Peluquero Redux

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Moderator » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:42 pm

So, to admit a thing we guys are not supposed to admit:

Today a package came in the mail. Four first class stamps. Heavy. Sent to Cris and me with no return address.

I opened it to find a very sweet condolence card from the vet who helped put Jazz to sleep. Separately in the envelope was a ziplock baggie containing what looked like a rock.

I opened it.

Those of you with small children will recognize the inevitable school project which produces a little flat wad of clay with your child's handprint. In this case, Jazz's pawprint with his name gently scratched down one side.

I was crushed and elated at the same time.

And for the first time since losing the pup, I was reduced to blubbering on my knees as I held this little object of clay to my chest.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Lori Koonce
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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Lori Koonce » Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:20 pm

*big cyberhug*

Steve

That's a beautiful way for someone to help you remember your beloved.

If there is any thing I can do to help ya feel better let me know. I know that the distance between us is hard to breach, but I'm here for you.

Lori

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FinderDoug
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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby FinderDoug » Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:57 pm

I teared up just reading that. Thoughtful, heartfelt, and a great kindness by the vet.

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Chuck Messer
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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Chuck Messer » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:34 pm

I think everyone wishes to have a vet like that.

Chuck
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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby markabaddon » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:39 pm

No idea why any guy would hesitate to admit to this. Anyone who was not touched by that story has no heart.

Thank you for sharing this
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Moderator » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:08 am

I've posted a number of downer sorts of things lately, so here's a change of pace. (For those of you who don't believe people in the military do great things, stop reading now. Going further will only upset your sensibilities.)

I have written frequently regarding my father's military career. In his time he held three sea commands, four tours at the Pentagon, and a time as a senior "fellow" at a prestigious Washington Think Tank which served as the intermediary office between State and Navy during the April 1986 bombing of Libya (in response to a Berlin discotheque terrorist attack, as well as to deny Libya the extended sea frontier they claimed in the Mediterranean). (Off topic: what kind of foolish leader sends small boats out to challenge an American supercarrier? That one ship has more firepower than your entire country, but let's annoy them just for fun.)

Dad's career has truly been what we'd call illustrious, but never have I been more proud of him than during the incident recorded below.

At the time we were living in Hawaii, just a few miles from Pearl Harbor. Dad was in command of the USS Hissem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Hissem_(DE-400)), a radar ship with the given purpose of coordinating ships and aircraft during operations. The vessel, relatively small by Naval standards at just over 300 feet long, was encountering the full fury of a typhoon -- essentially a hurricane -- when they ran into a civilian ship in deep distress.

It's been forgotten now, but Dad and his little ship were national heroes for a day or two.

Below are remarks he sent to some of his old crew a day or so ago. One of them ran across a website with the news item and asked what anyone else remembered.

Many thanks for triggering old memories. After the passage of more than forty years I don't trust my memory very well, but I will try to contribute what I do recall. Everything that follows should be considered as prefaced "to the best of my recollection," Not "this is the way it really was." One discrepancy between my memory and the story published in the Prescott newspaper is that I have no recollection at all of Coeur d' Alene participating.

We were headed for deployment to the 7th fleet, and scheduled for a fuel stop in Guam. A powerful typhoon (Gilda?) was headed directly for Guam, and we increased speed in order to get fueled and out of Guam before the typhoon arrived. Several hours after our departure from Guam we picked up a large radar contact, dead in the water, and changed course to investigate. It was the United Fruit Company refrigerator ship SS San Jose, headed for Vietnam with food. As she came into view we could see flames and smoke, and as we approached closer we could see two or three lifeboats filled with merchant seamen. We passed first by the lifeboats to determine that they were in no immediate danger, told the men in the boats that we would return, then closed on San Jose.

We had to use loud hailers to communicate, since San Jose had lost all power. We determined that the Captain (Boyle) and twelve men were still on board. They indicated that they were in no immediate danger, so we returned to the manned lifeboats and took them all on board. Returning to San Jose we rigged firehoses and approached as closely as was safe, but our hoses didn't have enough range to be very effective. In response to San Jose's request for a transfer of firefighting gear we loaded our motor whaleboat with gear, and prepared to send it to San Jose, manned with a crew from Hissem. Getting the motor whaleboat launched was made difficult by the increasing weather. I don't remember the exact sequence of events, but we wound up with the motor whaleboat in the water, unable to start the motor, and we retrieved the crew. It wasn't easy, but no one was hurt. We then decided to pass the boat with its load of gear to San Jose, using a sturdy line we had passed. San Jose got the boat alongside on her port side, but allowed the boat to drift aft and under the heavy pipe port screw guard. San Jose rolled, and the screw guard crashed down on the boat, driving it under. The boat was never seen again.

