This past weekend we went down to Southern Orange County and the San Diego area to spend time with my family and see my sister off as she deployed on the USS Green Bay.
It was an interesting experience. I guess I haven’t really ever considered myself to be especially patriotic (shocking, right?). I mean, I think we live in a good country and I am lucky and all that, but I also see problems and don’t always agree with decisions that are made by our country. Plus, I have a certain romantic spot in my heart for the UK, always have. A few friends of mine in the “same boat” (haha, gotta love that little pun I stuck in there), said that seeing the deployment of a family member changes that a bit for you. And I guess that was partially true.
I think it was kind of talked up quite a bit so my expectations were pretty high. Plus, I guess I expected way more families to be there, actually. My sister said that there were three ships deploying that morning and that there would be thousands of families to say goodbye to the thousands of marines and sailors that were deploying that morning. So it was kind of weird to me that there were maybe 30-50 people total at the pier saying goodbye. It felt empty. And I felt bad that some people didn’t even have someone there to say goodbye to or see them off.
I did not get emotional, or choke up which I was told to expect. But my sister said that was probably a good thing because it makes it so much harder for her. She said it was good having emotionally stable people there.
So anyway, for those of you not on Facebook, here are the photos we got before she left.
I forgot to check all my settings before clicking away, so this photo was totally over exposed. I loved it though and couldn’t just send it to the trash. Picasa helped me edit it and I actually think it wound up looking the best of all the photos. Ha! The magic of digital photography. 🙂
Bean’s face in this one is just hilarious and priceless. She was being such a stinker that morning. I don’t think she completely understood what was going on, but I’m glad we brought both the kids anyway. Still, they were more concerned about breakfast and going to the children’s museum later than anything else.
“That’s the big ship!”
I am really glad we got a little time with my sister that morning before she set off. Because between all the last minute errands she had to run and us seeing my husband’s San Diego family I felt like we hardly saw eachother even though we were down for four days.
Yes, I look like a ragamuffin. It was cold. And early (I woke up at 4am). I feel like the last two days we were down I never felt warm the whole time. All the people bragging about their 85 and sunny weather down there in the weeks before completely failed me because I did not bring proper shoes or clothes for the weather we did encounter. Except my wool coat. It wasn’t enough though. Still, who am I to complain… my sister was in her very thin, short sleeve “Charlies”. Her hands were numb.
This is not the ship my sister is on. It is the USS New York which is being built in San Diego harbor, but will be stationed on the East Coast. It was built with scrap metal from the World Trade Center. You don’t see that kind of thing very often so I decided it was worthy of a picture. My sister said just a few weeks ago it hardly looked like a ship at all and she was surprised when she came down to drop off her stuff at how much they had gotten done on it in that time period.
There she is “manning the rails” and sneaking in one of her signature peace signs right before they set off.
A more appropriate picture.
Everyone else in place now too.
Raising the flag. So interesting thing happened while this was going on. I expected the Star Spangled Banner. Not unreasonable, right? Instead they played the short trumpeting fanfare that they play at the start of a race, like a horse race (Google tells me it is called “The Call to the Post”). A little while later there was another flag raising ceremony on a ship behind us and they played both that and then the Star Spangled Banner. I guess the title of the fanfare sort of makes it make sense though.
And there they go off into San Diego Bay.
Here is a little blurb from the San Diego Union Tribune that my husband’s grandparents clipped for us that morning.
So funny thing happened. We didn’t leave San Diego until around 2:30 that afternoon. We decided to go to a big breakfast and then take the kids to a children’s museum afterwards. As we were driving thru Camp Pendleton, on the horizon what do we see? Three ships, including a big one in the middle with towers and shaped just like the Green Bay. We were a bit puzzled because we know those ships go faster than that and they left pretty early in the morning. So why in the world would they still be here? I talked to my sister this afternoon and turns out they just floated on up to Pendleton to pick up some equipment. I am kicking myself for not having Stephen pull over at the viewpoint there and take a big expansive sunny picture of the three ships on the horizon. Oh well. This also explains why my sister had cell reception a few hours later and was sending me text messages and posting on Facebook. Ha!
Oh and as to the title of my post, there is a bit of a rivalry between Marines and Navy even though they are technically the same department. My sister found out shortly after getting on that she is the only female Marine on the entire ship. Which means 7 months of razzing for her from her female Navy counterparts. Not fun. 😦