[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]
Recently we made a Brief Stop for Fuel/Brief Stop for Logistics (BSF/BSL). CWO Tony Parker, our supply officer or Suppo, bought a bunch of $5 phone cards from our Husbanding Agent (HA) on shore and sold them to the crew at cost so they could call home from one of two pay phones on the pier. We weren’t allowed to leave the pier.
We also topped off the tank with about 50,000 gallons of fuel, and loaded a little over $6000 in supplies, including the now legendary mutant chickens. “These are foreign countries,” Tony says, “they have no USDA,” and tells the story about biting into a hotdog from Panama and pulling out a feather. Ew.
While in port the officers hosted the HA and the CO of the old decomissioned CG buoy tender – now a naval vessel from that country -permanently moored, it appeared, opposite us. The XO, veteran of three buoy tenders, recognized it immediately and was all of a flutter. A few of our engineers went over to get a tour and ended up doing some impromptu nation building – providing some technical assistance and a few parts to help repair their small boats.
Port calls aren’t cheap:
(A) PORT AGENT $ 1,000.00
(B) TRASH REMOVAL $ 200.00
(C) HSK TRANSPORTATION $ 700.00
(D) INBOUND TRANSPORTATION FEE $ 290.00
(E) FAX FEE $ 25.00
(F) SUPPLIES PROCURED $ 440.51
(G) FOOD PURCHASED $ 6,077.16
(H) FUEL $ 109,131.40
TOTAL COSTS $ 117,864.07
For some reason no one wishes to inquire into too closely, we were not charged the usually mandatory tugs and pilot fees, which would have added $3000 to the bill. A good thing, since the pilot was late and kept a shipload of people at stations waiting for 45 minutes. The Captain was not happy. The pilot didn’t get a hat. And, if this IMHO isn’t scrubbed, I didn’t think either tugs or pilot were necessary anyway – these people can drive ships.
Our second port call (our first was San Diego), less than a month into the patrol. The Munro will be out here three months, with four or more port calls, depending on operations. If we chase a lot of bad guys, we’ll obviously need more fuel. If we catch a lot of bad guys or take on a load of migrants, and have to feed them, we’ll need more food. Like that.
More about CWO Tony Parker. In addition to acquiring mutant chickens for our dining pleasure, he is breaking in as helo control officer (HCO) on the bridge. “Why not?” he said when I asked. “Why not help out? If guys don’t stand watch they should help out.”
He means that the junior officer regularly assigned as HCO might be on watch as OOD when flight operations are called, or have just gotten to sleep after having just gotten off watch. Officers who don’t stand watch usually get to sleep every night. So, to help out, Tony volunteered to break in as HCO.
CWO Jimmy Olson, the electronics material officer (EMO), is breaking in right behind him. And on the flight deck, Chief Greg Colvin is breaking in as LSO, or Landing Signals Officer. All three volunteered.
I got a tour of the CIWS (pronounced See Whiz) this morning, or Close-In Weapon System, also known as our other big gun, courtesy of PO Mica Hagen and PO Chris Leach. They looked at me a little quizzically when Weps introduced me, but when I told them the plot of the book they really got into it, sweeping away any piddly difficulties like keys and safeties and making me free of the technical manual (relax, we’re not talking secret here, you could find it on the Internet) to where I think we scared Weps even more. I’m just making his life a living misery. That’s them in front of CIWS, which is a very nifty device that targets incoming radar objects.
And the last photo is PO Karl Griffin, the back of whose head you will remember from a couple of days ago. His face is usually obscured by one of many Snoopy team cameras.