San Jose was making progress on containing the fire, and Captain Boyle did not want to abandon ship, but requested a tow to get out of the path of the typhoon. Unfortunately San Jose's rudder was jammed hard right, and without power she was unable to provide the necessary anchor chain to provide a shock absorbing catenary in the tow rig. I was convinced at the time, and still believe now, that if we could have gotten a crew of our own on board San Jose that they would have figured out a way to get the rudder amidships and provide the needed anchor chain for the tow. This was not to be, and we decided to try to tow anyway, using wire cable and some nylon mooring lines to provide a small amount of shock absorbancy in the tow.

Things blur for me at this point. I know that we struggled with trying to tow San Jose for many hours. We were making no more than about a knot good, and the typhoon was still heading straight toward us. By the second day I was concerned that sleep deprivation was affecting my judgment and instructed our OODs to question any order I gave that did not make sense to them. As the weather worked up I was having to face a painful decision: if Captain Boyle continued to remain on board with his 12 men did we risk the lives of our own crew and those we had retrieved from the lifeboats by standing by through the storm, or did we head for safer water leaving them behind. Neither course of action was attractive.

Fortunately, at this point the United Fruit Company headquarters in New York sent a message for us to deliver to Captain Boyle saying "safety of life is paramount: abandon ship." We then had to figure out how to safely transport the men from San Jose to Hissem. To to this meant getting as close as possible without risking collision in the increasingly heavy weather. We used the lee created by the freeboard of the much larger San Jose, by pointing our bow directly toward the port beam of San Jose, which let us control the distance by backing away gently as San Jose was blown down toward us. We used inflatable rubber life rafts handled with lines to both ships, and were able to transfer everyone safely and without injury.

With everyone now safely on board we headed on the course that would take us out of the worst part of the typhoon as quickly as possible, and once in safer water headed back toward Guam. Before continuing our deployment we needed to replace the lost motor whaleboat. The old one had been wooden, the new one of fiberglass, and the differences required some modification of the on board rig, so we spent several days in Guam having the needed work done, then continued our trip to the 7th Fleet.

I would be interested in hearing the recollections of others about this adventure on the high seas. We can all take pride in the fact that in circumstances that could easily have resulted in substantial loss of life that there were not even any serious injuries. Best wishes to all of our shipmates, Jim Barber

- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Jan » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:35 pm

Good stuff!

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:22 am

Steve, I think the understatement in your Dad's recollection speaks volumes for the man and his sea-craft. Just reading it I'm reminded of Patrick O'Brian -- except I think that Aubrey would have bragged a bit more. What an exciting true story!
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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby markabaddon » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:35 pm

Steve,

You got one helluva Dad (but I suspect you already knew that)

Mark
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby swp » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:44 pm

Happy Birthday, Steve.
swp

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Lori Koonce » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:22 pm

Hippo Birdies two ewes! (think about that before ya ask!)

Your skills at cat herding will never cease to amaze me!

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Moderator » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:46 pm

Thanks guys!!!

I'm entering phase three of what has been a fascinating life. (Phase 1, BC -- before Cris; Phase 2, After Cris. Phase 3, dodderinghoodness.)
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Moderator » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:26 pm

Pics of our new dog Tango. Last three in this album (the others are of Jazz and Gig.)

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=6452335&l=56e95c0d4c&id=593857204
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Lori Koonce » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:14 pm

Handsome young man ya got there Steve.

BTW, did you know that you can have Jazzy's FB page set up as a memorial to him if you'd like.

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Re: Peluquero Redux

Postby Moderator » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:11 pm

Lori Koonce wrote:BTW, did you know that you can have Jazzy's FB page set up as a memorial to him if you'd like.


I did not. Can you send me info on how I can do so? We'd like to do that for him.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.


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