So much stuff to write and it's all swirling about in my head. I was on the run all morning and loved every minute of it.
I was up at 0600 so I could be sure to be on time for everything. you know punctuality is not my strong suit.....but if it's something for my Dad and something for the Navy.....every effort is made.
I made it to colors. Words can't really express how you feel when you stand there on the pier, your hand over your heart.....facing the oldest commissioned warship in the Navy and you hear the cannon and you see the flag and you hear our National Anthem.
Then I popped down for my first look at at USS Freedom. I was way early for my 0900 tour, so I popped up to see the parents.
On to the tour - I was met first off by LTjg Tisdale, the PAO, then the OOD, then my official tour guide CDR Doyle, the XO. My first thought as I spoke with LTjg Tisdale was that he was a great representative for the ship. You want someone personable and enthusiastic leading tours and talking to outsiders. But the fact of the matter is everyone I came into contact with was just as excited to be there, just as friendly. Out of 55 person crew, I spoke with more than a dozen Sailors and a few officers and they were all bright and friendly and happy to show you what they did. Their excitement at being part of the newest, and coolest ship in the Fleet was obvious and contagious. As the XO said "It's a hotrod!"
I found myself just saying "Wow!" a lot.
What struck me first is how compact it was. I guess that's not the normal reaction, but my experience is aboard USS Kearsarge..... For one thing, even with visitors swelling the ranks, there were maybe 3% as many bodies on board, compared to Kearsarge. I found this especially noticeable on the bridge. Anytime I was on the bridge during my time on Kearsarge there were more than a dozen Sailors working, whereas the manning the bridge on Freedom will take four to six Sailors.
We walked out into the cold December sunshine and CDR Doyle announced the particular area we were standing in was the forecastle and I was confused because on Kearsarge it was inside. But of course everything here is different. Still I was glad when she commented on it, after all, I don't want to think I'm losing it!
I was afraid a lot of the modular talk about the mission packages would be lost on me, but they dumbed it down for me, lol.
OK, I have to run, but there is more to write and I will.
If you have the chance, get up there tomorrow (Sunday) and have a look for yourself.