A belated "Thank you" to Matt Pounder....wherever you are!
They were the ones that joined the Navy to avoid the Army
They were the ones whose hazardous duty was carbon dust instead of AK-47 rounds
They were the ones to whom "FTN" did NOT mean "Find the Nucs!"
They were the ones that called me a "lifer" when I made PO3
They were the first eyes on the grams
And the first feet on the mats
And the rollers of countless grams
And the burners and shredders of those countless grams
They were cleaners of toilets and urinals
They were the swab jockeys of a million mid-watch decks
They were brewers of coffee for the day beggars
They did a hundred different tasks in support of the mission
They were the ones that finished their time honorably and bailed out of the "Canoe Club." Without their efforts, the System would have been far less effective in a myriad of ways. And those of us who stayed would not have fared nearly so well.
They're old and grey now, like most of us. I hope they look back fondly on their SOSUS days. I suspect that their "see" stories - just like fishing tales - grow more amazing with time. I can't help but think they sometimes wistfully wish they'd stayed.
I owe them a debt of gratitude. To all those "one hitch and gone" NAVFAC sailors: SO, STG, STO, OT, OTA, and OTM.... And to friends from long ago - Roy Simons, J J Kozak, Rich Berens, Charlie Banks, Daryl Ganskopp, and a hundred others whose names I can't recall; Thank you, "ship"mates. BZ!