Ship's Crest (my tattoo, too)
We are leaving today on a drive to Dallas, TX, for my ship, USS FRANK E EVANS DD 754, reunion. This is the one thing I look forward to each year. It gives me another chance to see my old shipmates and those who came before and after my tour.
(HMAS MELBOURNE R21 Crest)
Another great thing about our reunions is that almost everyone has had someone from the Australian Aircraft Carrier, HMAS Melbourne R-21 in attendance. This year I expect around five men to show up. Some for the first time!
Many of those Aussies are suffering from PTSD pertaining to the 3 June, 1969 collision that took the lives of 74 brave men (though none of the Aussies had anything to do with the decisions made that night.) I know one who will be there who went into the sea to try and save our guys. His torture is that he couldn’t save one more. It doesn’t matter that if he tried and helped pull two from the water, but he would have gone down with the front half if he went after one more. But all were affected that night.
The reunion has been a big help in easing the PSD of our survivors. Maybe it will help the Aussies, too. There is a time set aside for the survivors and the families of the lost and the Australian sailors to meet in private for their time open up and to heal.
And there are many more, Aussie and US sailors, who visit the association's Facebook page that will not be able to make it to the reunion due to age, or physical limitations. But we feel their spirit at the toasting of the evenings…Lest We Forget…
It will be a busy week and I may not have time (or be able) to post much. I have a pub crawl to attend, and several evenings of buying each other a beer or 12. But I will try, and I will try to post pics as I do. I want you to meet my mates.
So till next time, ta-ta. And may you have fair winds and following seas to help you navigate through life.