October 31st is a special day for me.
Sure, it’s Halloween and I have kids and grandkids who squeal with delight when the sun finally sets and the Trick-or-Treating begins. I really enjoy that. Sure, there’s the whole fall season element. The air is crisp and cool, and there is weather again! It’s also one of my best friends in the world Birthday. Sean T. Bagby is one of those people who will always be there. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we last talked when we get together it is as if we pick it up right where we left off.
And one of the experiences I shared with Sean was the events of Halloween, October 31, 1986. A day that I have long considered a starting point. It could have gone a completely different direction, but today I sit here and talk to you because the events of that night were shared with the best crew in the entire US Navy.
The Reunion was a huge success. Seeing friends I hadn’t seen in 35 years was… well… amazing. These are just a taste of the main event…
What does roughly thirty-five years mean to you?
On September 11, 1982, exactly thirty-seven years and nine days after the end of World war II, the Navy placed USS Michigan SSBN-727 into commission. I picked that “35” number because it was more or less in the middle of things for those of us who served aboard her Gold Crew in the 1980’s. Now, a bit over thirty-five years later, many of those men – along with family members – gathered in what turned out to be a very crowded room at a hotel in Silverdale, just minutes from our old home, to reconnect and to consider what those years have meant…
The After Bilge in Lower Level Missile Compartment was the most disgusting thing I have ever had to deal with. I cannot count how many times I would deal with it and then have to puke. I could never figure out why it was so nasty. Now, after seeing my shipmates for the first time since 1987, I know why it was so bad.
To say that it was a great event would be the understatement of the century. In so many ways it was more than a reunion, it was more like a family gathering.
I know, I know… we’re all supposed to be upset, angry and shouting at each other. It’s all phony. On BOTH sides. The only real issue for us in this issue of the illegal immigrant children is that now we have been told about it, we have to think about it and share our inflamed opinions with the world via Social Media while simultaneously condemning anybody who disagrees with our manufactured opinion as something evil or stupid or communist or tyrannical or whatever makes us feel like we successfully insulted somebody who dared disagree with the opinion we’ve been told that we MUST have.