern side of the bridge as it simultaneously negotiates a sharply rising curved access ramp which also narrows at the same time from two lanes to one as it merges with the southbound four lane 1-10/12 on the New Orleans bound lane.

  5. PS: KIDD has an original giant Caribbean-type pirate painted on its stack--"Captain Kidd" Get it? LOL. (Of course such things would be verbotten today and the Captain who authorized it relieved of his command--if not courts-martialed)

    1. I checked Wikipedia, she seems to be up on a platform of some sort.

      Can't make out what's on her stack. But there is something there.

    2. She was in the water when I went thru her. Think they put it up on platform to prevent hull corrosion. When it was in the water one could see it as one crossed the bridge, but can't view it from there now..

  6. >that once upon a time he had had his ID card confiscated upon entering an Air Force base because it still had the SSAN on it.

    It's POSSIBLE (but purely speculation on my part) that the ID card was confiscated because it couldn't be scanned. When I make a pharmacy\exchange\commissary run over to our local AFB, the back of the ID card gets scanned every time I go through the gate. Perhaps that was part of the AF decision to no longer issue DoD stickers for POVs. But I had my SSN-emblazoned ID card until sometime last year, when the 17-year old lamination finally failed, and I had to make the trek to replace it.

    1. Now there's a revelation!

      When we went to get the new IDs, the sailor at the gate DID scan my ID, I'd never seen that before.

      So that is a completely plausible explanation. (I'm still not a big fan of SPs.)

  7. Years ago got a new driver license and was muttering about my picture. My now ex looked at it and remarked, "I don't know why you are complaining. It looks just like you". Maybe that is why she is my ex.

  8. The FIGs beat the LCS hands down... All I'm gonna say... :-)

    1. A rowboat with two guys with M-4s is more heavily armed than an LCS.

      So I'm told...


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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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