Here is the next post from ENS Cook as she travels with the CGC Forward. She sent it to me yesterday evening, so as you read it take yourself back to your relaxing Saturday afternoon…
This will be her last post until her next deployment, which should be sometime next month. Stay tuned to find out where she will report from next.
Today is my last day underway with the FORWARD. The crew is ecstatic to return home after a long patrol. I hope they all get a change to get some rest and relaxation!
I stood my last two watches in the Engine Room and the Combat Information Center. While in the Engine Room I was able to see all of the technology that keeps the boat running. The engineers on board allowed me to accompany them on their rounds and explain what each piece of equipment does. I’ve never been exposed to how machinery works. I guess you could say I’ve taken that kind of technology for granted. But to see the engines and pumps that keep the boat moving and functional was intimidating and fascinating at the same time. I would try to recall what MK3 explained to me but truthfully I would probably leave the important parts out. If you ever get the chance and happen to meet anyone in the engineer department, definitely ask them about the technology on board. You won’t regret it. Prior to getting on board I wanted to see the Combat Information Center. I didn’t know anything about it before getting underway but I got a few chances to experience it. What I found the most interesting is the technology and how the area has to be kept cool to keep the machinery from getting too warm.
Being on the FORWARD was rewarding and I have a much greater appreciation for anyone who is stationed on a boat. The hours on a boat can be awkward and unlike a usual nine to five job. I was underway for three days and stood a few watches and I am exhausted. I was pretty much a passenger (or a ship –rider; thank you DC3) who stood two four-hour watches a day. Think about the crewmembers who stand watch, do their assigned collateral duties (jobs in-addition to the ones they may already have), fix and repair the boat when necessary, and think about their families back home. It’s a big commitment. But for some its what they love about the Coast Guard. Oh, and I can’t forget about all of the drills. I was able to experience a lot of drills with the crew.
Returning home and pulling into the pier was one of the most enjoyable parts of the being underway. It’s not because I was thrilled to be going home or anything like that. I don’t know if any of you have ever seen a homecoming for a ship or a deployed team, but it’s probably one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen. Yes, the family members of the crew were waiting for their friends, spouses, or family members with signs and anticipation. I felt privileged to be there.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience on the FORWARD. I don’t know if I’ll decide to go on a cutter for my next tour but it’s a possibility. Thank you to Commander Durham and the crew of the FORWARD for the opportunity! It’s surely one I will never forget.
Until next time…
-ENS Lindsay Cook