Friday, September 2, 2011

All Right, All Right, An Adventurous Job. Happy?

Frikkin' nasty beasts bite, spit, and fart.
Reminds me a lot of the Bug-Eyed Ugly Woman.
   Luckily, today's the last day I'll be boring you (with Navy tales, anyway). What started out on Tuesday dragged on until Friday.  Talk about your ego.  Who do I think I am?  Donald Trump?  
  Anyway, the more I wrote, the more I realized there are many things left untold. Like the first time I went to a Gentleman's Club in Milwaukee (Laverne and Shirley did NOT dance), the time I got whacked in the nose by a grease pan, the time we set a watch to make sure baboons didn't sneak onto the ship, our first experience with Communists, my fight with Seabees (HINT:  I lost.  Badly.), how I met the Mayor of Evanston, Illinois, the time we went "trolling for rich people" whereupon we met "Junie the Boatboy," and so on.  
  So, I'm thinking of writing a book.  That way, you can read all about it.  You'll just have to pay.  Oops, better not quit my day job.
Anyway, let's finish this crap, shall we?

2000s (well, what else ya gonna call them?)

Latin stands for "Warriors From the Park of the Domestic Wagons."
No kidding.
As to why?  And why a flamingo?
Read the book.  Not sold anywhere yet.  Damn.
2000- Since "Fleet Maritime Patrol Mobile Operational Control Center Western Atlantic" wouldn't fit real well on a nametag, we settle for "the MOCC."  The Navy is real good with acronyms, that way. If we weren't, we'd be so SOL that we'd be FUBAR, so keep that on the QT, OK GI?

September 11, 2001-  Me and "the MOCC" (see how easy that is?) were on an exercise in Keflavik, Iceland. My maintenance petty officer woke me up just as the first plane hit the World Trade Center (it was noon, local time. I was working the midnight shift).  Needless to say, the exercise was cancelled and we didn't get back to the United States until four days later.  Nothing funny to be said here.
The morning of September 12th
atop the main hangar at Keflavik's Naval Air Station.

2002- We take part in a major exercise in Chile where I learn how to interoperate with maritime air units from half a dozen other countries, evaluate the operational characteristics of a variety of tactical platforms, develop professional relationships with foreign nationals (no, not those kinds!), and learn the words to Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys (oh, that's what they're saying! Now I get it!).

2003- The War in Iraq starts.  Deciding it best to keep me away from where people are shooting each other, the Navy transfers me to Iceland.  To ease the pain somewhat (and keep me out of trouble), they let me take Mrs. Penwasser and the two kids. This was not greeted with universal acclaim. Well, our neighbors were pretty jazzed.

Surprisingly, a lot like this, too.

Yeah. Like that.
  While this wasn't my best tour, professionally speaking (the Cold War was over, so all we basically did was watch CNN to see what other people were doing. Apparently, Saddam Hussein was shot and killed), it was a fantastic experience for my family (who decided they won't drop me off at the curb once I turn 65, after all).

2004- My family heads home so they can kick the renters out of our house and pick up some dry cleaning.  Unfortunately, since I wasn't officially ready to transfer back to the States, the government wouldn't ship our furniture home.  So, Mrs. Penwasser and the kids camp out in a four bedroom home and I still have the waffle-maker and plasma TV for six months.  Plus, I have the microwave and Hot Pockets!  Bonus!!!
  Oh, yeah, I also learn what Canadian Thanksgiving is all about.  I must say, it makes so much more sense than getting some Pilgrims and Indians together to eat deer, eels, and acorns outside in the middle of November.  In Massachusetts.  I don't care what anyone says.  You Canucks rock!!
NOTE:  NOT a clip-on tie.
As far as you know.
2005- I leave Iceland to head back home to retire. A journey begun 29 years after a foul-mouthed petty officer says "Welcome Aboard!" (in his own way) comes to an end.  I'm grateful for everyone I met and for everything I've done.  At the same time, I'm sad that it's coming to an end because it was kind of an adventure.  On the other hand, a whole new chapter will be opening up for me and the family.
  Plus, I kept the microwave oven.
  And will make sure that I send Martin Frobisher cards to all my Canadian friends next month.

  Okay, that's it.  Take a couple days away from me.  God knows you've earned it.


  1. You should definitely write a book! Not many people can say they have had as adventurous as a career as you. Sounds like there was never a dull moment!

  2. I really think I might. I can always embellish the dull moments (like nobody thinks I don't do that now?)!
    I will have to come up with new names for everyone (except "Sluggo.").

  3. You should definitely write a book. With all your personal experience backing you up so many readers will relate. And if your voice shines through the way it does in your blog you'll be a hit. :)

  4. My life seems very tame in comparison to yours ... you really should write a book so people like me can live vicariously through you! :o)

  5. I definitely see the need for a book....I'd even spring a few bucks for it!

  6. I understand that Iceland has very delicious beer. Is this true?

  7. @Laila: I'm thinking it would be a lot like these past few posts. Only with more pictures and a bit more stories.
    @Deborah: You'd be surprised how exciting your life is to others.
    @Eva: I'm honored. That means a lot coming from a talented writer.
    @Mary: Any beer is good beer (except Piels and Ballantine). But, Iceland has a pretty tasty beer called 'Thule.' As the chaplain found out at 3 am one morning, it worked for me.

  8. Gotta love the Beasties.
    Nice trip down memory lane.

  9. Do you still have your sea legs? It's never too late to captain your own cargo ship and smuggle herbal substances from the Congo.

  10. Laila's right, you should write a book, based on your Navy experiences with that twist of Al humor we all love. I bet it would rock!

    I almost enlisted in the Navy back in 1985. I walked into the recruiting office and took the exam, scored perfectly. They told me I'd be a fireman, whatever the heck that is. I chickened out. But I'm proud to know a few who did not, including you. Again, thanks for all your year5s of service. This country would be nowhere without brave men and women like you.

  11. @Ruth: "Intergalactic Planetary, Planetary Intergalactic." Who knew?
    @Gorilla Bananas: I really would like to go back to sea. I think I packed my sea legs away, though. But, I can get them out if need be.
    @Nancy: Thank you very much. I'm not sure how I would go about it. Probably the same form as my posts. Good thing you didn't become a Fireman. Those folks work in engine rooms where it's unbelievably frikkin' hot. We called them "snipes." My cousin is a snipe and has been for 29 years. He's thinks I'm a limp-wristed airdale weenie. At least I took regular showers.

  12. The Iraqis could have tried a flanking maneouvre via Iceland. It's a damn good job you were there.