Sunday, November 22, 2009


I suppose I'm technically a milblogger, but I don't really blog much about the goings on in the armed forces. Quite frankly, there are several folks out there who do that WAY better than I could ever hope to.

Being a Navy kid, I grew up all over the place. Florida, Rhode Island, DC, and even Naples, Italy. Some of my fondest memories, though, are of Brunswick Maine. We were stationed there from '76 to '81 (1st to 6th grade for me), and I consider it my hometown as much as anywhere else. I made friends there that I still see several times a year. One of them, Jason was the best man at my wedding, and his brother Adam was a groomsman. I've known them since I was 7 years old, and are as much a part of my family as my blood relatives. Jason even went so far as to have a son with the same birthday as me.
Brunswick is where I was in Cub Scouts, built my first tree house, and made my first model airplane. I would still have that plane, too, if I had not been playing with it at a friend's house, only to have his mom drive over it with her car. It was a 1/72 scale P-51D Mustang. Dad and I went Bass fishing on a lake with an Algonquian name that was hard-pressed to pronounce at age 9, and probably couldn't do much better with at 39.

Memories like that run deep.
Having said all that, I have to say I was a little sad when my sister sent me this.

Bases open and close all the time, as national defense priorities and missions change. Brunswick was the epicenter of maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) during the cold war. With the Soviets gone, there isn't much call for tracking what's left of their submarine fleet. Heck, we don't even call it ASW anymore. The venerable* P-3 Orion now hunts for drug smugglers off South America and performs stand-off intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) all over the place. For an ASW guy like my dad, Brunswick was the place to be back in the day.

For me, I was just a kid, living my life and waiting to see my dad climb down that ladder and run across the tarmac after a 6 month deployment. Actually, I don't think his feet ever touched the rungs. When that last P-3 lifts off today, I'll be thinking of the leaves, snow, woods, fishing, firewood, Jason T, Adam, Ann-Marie, Ben, Seth, Judd, Darcy, Jennifer, Kent, and Jason H. And shedding a bittersweet tear or two.

* There's an old saying in military aviation: When people start referring to the airplane you fly as "venerable", it's time to update your resume.

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