I am finally yearning to be home again and doing all of the things normal people do. I WANT a Pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks, and I want to kick leaves, and get my free nook book every Sunday at Barnes and Noble. Haha. It’s been pretty quiet on the Western front if you know what I mean. I have been turning over my current job as ASWO (anti Submarine Warfare Officer) and taking over as AUXO (Auxiliaries officer). I’m now in charge of habitability items onboard the ship, such as the refrigerators, air conditioners, RO’s (which turn sea water into drinking water) and that kind of thing.
We have been doing some fun things on board, just yesterday they set up a big screen out on the flight deck and we watched THOR. It was exactly like the drive in back home, which made me miss being back in my small town where the highlight of the night is to go lay out on the grass and watch a movie. We were barely moving and we could see tons of stars and the breeze was a little warmer than room temperature. It was the perfect night for a movie. I also found out about our Sea Hawk friend that has been with us since deployment. There’s a Sea Hawk living on our flight deck and he has a nest and everything. During the day he sits and hangs out back there and then he goes out and hunts fish and then comes back. He was at movie night. I was very excited to finally meet him.
About a week ago something of special interest happened which I was trying to find the news article about but the internet is being VERY VERY slow tonight. All of the Officer of the Decks have been hanging out on the bridge wings during the night watch because the middle east heat has finally cooled down enough to be manageable and it is actually very enjoyable out there. That’s exactly where the Officer of the Deck was at the time when all of a sudden this huge blast of flame shot up in the air. She immediately called the captain who came straight to the bridge and it turns out that Al Qaeda (found out later in the news) had blown up a fuel line in Yemen, and the blast was so big that we could see it from our ship!!! Now we weren’t right off the coast, we were still a good ways, but still, it was very exciting. That’s pretty much all of the excitement we’ve really had in the past few weeks. I’m looking forward to the next port visit.
A SHIP FROM THE STRIKE GROUP UPDATE: M one of my room mate friends from a CG sent out an exciting story that they participated in a week ago and I thought I would share that as well for a little more excitement. THIS STORY IS IN HER OWN WORDS (which is everything posted below except for my signature at the bottom):
A motor vessel was pirated and anchored off the coast of central Somalia. Apparently, two hostages on the ship, one Ukrainian, and one Algerian, after 292 days of being held hostage, had become very sick. A British ship had recently arrested 4 pirates, and so apparently, the pirates on the motor vessel had arranged through the Algerian government to release the 2 sick hostages if the British would release the 4 pirates. The Algerian government contacted 6th Fleet (the Mediterranean), who contacted 5th Fleet (the Middle East), who contacted my ship and they took tactical control of us to complete the task.
Our VBSS (Visit, Board, Search, Seizure) team took a small boat half way in between my ship and the motor vessel, where the pirates were waiting in a skiff with the two hostages. They handed over the hostages and everything was fine, until they got upset that we didn’t bring them any Jack Daniels whiskey (apparently someone told them that we would bring them whiskey…which doesn’t really line up with my research on Somali pirates…since they are Muslim and don’t drink at all…allegedly). We brought back the hostages. One was on a stretcher because he couldn’t walk, so we had to hoist him up onto the ship and then stretcher bearers had to take him back to the flight deck and put him in the helicopter.
5th Fleet positioned other ships in the area all along the Somali coast up to the Gulf of Aden. Our helicopter took the hostages up, lily padding one ship at a time, all the way up to the Gulf of Aden, to a big deck, a large US Amphibious ship that has a doctor onboard, where he was able to receive medical care and is now doing much better.