It has been a long month.
We all revert to character in times of trial. As a young man on submarines, I often looked forward to the boat pulling away from the pier and seeing the land disappear in the fading horizon. I almost hated to go below after rigging topside for dive, but at some point, you had to close the hatch.
Then the boat would do a series of tests including angles and dangles and deep submergence to make sure all of the boat’s systems would function when they needed to.
The angles and dangles were awesome since it gave you a ride worth taking. Like a porpoise, the boat would speed up and slow down while achieving death defying angles. I honestly think that the whole evolution was really meant to shake out anything not correctly stowed for sea. You wanted to find that out in a safe environment rather than when you were trying to be stealthy. Plus, it gave you a chance to hide your fear in front of your fellow submariners. No one wanted to admit they might have a bit of fear. That would not be very brave at all.
Deep submergence was a way to show how far the boat could operate. The moans and creaks are pretty memorable on some of the older boats. Even the brand new fast attack that I helped to build was pretty remarkable at the lower depths.
Life in the past month has been a combination of both without the benefits of a steel hull to hide in. But each day is getting better. I dodged a small health scare bullet and found out that my heart is stronger than I thought. Literally. Maybe I have a few patrols left in me after all.
I will be back in few days. This year’s promise of completing the 41 for Freedom series will be accomplished. More tales from submarine history remain to be told. Then on to a whole new series on the balance of the boats that helped keep America safe during the Cold War.
For today, I am at peace. We managed to survive the most recent trials. Its time to move on.