More model spaceships here.
And A Handful of Stars downloadable here.
[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]
Pam Dipietro is LTJG Josh Dipietro’s mom. Back in Scotia, New York, Pam teaches a SAIL class. “S.A.I.L. stands for Students Active In Learning,” she says. “It’s a program that our middle school set up to try and help the at risk students before they reach high school and become part of the drop out statistics. I’m their school “mom,” making sure they have what they need to be successful, including motivation, someone to go to bat for them with the teachers, and get their parents involved with their education. I have them for homeroom where I check to make sure their homework is done. During the day I have the kids for tutorial where I help them with their work.”
Josh put Pam’s students in touch with eight crew members on Munro to help with class projects. ENS Gary Kim, ENS Greg Vera, MK3 Derek White, OSC Chief Luke Cutburth, Chief Mickey Bettinger, ENS Dan Schrader and Chief Dale Brown stepped up, along with Josh himself.
She tells me my Munro blog has been useful to her students, too, which pleases me no end. So I wrote and asked for a picture. They sent me this one, and here, in their own words, they’ll tell you which ones they are and a little about themselves.
My name is Savannah. I’m in the back row,the second in from the left. I did my report on Greg Vera. (And he got me a 98 on my project!) I like to read a lot. I mostly read romance novels, and when I’m reading I like to listen to music.
I want to be an English teacher for the 8th grade, to help prepare them for the high school. If I change my mind about what grade I want to teach, I would want to teach the 5th grade.
Hi, my name is Nick. I’m in the back row, second on right (long hair). I will be doing my report on Michael Bettinger. I play bass guitar and I take lessons. I want to play bass for a living when I’m older. Korn and Metallica are my favorite bands and I hate Slipknot.
Hi, my name is Molly. I’m in the front, third from the left, and I will be doing my report on Josh.
I play volleyball, basketball, and I run track. When I’m not busy with sports I like to hang out with my friends or just chill. When I grow up I would like to be a pediatric nurse. I like kids. I work in a daycare with my mom sometimes.
Hi, my name is Kevin. I am sitting down on the bottom right. I did my report on Dan Schrader. I was the first to do my report and got 90%. I like to work on small motors and bikes. I would like to become a machanic. So far I have built a low rider bike and a chopper bike, and am working on a mini chopper with my dad. [And here is a photo of Kevin with his 90 percent project on Dan Schrader.]
Hi, my name is Dawn, and I am sitting down on the bottom left with the black hair and black shirt. I am gothic and I did my report on Dereck White. I like a lot of music, mostly rock, metal, punk, and screamo. My faviorite bands are Slipknot, Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. When I get older, I want to work at Hot Topic, a store with clothes and music and stuff for gothic people.
I’m Eric. I am standing top left. I did my report on Luke Cutburth. I like biking, snowboarding, stick fighting. I want to have a fun job. I’m not sure what that is yet.
I’m Tiffany. I was sitting bottom row, second to the left. My report was on Dale Brown. I got an 88. I like to listening to music, walking around with my friends, and going on the computer. I want to become a photographer. [See photo of Tiffany with her project on Chief Dale Brown. I believe I recognize some of those photos.]
My name is David. I am on the far right in the back row. I did my report on Gary Kim. I like baseball, football and girls. I want to join the military.
And this from some of the participating crew members:
“I have been participating in the Partners in Education program for about the last seven years of my career,” Chief Luke Cutburth says. “I really enjoy getting the word out about the Coast Guard. It is also nice to think you may be a role model for a child rather than some pro ball player. I have been in the Coast Guard for 16 years. I’m an Operational Specialist Chief. On Munro I’m the OS in Charge of the Combat Information Center. I am married to Karla and I have a nine-year old son, Zachary.”
Chief Dale Brown has also worked with kids in the Partners in Education program. “I like to tell them about my adventures in the Coast Guard, as they all seem intrigued by my stories. The person I wrote to has written back to me twice asking to know more. I just hope that it helps her in some way to realize there are bright days in what looks like a bleak future. I have a daughter, Kelly, in college in St Louis, and a son Jason, stationed in Iraq. I have been married to my lovely wife Elaine for 15 years. We are soon heading to Key West for our next transfer to the CGC Thetis.”
ENS Dan Schrader has tutored third through fifth graders at a local elementary school in Michigan in math and science. “The hardest part,” he says, “was keeping them focused on their studies and minimizing the questions about the Coast Guard. It was a nice surprise to hear that someone was interested in doing a presentation on me and my career. I told Kevin all about the various jobs I have had and places I have lived. I also found out he dislikes some of the same subjects that I did when I was his age. I told him to stick with it because it does pay off in the end to study hard. I’m glad my stories helped him to get a good grade on the project!”
“I am in the Main Prop division,” MK3 Dereck White says. “We are responsible for everything inside of the engine room. This includes the main diesel engines, the turbines, the generators, and the evaporator (water distilling plant), where we work in temperatures that sometimes exceed 150 degrees. I have been in the Coast Guard for 5 and a half years. My tour is up on the Munro this summer and I am to transfering to the Coast Guard Cutter Aspen out of San Francisco. It’s a 225′ buoy tender. I am proud to be in the Coast Guard, and if I can change one child’s path by promoting it then I can be happy to say that I did.”
