Sunday, September 21, 2014

Goodbye Old Friend

I came across some sad news earlier in the week. Last Monday morning just after midnight CST the ship I was stationed on in the Navy, the USS Fresno, LST 1182 was used in a training exercise and sunk in 18,000 feet of water about 250 miles northeast of Guam, in waters I'd sailed across many times with her. I never envisioned this being the demise of the old girl.

The last I'd heard the ship had been sold to the Peruvian Navy but apparently that deal was never finalized.

She was home to me for more than 3 years in the mid to late '70s and whether I realized it or not then, that gray lady had a place in my heart. How could she not? Together with the other crew members we'd spend countless hours tending to the ship's needs; painting, mopping, waxing, preventive maintenance. It was never ending. She returned the favor by keeping us safe in some difficult seas and carrying us around the globe. So yeah, it's a little sad for me to think that she's now laying at the bottom of the ocean after having been blown apart and sunk. She deserved so much better.

Here's a link to some photo pages I assembled years ago from my time in the Navy and here's a link to a series of blog posts I wrote reminiscing about those days.

During my last Western Pacific deployment I noted each day in my journal our latitude and longitude. My plan was to some day have a large wall map where I could plot out those coordinates and look back on where I'd been. Never did I imagine then such a thing as Google Earth (you'll need to download Google Earth to view the kmz file that follows) and the ability to merge those coordinates with my journal entries as well as photos from those days into one package as I've done with this file. The video below is a tutorial I put together to show you how to work with the file and view the data. It's quite cool actually.

The Flexible Frez is no more but she continues to live on in the hearts of those who served on her. Goodbye old friend.

Edit: I just came across this video of the actual sinking of her. She stood strong!





4 comments:

John Hill said...

Thank you for your service, brother!

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks, John!

Kent Johnson said...

Well said Kevin. My old ship is in the Turkish navy. Renamed TCG Göksu (F-497).

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks, Kent!