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Thinking About The Boats
1997 - by Sid Harrison ETCM(SS) USN(Ret) 
Up here in the North woods I haven't seen a boat sailor in a long time. (The guy up the road is a former Navy Musician from the WWII era and I'm getting real tired of him calling me up and playing reville on the trumpet over the phone).

Did 7 years surface and shore duty before a great 15 years in submarines. Always thankful for my diesel boat days - and always felt very fortunate and privileged to have caught that show before the curtain went down.

I remember some of the straight-coupled FBM sailors that, although I might have needled them from time to time, I really felt a bit sad that they had missed out on the diesels. Of course I knew Uncle didn't build submarines for our amusement and I strongly believe the FBM-Strategic-Threat was a major force in bringing the cold war to an end.

However, having said that - and strictly from this sailor's point of view - life before FBMs was a helluva lot more fun. Of course you take your laughs where you find them, but my most vivid memories sure don't involve sneaking around for 12 patrols with the nuclear pistol cocked and loaded. But rather, they include warm nights running on the surface in the south Atlantic with the burble of those Jimmys singing their song and me sitting easy on the bridge of a Guppy submarine under a sky full of stars, drinking coffee and talking with the OOD and lookouts. It just doesn't get any better than that. Also lots of good liberty, some danger, some hard work and a whole lot of good buds to enjoy my youth with.

Bill Riehl's Last Gig