The gentleman who orchestrated all this, LTJG Josh Dipietro, says, “When my mother and I first talked about this I wasn’t sure who would want to participate, but everyone I approached was excited to help. It worked out well because the crew members all had a little connection with the students, as hard as that might be through email. Even though it was more difficult because we were underway, I think the difficulty of communication and remoteness helps to tell the story. One of the things that really helped the students get a picture of our daily life was the blog.
“I of course love participating in this particular project because it is for Mr. Kirwan’s Social Studies class and he was one of my favorite teachers (hope that helps the grade, Molly!). I was excited to be paired up with Molly, her stepbrother is one of my buddies from school. This project was great because it took the combination of interested students, helpful crew members, an excellent and adventurous writer, and one nagging mother to pull off.”
[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]
On this patrol, it got so I knew who worked in Combat because I didn’t know who they were. I don’t have clearance for CIC, so I couldn’t go down there and watch them work and get to know them. It was really bothering me that they were so under-represented on the blog.
I asked their Chief, Luke Cutburth, if he could maybe take my camera to CIC and get some photos of them at work. Nope. But a not bad second best was to get them to pose as a group in front of the helo for a photo op. So here they are, those wonderful people who bring us go fasts and ghost fasts:
Back row: OS3 Chris Fajkos, OSC Luke Cutburth, OS3 Karl Griffin, OS3 Joel ROZA, OS2 James Griffiss, OS2 Joseph Castro
Front row: OS3 Georgina Pacheco, OS3 Kelly Randall, OS1 Erin Lopez
Turns out I do know some of them after all. Luke I know from dominoes and the Chiefs’ Mess. Karl I know from the Snoopy Team on the bridge. Joel I know from my writers’ workshop. Georgina I know from the horseback ride into the jungle. Erin I know because I helped her with a little project I hope to hear more about in the future. (The worst thing about leaving Munro in mid-patrol is I won’t know the end to a lot of the stories walking around this ship on two legs.)
Here is what the Chief says:
“CIC is the Combat Information Center.
“The Operations Specialists in my shop are the electronic eyes and ears and brains of our ship. The members of CIC are responsible for the safe navigation of the ship, communications to and from the ship, detection and correlation of all surface and air contacts, controlling and tracking our deployed helicopter, coordinating Search and Rescue operations, control point for Multiple unit operations, collection and dissemination of intelligence, and when the situation really deteriorates, we fight the ship.
“We are quite literally the nerve center of Munro. The word kind of travels like this: “If you need to know what is going on ask the OS.” Since many people do not know what we do and we work behind closed doors, the impression on the ship is that the OS’s do not do anything. Because most of our information is sensitive and we can’t talk about a lot of it, OS’s have been referred to as “Secret Squirrels” for many years.
“This is a nickname I don’t mind since it is a lot nicer than some nicknames you can end up with on a ship.”
Okay, that’s the Chief talking. Here’s Luke, talking about what he calls his family underway.
“OS1 Lopez is my right hand WOMAN without whom my shop would not run and definitely would not smile enough. She is also a promising triathlete who keeps us all a lot healthier.
OS2 Castro is our quiet, smart level headed handyman go to guy, though when you hear that we call him “Sleeping Bear” you would not believe that he has a 350z that will almost do 200mph and is street legal.
OS2 Griffiss is the old salt in the shop having been onboard Munro for the longest. He rides Harleys and keeps our young ones in line.
OS3 Roza is fast becoming a stable force in the shop, my wild young guy with a passion for everything Texas and anything sports.
OS3 Fajkos my resident gentleman. I have never met a more mature OS3 in all my 16 years. This guy has gone the extra mile over and over again for Munro, but he can be the first one to bring a smile to your face with one of his impressions when the days get long.
OS3 Kelly Randall, a resilient petty officer, is an amazing leader and teacher of our new people.
OS3 Roberts is an ex-boxer prior navy and a aspiring musician and good guy.
OS3 Pacheco is one of three new arrivals to the shop who has proven to be a can do over achiever like the rest of us.
OS3 Griffin, another newbie, the muscle bound family man who is willing to play the pushup game all day long because he has tree trunks for arms.
OS3 Martinez, our last newbie who is a laugh a minute when it is time to be listening to radios. He is most like a 10 year old at his birthday when he comes into the shop excited and ready to learn.
“I feel very fortunate to be a member of such a caring family and to call them my own is the greatest honor I have had in the Coast Guard. Without them I could not get my job done.”
Okay. I feel like I know Combat a little better now.
I was up on the bridge this morning and the lookout spotted a mighty school of dolphins. The XO says they were spinner dolphins, found only in the tropics, known for their large pods and their acrobatics. The water was literally boiling with them. I didn’t know there were that many dolphins left in the world. Glorious. Enjoy the photos. I think they’ve already been emailed to the families of everyone on board, but you never know.