Bill Case, a fellow submariner, sent me this lovely reflection of our common experience. I am sharing it with you now, along with a photo of my boat, with the hope it brings new perspective to this day. JJ
“When you understand”
Provided by Bob MacPherson, September 30, 2014
When the hatch closes over your head, the OOD says last man down and the COW says green board, you understand the meaning of adventure.
When... the only thing between you and millions of gallons of seawater is a steel hull and some closed valves, you understand the meaning of courage.
When sonar calls out to the conn “high speed screws in the water” in hostile waters, you understand the meaning of fear.
When the messenger passes out the only family grams the satellite could catch and yours isn’t one, you learn the meaning of loneliness.
When hissing water in the overhead turns from a slight annoyance to a terrifying rushing cascade bouncing off the hull and equipment, you understand the meaning of survival.
When you hear the quick sound that a curtain makes on your rack that indicates your watch is about to begin, you understand the meaning of irritation.
When you see a brother stand at attention while the Captain pins on the fish he worked so hard to earn, you understand the meaning of pride.
When you retire and they pipe you over the side for the very last time, you learn the meaning of great sadness.
When your eyes grow dim and your strength ebbs with age, you understand the meaning of envy every time you see a submarine getting underway.
When a shipmate from a time so long ago passes on, and people say so many things they wish they had said before they departed, you understand regret.