Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Can't Talk About This, But...

Take that first sip of coffee.


Why are you up at 4:30 this Saturday?

 Mmmm. It is what I do...get up early to smell the birds and hear the flowers.

Take another sip.

It is the fault of our Armed Forces. If you were in the Army or Navy or Marines of Air Force, you have to get up early. It's a rule or something.

That was many, many years ago.

I was impressionable. I guess it stuck with me. Besides I had to train.

What kind of training did you get out of bed to do?

Bunk. It was called a bunk. I'm not sure I can talk about this, but I...well, trained with the Navy Seals.

No you didn't.

It's know that you can't lie in a blog. Every morning we would have to get up and run for miles and then jump in the Atlantic Ocean and swim for miles. Then it was time for breakfast. You see, habits die hard. I still get up early, except sometimes I write in my blog instead of all that silly exercise.

Are you trying to say that you were a Navy Seal and went on secret missions?

I don't know if I can talk about this.

You see, in Little Creek, Virginia there is the Navy School of Music...and I was a student, and then an instructor. We had a barracks there. The Seals had a training facility there too. Already you can see a symbiosis developing, can't you? Anyway, at 4:30 a group of Seals would run by the barracks...I mean like run in step hollering a cadence. They were running to the ocean for their refreshing swim.

Since they always woke us up, we took to standing outside and watching them. Finally we figured out that we were kind of like Seals, so we decided to join them. So when they came by, we would follow in behind them shouting our own cadence. Our cadence was a bit more complimentary of musicians and less complimentary of Seals.

This is not...

We would run behind them for miles. Well, maybe about a quarter of a mile. I don't know why they had to run so damn fast. Anyway it became an expected show of comradeship and patriotism. We would run behind them sort of mocking them, and they would in turn change their cadence to say something about fruits and fairies. We were in lock step. We would sort of verbally challenge and they would verbally respond until we had to stop challenging because we would run out of breath.

That was stupid.

That occurred to us. We wondered what we would do if they suddenly stopped. We changed our strategic position and took to standing in a row drinking coffee as they ran past and kind of waving and saying things like, "Hey guys". Just to let them know we were on their side. Americans, you know.

So this is why...

So one day we were in the gedunk sitting...


Sorry, that is Navy talk for coffee shop. So we were sitting there one day eating or drinking coffee or something and in walked two Seals. You could tell they were Seals because they had those big knives in their boots. By the way, you could tell we were not Seals because we had the dreaded and feared Music Lyre on our arms. Any way these guys came in and grabbed a cup of coffee and said something to each other and turned and walked to our table and asked if they could sit down.

So you drank coffee with two Rambos? Did you get scared? After all, you made fun of them.

Don't be silly. Seals are anything but Rambos.

Let's say the thought might have crossed our mind that they might express some degree of concern about our early morn activities.

They asked if we were part of the crew that is out there in the early morning hours. We indicated that it was slightly possible that we might have been. They proceeded to tell us that they looked forward to us running with them and even had come up with some really nifty cadences to challenge us with. In essence, we were a little break from a boring routine and they enjoyed it. They challenged us to begin running again.

We indicated that we were hesitant to put them to shame but indeed would start running again, if they would just slow down. Alas, they were on a timeline and had to run so many miles in so many minutes.

They stayed at our table and talked for a few minutes. They were confident, polite guys who talked with intelligence and they knew who they were and we knew who they were, so they could see the respect in our eyes. When they got up to leave they shook our hands and slapped us laughingly on the back.

We sat for a few more minutes making comments like, "They weren't so tough", and then after a thought, "Yeah, they were." We did make an attempt to run with them a couple of more times and I will admit that their verbal cadences were highly imaginative.

So yes, I trained with the Navy Seals.

I see.

I had an intense Navy career, a little of which can be revealed. Like when I was involved in reviewing flying tactics with The Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels? The elite Navy Flight Performance Team? I'm not sure that I want to...

It is a long complicated story about how I came to be in the Officers Club bar at 7:00 a.m. in the Naval Base at Argentia, Newfoundland. That is a whole long story in itself.

We don't have time...

You know what the Great Circle is, don't you? It is the shortest route between our country and essence it is a north eastern arc over the North Atlantic, and Newfoundland seems to be smack dab on that arc. So the Angels flew into our base on their way to England or somewhere for a show, and dropped by the O-Club for private breakfast.

And you were there.

Yep. I was maybe one of five people other than the Angels that were there. Anyway I was sitting at the bar drinking coffee and one of the guys came up to the bar to get some more coffee and he said "Hi" and I said "Hi" and a conversation developed. For some reason I was surprised that he wasn't much older than me...essentially a kid.

Being the flight tactician that I am I had to ask him a question. I used my hands as visual aids. I asked about how those two planes could fly directly toward each other each simultaneously flipping ninety degrees at a time until they passed each other belly to belly inches apart. I didn't understand how they could be so precisely together.

He told me it is sort of a secret, and then in a lower voice, he said the two pilots sing to each other.


That is precisely what I said. He told me what they sang.

I guess I can tell you. I mean today with fancy computers and stuff they probably don't do that anymore. Let's see, how can I do this -- you see, certain words of the lyrics are emphasized which is their key to flipping ninety degrees together. Okay, I'll underline the emphasized words.

'Merr-ily we roll along. Roll along. Roll along'. They sang it slowly and precisely and together.

Can I believe this?

As you can see, I was reviewing tactics with the Blue Angels.

Okay, I guess it is time to shut this down.

But have you ever dropped sonobuoys from a P3B airplane searching for enemy submarines?

I don't want to hear it.

The things I did in defense of my country.

Good bye.

But it is really an interesting story....


  1. I love these stories - I could listen (read) them all day long!

  2. Wow. The things you've done! Lol. I really enjoyed these stories of your adventures. My son is considering joining the Navy in the fall.


  3. I'm with Gigi, I could listen all day. Such a fascinating life you've lead, tell us more!

  4. Bravo, Jerry! I always knew you were a hero!

  5. When that boldface guy tells you to stop talking, I wish you wouldn't listen.

  6. You've probably just violated a number of security clearances in this blog. No wonder you wake up so early.

  7. Lol, very interesting chats you have :) Love these, it's like reading a biography little by little only infused with much more humor than usual. :)

  8. Yay, another early riser. Hubby and I are up at 4am this morning, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. The very early mornings are the best. We get to see the sun rise and shine and the critters becoming active in the back yard.

    And double yay, another musician. Hubby is a musician. You probably already knew that.

    This post is really interesting. You have some great adventures to share.

  9. LOVE the story about training with the Navy Seals. I have always placed our country's military on a pedastool, forgetting that under the uniform, they are our neighbors, our friends and our family ... just with way more discipline and a helluva lot more courage than I could ever strum up ;)

  10. Brilliant stories, especially the one about the SEALS. I'm impressed at anyone who can sing and run at the same time. Too much puff for me to manage.

  11. Loved it! Remind me to tell you the story about the Thunderbirds flying for my wedding reception. And how, many years later, I handled the mammals at the Navy Mammal Handling Center.


  12. My friend, you are a story teller of the first order! I'm not usually a fan of "longer" posts, but your posts are ALWAYS a treat to read!

  13. OK now, you have GOT to stop skipping your medication. Open wide,, lol

  14. That explains the early routines. lol I love this story telling style of yours.