On Ramp back to the Highway

Submariners On That Internet Highway
JUNE 1997:  Some Cyber-Thoughts Upon Turning 61
As posted on a Submariner Board in 1997
by Sid Harrison                           How It All Began

I've been busy getting the education (I currently teach at a small two year coll), chasing the bucks, getting kids through college and up to now pretty much forgot most of "that other life". I pay my annual Fleet Reserve dues and that has been the extent of my contact with the Navy life.   (Dec. 2003 Note:   Sid is now FULLY retired.)    So we got our discharge from active duty service and donned our protective civilian coloration for a while. But sometimes the smell of diesel smoke or some other reminder brought it all rushing back.   

A few years ago a fellow Lions Club member (a retired DBF HMC(SS)) and I used to sit in the kitchen on an afternoon after he had been deer hunting on my place. Just two former sailors having a few beers and talking the boat-shit - and it was like an oasis after crawling through a desert... to have someone you didn't have to explain anything to.

I've been on the internet about a year and only recently been "reverting to type" and doing some serious remembering. Been out almost as long as I was in. In the process of surfing the boat links, as well as other Navy units, and other branches of the military, I come to the conclusion that we are all "lifers".

What we did at 17, 18 or 19 in whatever unit and whatever time and circumstances has defined us. There is an advertising gimmick whereby they post an ad and it says, "Advertising works...You're reading this aren't you"? Now if you think because you did a hitch and got out you're not a lifer...well you're reading this aren't you?

Do we know any 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 year old guys who worked for _________Inc. (fill in the blank) who sit around and swap tales of life back at the old Widget Plant. I think not.

I'm dry. Turn the music up. I'm buying this round.

Straight Board

Sid Harrison ETCM(SS) USN(Ret) Colton, NY

Posted a few years later:

Recently I was thinking about a maintenance man/boiler operator we had at a plant where I worked a few years ago. We sent him to a boiler school in Pennsylvania and when he returned he came to my office one day with a handful of photographs. They consisted of pictures of his motel room, a view of the front of the motel and the place where he had eaten. He was a straight-coupled civilian, in his mid-fifties, and I guess going to that one-week school in Pa. and staying in that motel was the most thrilling thing in his life . As I read the many web pages by submariners and as I check Martini's Board each day I think about how fortunate we all were to have had the experience.

So one-hitcher or lifer, bad duty and good: appreciate the fact we don't get very excited over some short stay in a Pennsylvania motel.

I knew a fellow once that said his worst fear was someday to be sitting on the porch at 70, rocking and saying, "Well, I coulda".

I'm sure glad we did!

3 blonde and sweets, 1 black n bitter and 2 cups of bug to control.

Below is a link to a page that I copied from the late Sam Orr's website. He was a retired Navy SEAL with whom I used to swap e-mails. During the latter part of the 1990s Sam posted some very thought-provoking essays on his webpage. It was maintained by his son for about a year after his death and has now been removed from the net.

I think that his commentary about UDT/SEAL men apply very well to us submariners.