Well, we are still out at sea, with little
direction as to what our next priority is. The remainder of our port visits,
which were to be centered around max liberty and goodwill to the United Kingdom,
have all but been cancelled. We have spent every day since the attacks going
back and forth within imaginary boxes drawn in the ocean, standing high-security
watches, and trying to make the best of our time. It hasn't been that fun I must
confess, and to be even more honest, a lot of people are frustrated at the fact
that they either can't be home, or we don't have more direction right now. We
have seen the articles and the photographs, and they are sickening. Being
isolated as we are, I don't think we appreciate the full scope of what is
happening back home, but we are definitely feeling the effects.
About two hours ago the junior officers were
called to the bridge to conduct Shiphandling drills. We were about to do a man
overboard when we got a call from the LUTJENS(D185), a German warship that was
moored ahead of us on the pier in Plymouth, England. While in port, the WINSTON
S CHURCHILL and the LUTJENS got together for a sports day/cookout on our
fantail, and we made some pretty good friends. Now at sea they called over on
bridge-to-bridge, requesting to pass us close up on our port side, to say
good-bye. We prepared to render them honors on the bridgewing, and the Captain
told the crew to come topside to wish them farewell.
As they were making their approach, our Conning
Officer announced through her binoculars that they were flying an American flag.
As they came even closer, we saw that it was flying at half-mast. The bridgewing
was crowded with people as the Boatswain's Mate blew two whistles- Attention to
Port- the ship came up alongside and we saw that the entire crew of the German
ship were manning the rails, in their dress blues. They had made up a sign that
was displayed on the side that read "We Stand By You." Needless to say there was
not a dry eye on the bridge as they stayed alongside us for a few minutes and we
cut our salutes.
It was probably the most powerful thing I have
seen in my entire life and more than a few of us fought to retain our composure.
It was a beautiful day outside today. We are no longer at liberty to divulge
over unsecure e-mail our location, but we could not have asked for a finer day
at sea. The German Navy did an incredible thing for this crew, and it has truly
been the highest point in the days since the attacks. It's amazing to think that
only a half-century ago things were quite different, and to see the unity that
is being demonstrated throughout Europe and the world makes us all feel proud to
be out here doing our job.
After the ship pulled away and we prepared to
begin our man overboard drills the Officer of the Deck turned to me and said
"I'm staying Navy."
I'll write you when I know more about when I'll
be home, but for now, this is probably the best news that I could send you.
Love you guys.
The U.S. Navy placed this letter, along with
photographs of the event, on their web site for the
God Bless the United