Earl Daniels' Ride on the USS Ramage410, 28 Jan 2012
Dave Mikkelson passed on this note from Earl Daniels:
We have had a very mild winter [in NC] compared to previous winters. No snow as of today. Last year we had snow on the ground from the end of November to the first of March.
I just returned from a unique experience. I boarded the USS Ramage last Tuesday in Mayport Fl and rode with the crew to Norfolk arriving on Friday. My son-in-law got permission for me to Join the crew. I had to opportunity to observe refueling at sea; target acquisition on a Lear Jet; helicopters doing touch and goes on the flight deck; and to participate with the crew in standing at the rail when the ship entered port at Norfolk. The ship was returning from an eight month cruise in the Med. Another check off on my "bucket list".
Here is a little more detail on the adventure:
I arrived in Mayport around 10:30 Tuesday morning. We were allowed to board around 2:00 PM after refueling was complete. There were 35 of us, referred to as Tigers. After a safety briefing we were given complete access to ship from the engine room to the bridge. Both the captain and the XO were Commanders in rank (LTC).
My son-in-law, Jamie, is a Senior Chief Petty Officer (E8). I spent most of my time with him. I ate in the Petty Officer's Mess and slept in the Petty Officer berthing area. The bunk beds were stacked three high and there were 18 in one area with one shower head; one commode; and, one urinal for the 18. Fortunately, the watches were so well staggered that I never saw more than two others in the bathroom facilities when I was in there. I slept in a middle bunk at the end of a row of three.
All the seamen had to carry on with their normal duties as if we were not there. When Jamie stood watch in the engineering room I was with him. Although termed "standing watch" Jamie was actually seated at a console, monitoring a screen of data; while, he also supervised two other seaman, one of whom routinely provided data to Jamie on the systems that powered the ship; the other seaman monitored the systems that provided operational support to the ship such as ventilation, potable water, environmental control, and electrical systems. One of Jamie's primary duties was to respond to request from the bridge regarding the ship's speed. Most of the time we cruised at 13 knots.
While aboard I observed the ship go from cruise speed to full speed (in excess of 30 knots); target acquisition by the ships weapon systems as a Lear Jet passed over the ship at 300 feet; refueling at sea; firing of the 50 Cal.; and, a number of touch and goes perform by helicopter pilots working to get their deck landing certifications.
Also, while on board I spent some time with Jim Ramage, the son of man for whom the ship was named. He was not career military. He had spent four years in subs and then went to work for Delta Airlines in sales and marketing. He currently lives in Williamsburg.
However, I can still say that I was glad I was in the Army. A destroyer is a very small island. And the crew I was with had been at sea eight months and eight days. We can truly be proud of those who serve. I got to know some very fine young men with some major responsibilities. Later, Earl
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