This weekend I have the honor of re-uniting with shipmates off my 2nd boat. I have not uttered much about my US Navy adventure in this space, as I have been otherwise engrossed in life events. For those who do not know, I spent 6yrs as a squid (nautical term of endearment) err I mean sailor. I traveled half-way around the world before I was twenty-five, never made it past the equator. In truth, I had some reservations in attending, as my last year on the ship was not pleasurable. I suppose, I had overstayed my welcome and was longing to return to the real world. Nonetheless, it has been great to see folks that I have not spoken to in 20yrs. Some have not changed at all.
The term "plankowner" is derived from the word 'plank'.. Essentially, planks make up the ship decking. Since I was a member of the commissioning crew, we essentially entitled to a piece this decking :-) Thus the name plankowner seems appropriate. The "original" ship's company.
Tomorrow, I will take a tour of ye old ship. It will feel strange, as I used to live aboard a the powerplant. Slept in some of the weirdest places in the engine room and auxiliary spaces. A true "snipe" as they used to affectionately call the engineers.
My experience in the Navy was an enriching one, in that it provided me with a great desire to continue my education. In fact, I was able to save money for college using my Montgomery GI Bill and US Savings Bonds. Yes, Savings Bonds. Amazing is it not?
Both the GI Bill and Savings Bonds were exhausted within the first 2yrs of my undergraduate education. Basically the monies were used for an apartment and tuition.
At some point it will be worthwhile to characterize my experiences on the USS Stark (FFG-31) and USS Philippine Sea (CG-58). Very different commands and very different crews. Obviously, both ships will always have a place carved out in my memory banks.