A recent letter from
a sailor in the Navy to his father . . .
Well, we are still out at sea,
with little direction as to what our next priority is. The
remainder of our port visits, which were to be centered around max
liberty and goodwill to the United Kingdom, have all but been
canceled. We have spent every day since the attacks going back and
forth within imaginary boxes drawn in the ocean, standing
high-security watches, and trying to make the best of our time. It
hasn't been that fun I must confess, and to be even more honest, a
lot of people are frustrated at the fact that they either can't be
home, or we don't have more direction right now. We have seen the
articles and the photographs, and they are sickening. Being
isolated as we are, I don't think we appreciate the full scope of
what is happening back home, but we are definitely feeling the
About two hours ago the junior
officers were called to the bridge to conduct Ship Handling
drills. We were about to do a man overboard when we got a call
from the LUTJENS (D185), a German warship that was moored ahead of
us on the pier in Plymouth, England. While in port, the WINSTON
CHURCHILL and the LUTJENS got together for a sports day/cookout on
our fantail, and we made some pretty good friends. Now at sea they
called over on bridge-to-bridge, requesting to pass us close up on
our port side, to say goodbye. We prepared to render them honors
on the bridgewing, and the Captain told the crew to come topside
to wish them farewell. As they were making their approach, our
Conning Officer announced through her binoculars that they were
flying an American flag.
As they came even closer, we saw
that it was flying at half-mast. The bridgewing was crowded with
people as the Boatswain's Mate blew two whistles- Attention to
Port- the ship came up alongside and we saw that the entire crew
of the German ship were manning the rails, in their dress blues.
They had made up a sign that was displayed on the side that read
"We Stand By You". Needless to say there was not a dry
eye on the bridge as they stayed alongside us for a few minutes
and we cut our salutes.
It was probably the most powerful
thing I have seen in my entire life and more than a few of us
fought to retain our composure.
It was a beautiful day outside
today. We are no longer at liberty to divulge over unsecure e-mail
our location, but we could not have asked for a finer day at sea.
The German Navy did an incredible thing for this crew, and it has
truly been the highest point in the days since the attacks.
It's amazing to think that only a
half-century ago things were quite different, and to see the unity
that is being demonstrated throughout Europe and the world makes
us all feel proud to be out here doing our job.
After the ship pulled away and we
prepared to begin our man overboard drills the Officer of the Deck
turned to me and said "I'm staying Navy."
Submitted by Marianne,