Beautiful rain -- enough to make a difference and enough to set me to small indoor chores. One of them was to replace batteries and clean up my work horse USN battle lantern, a mate to the one on the right.
USS Slater was a DE, destroyer escort, newer than Queeg's Caine but still a toy boat on a real ocean. And for one man's perspective on going to sea in one, consider:
My Gearing class destroyer hung around with cruisers and aircraft carriers, big ships. The crews would fraternize in Oriental dives on WestPac deployment. We always took the usual shots at one another's ship assignments, bullshit stuff but good for easing tensions.
As, Them to Us: "How to you wind up the rubber band on your bath tub toy?" And Us to Them: "You clowns really get sea pay for living on that building?" Etc. Just very young men releasing testosterone at a low, banal, and friendly level.
But, then, often enough, the SunTory (not bad, about like Jim Beam) would give us the comradely maudlins. Big ship guys would salute tin-can riders. They would, they avowed, desert to the Commies rather than face the risk of destroyer life.
Now that I've told you all about that, one point remains: My tiny little destroyer weighed about 2200 tons. The USS Slater, DE, displaced about 1200 tons. And she sailed the same damned ocean though the same damned weather.
And that is why you see me facing Albany with a snappy salute to the guys restoring her -- and to the probably long-gone counterpart of yours truly who sailed her a generation earlier. Sir, by the numbers, you're about twice the man I am.
Gee, that's a lot to excrete from putting new batteries in a flash light. But, as I said, it's raining. Nothing good on the electric teevee, either.