14 October 2008

You sank my battleship!

(Remember that game? I loved it.)

Today I had the opportunity to tour the USS Pinckney Navy Destroyer Ship, in town for Fleet Week. (One of the perks of my current job is its location – I was able to walk on over and take the tour over my lunch hour.)

Before going, I knew that there were certain rules to follow: no skirts, must wear closed-toe shoes, no weapons, etc. But other than that, I had no idea what to expect, as I'd never availed myself of this particular Fleet Week activity.

I must say - I was not disappointed. It was really cool!

Granted, I only spent about 40 minutes on board, and not months at sea...but it was a neat experience to be aboard a fully functioning Destroyer.

Our “tour guide” was a Petty Officer 1st Class (if I remember correctly), but I don't remember his rating at the moment. We went from aft to forecastle(pronounced "foe-xal") and inside the bridge. There are about 300 crew (enlisted + officers) and she hails from San Diego. The name Pinckney comes from Navy Cook First Class William Pinckney, who received the Navy Cross after saving the life of a fellow crew member. And, to this day, because Pinckney did not like to eat beets, there are not - nor will there ever be - beets served for mess on the Pinckney. Ever.

(I'm just going to go ahead and apologize to to any actual Sailors and/or other Navy personnel out there - I know I'm butchering the lingo. I thought I knew a lot of military jargon, but with the Navy? Well...it's just completely different from everyone else!)

Security was tight...Navy folk milling about with machine guns, keeping an eye on the tourists. On the forecastle top deck, we saw the BAG (Big. Ass. Gun. - my own acronym). We had seen the 50-calibers mounted on the aft deck...but the BAG is way bigger than that, and only shoots about 20 rounds/minute. It was HUGE.

I took some pictures on my phone and will put them up tomorrow - legal pictures. (Shoot, the Navy has more pics up on their own website than I took on my little phone...so no OPSEC compromises there...)

Also - I'm not gonna lie - all that powerful machine gunnery? *Totally* hot.


Bag Blog said...

Last October we were in Corpus Christi and toured the Lexington - an old aircraft carrier. It was the highlight of our visit to South Texas. You can go back to my archives for photos.

I would love to see a real, working destroyer complete with real Navy guys.

Buck said...

Ah, I think Fleet Week is a Great Good Thing, especially for the tours. It's a good thing to show the taxpayers what their money buys... and how that stuff is run and maintained.

FWIW... my SN2 was the Chief Engineer on a DDG... the USS Mason (DDG 87). I was privileged to attend the commissioning of this fine warship back in 2003 and the experience was something I'll never forget. Sam (SN2) took the family on a couple of tours of the ship that went waaay beyond the standard "nickel tour." That was a great good thing in and of itself, except for the fact that my youngest son was overly impressed with the Navy. One black sheep in the family is quite enough, thankyouverymuch! ;-)