Page: http://blog.richardslowry.com/ Richard's Blog
Apr 24th, 2011 by Richard Lowry
Another day at sea

Greetings from USS Bataan, underway in the Atlantic

110417-N-7508R-001The young men and women of the United States Navy and Marine Corps live a life most of us could not imagine when they sail the seas for you and me. It is a Spartan life. They leave most of the comforts we take for granted as they sail over the horizon.

Many bring iPods, wet wipes and cookies but their lives are drastically changed when they sail out to sea. My first taste of their sacrifice was the loss of the information we have all become accustomed to receiving at home.

Americans are bombarded with information from the time we get up in the morning, to the time we go to bed at night. We turn on our television sets to get the weather and traffic as we prepare for our day; we listen to our radios as we drive to work; most of us have a computer on our desk where we are literally connected to the world through Facebook, Wikipedia and Google; and if there is some piece of unique information we want – there’s an app for that.

Out here on the sea, the Sailors and Marines have none of that. They are lucky if the satellite connection stays up long enough to receive their few email messages. They are elated if they can sit through a March Madness playoff game without losing the signal while the ball is in the air for the winning shot at the buzzer.

Out here, we get our weather by looking outside and measuring how far our chair slides across the deck in heavy seas. Out here, we get our news by word of mouth, to later realize that it was only rumor.

These young Sailors and Marines sacrifice so much every day just by being out here on the high seas. There are no McDonalds, 7-Elevens or local bars. There are no sidewalks, driveways or trees. Everyone is packed into this giant metal monster, plodding our way across the ocean.

We could see land a few days ago. After a week of crossing the Atlantic, the silhouette of mountains on the horizon was a fascination to the Sailors and Marines on the hanger deck. Everyone moved to get a look as word spread. A small group of Marines joked that they could swim for it and make it to shore: never mind the fact that the white capped waves were ten feet tall in a rolling sea and that land was at least fifteen miles away.

The short thrill dissipated as the land disappeared behind us and the men and women on the hanger deck returned to their daily routine. The Sailors and Marines are kept busy with maintenance, training and drilling but at the end of the day they only have a tiny rack to call their own. Every day is a Monday and hours slowly turn to days. Days drag on into weeks. And weeks give way to months. The only respite from the boredom is mail call.

Semper Fidelis,

Richard

Richard S. Lowry has been writing about the Marine Corps for many years. To learn more about his writing and how to purchase his latest book, visit www.richardslowry.com.

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13 Responses

  • Brad Hollingsworth, Sr says:

    Richard: My son LCpl Brad Hollingsworth, Jr is aboard the Bataan. He’s a marine scout sniper on his first deployment. I truly appreciate your blogs as news is hard to come by. I will keep reading a wish you great success with your book.

    Thanks for doing this.

  • nikki daneker says:

    Hi, I’m Sgt.Daneker’s wife!! He told me that you were on board and that you interviewed him. I’m now keeping up with your blog’s to see if I can see anything about my husband!!!! Stay safe and let them all know that we miss them and are holding everything down at home!! :)

    Nikki Daneker

  • Richard Lowry says:

    Nikki,

    I will try to get another post on the site this week. We are all safe and well. Yesterday and today were the first really nice weather days since we have gone to sea. We really didn’t get a big mail drop until last Thursday.

    Regards from USS Bataan.
    Richard

  • Richard Lowry says:

    Brad,

    Thanks for following my blog. I have been having internet connectivity issues until yesterday. I will be posting more regularly now. We are all safe and well. Saturday night is always Pizza and Wings night.

    Richard

  • Richard,

    What a wonderful blessing to come across your blog. I have a good friend on the Whidby Island who I am trying to keep up to date with. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts on the activities of the 22MEU.

    I am enjoying your writing especially the perspective you provide on the day to day experiences of our Marines and Sailors.. Thanks much and write often.

    Patrick

  • Richard Lowry says:

    Patrick,

    Thank you for your kind words. On USS Bataan, our internet access is extremely limited so I can’t post as often as I would like to. My son has a new post that I hope he will put up this weekend and I will write another next week. These guys and gals out here are great. I feel younger just being around them.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Richard

    PS I am on the USS Mesa Verde for a few days. I will be watching an exercise this weekend and then returning to Bataan.

    rl

  • Pat Donahue says:

    It is truly wonderful to have your blog to follow. Our son is LCpl Eamonn Donahue is on the USS Bataan on his first deployment and his comments mirror what you have posted regarding the limits to communication. They were thrilled to get email! Hope your paths cross as he enjoys writing. Thank you for your very descriptive blog that makes us feel just a little closer to him.

  • Kate Hee says:

    Hello,
    Thank You for posting your blog about life aboard the ship(s). It’s great to see what the Sailors and Marines are doing. My son Cpl. Elliot Hee is also aboard the Mesa Verde for a couple weeks. Could you give him a little squeeze from his Mom please. Haha
    Thank You.
    Safe Journey,
    Kate

  • Richard Lowry says:

    Kate,

    I am aboard Mesa Verde this weekend. I will try to find him today and say hello.

    Richard

  • Richard Lowry says:

    Please ask your son to come find me and say hello. They usually know where to find me in the Fox Company office.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Richard

  • Greg Paulus says:

    Thank you, Richard, for keeping us all a little closer to our loved ones, at least vicariuously, through your work. My son, Cpl Will Paulus, is sailing on the Mesa Verde, after two deployments pounding the ground in Afghanistan.

  • Richard Lowry says:

    Greg,

    You are welcome. I will continue to post stories as long as I am out here.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Richard

  • Richard Lowry says:

    Greg,

    You sre welcome. I will continue to post stories as long as I am out here.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Richard

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