Thursday, May 28, 2009

GREAT NEWS and.... Not so good news...!

I'll get right down to the "GREAT NEWS" - I found out today that I was promoted to Senior Chief!! That is E-8 in the USN. E-9 is highest you can go. I found out today around 1600 from my Commanding Officer, Administrative Officer and Command Master Chief. I got the news with a few of my Yeoman around, that made it so much better.

So going back to my choices that I posed a few days ago...remember my four choices? Well, this was not even in the plan as this was the last opportunity for me to make it - well this brings a new twist on things.

So Maria and I have a decision to make.......retire from USN next year as planned or stay USN for the next 5 years. So that would mean no full-timing for us for at least four more years. Decisions - Decisions! This is something I really have to think about.

The not so good news is that I still do not have my final grade from my fourth class I took this last semester. I received all other grades, and have been waiting for the last seven days - getting a little ticked off about this.

Anyway, today was full of the best news I've received in a few years!!

For all those on the road, be safe.

Chat later -


Thursday, May 21, 2009

All Down - Now time for FUN!

I'm sure you can figure out what I'm talking about by reading my last post....NO more classes until 1 June.

We are planning our trip to Morro Bay, CA very soon. Much more information to follow on those plans.

Our boys are doing good - we just try to hard to keep them on task. My oldest son said to me the other day..."Dad, I'm a senior - I want to have fun before I can't fun anymore....." Unfortunately, he just doesn't get it, but I think that's a typical teenage thought. He will be 18 in 39 days. (Yes, we're counting.....).

Maria is working hard with her daycare business. We both cannot wait to close those doors and we both move onto our next life-chapter.

We are still trying to figure out what we will do next September when I retire from USN. Our viable options:

#1: Move to Alaska and pursue our careers in the Federal Civil Service
#2: Get in our MH and start a Workamp "career"
#3: "I" get in the MH and work on MBA while woking as a camphost
#4: Stay here in our house in Hanford; Maria continue her business and I work on MBA full-time (I also get my GI Bill).

So here's to all my readers: Help us - tell me what you think. #1, 2, 3 or 4 - and if you choose, give me a reason why.

Stay safe - chat later.


Monday, May 18, 2009

2 Down -- 2 To Go!!

My title is concerning my college classes; 2 down and 2 more left this semester. I take the finals for both those classes this week. I'll be done by Friday, then no school until Monday, 1 June. Next semester I'm only taking two classes.

I just wish I could get my two high school aged sons to understand the importance of college - instead I spend my time getting them "to school". Maria and I are just about at our witts end with their nonsense. Their good kids - just too much playing around for me.

Anyway, be safe on the road.

Chat later-

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back to "normal"

Since my last post, I have been quite busy ensuring plans for the Memorial Service and a retirement ceremony.

First the Memorial Service: As you recall in my last post, two of my Sailors had passed. One family requested we did not have a command memorial service (they didn't want to travel back to CA and relive it); while the other had told me they would like to have one. So my marching orders were given.

To set up a U.S. Navy Memorial Service with full military honors is no small task. We got it all planned and executed without any flaws or "glitches". My Yeoman performed the full military honors again, as they did at the funeral, and it was again a grand and precision accurate ceremony.

The following day was a "full dress" retirement ceremony for one of my Sailors. He is retiring after 20 years and I was his MC (Master of Ceremonies). He had every honor that he could have; parading of colors, flag folding ceremony, flag passing ceremony, the Navy Wife poem, and "The Watch" poem w/bells. It was a great ceremony - and again, another one with accurate precision and no "glitches".

I'm very proud of all my Sailors that were in all three ceremonies over the last week - these are all ceremonies they will remember and cherish.

Also, over the last week, I completed 2 of my 4 classes. I received one "final grade" for one class; but, the other I'm waiting for my 13-page research paper to be graded, then I'll get my final grade.

So here is to waiting.....

The other 2 classes will be completed this next Friday. I have 2 finals to take; one on Thursday and the other on Friday. Then no school until 1 June!!!

Which brings me to our FUN plans. Maria and I are taking our motorhome out for the first time since Thanksgiving 2008! We have plans to go to Morro Bay, CA. I'm sure it will be great weather, and a much needed - BREAK! For both of us.

Everyone be safe.

Chat later -

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I realize it's been awhile......

Where do I begin? Well for the last two months I've had many more downs than ups. I have been pounding hard at work (that seems to always be the only constant), I've been deeply engulfed with taking four classes this semester, I've been to San Diego TWICE for contractural evaluations for work and lastly, and most profound events, have been the death of two of my Sailors.

I don't know how to feel about these deaths. These two women were both outstanding, responsible adults - and mothers.

The first death occurred on 22 April at 4:00 pm (PST) at Stanford University Hospital. She had given birth to a baby girl just five days before her death! She contracted the horrible and devastating MRSA virus and was life-flighted from our base hospital to Stanford University Hospital (3 hours away). She passed away about 20 hours later. She was married and her husband had been stationed at our command a few years ago before he separated from the Navy. Her funeral was this past Thursday in North Carolina.

The second death occurred on 26 April at 5:00 pm (PST) on highway 41 North coming from Paso Robles, CA back home from a weekend visit with her family. She had given birth to a baby girl just 33 days before her death! She, her boyfriend and baby (in back seat) were hit head-on at a HIGH rate of speed by a 19-year old that was driving at excessive speed - this was on a two-lane highway. She died instantly, her boyfriend is on lifesupport at a local hospital and her now 45 day old baby is in critical (but stable) condition at a local children's hospital. The 19 year old boy walked away with minor injuries (don't even get me going on that....)! Yesterday was her funeral in Santa Maria, CA. I attended since it was only 3 hours from the base. I had asked all my Yeoman (our USN job title) if they would like to participate in the full military honors - they all said YES! It was an awesome funeral and graveside full military honors ceremony. My Yeoman were fantastic!! I'm so proud of them. We honored our fallen Shipmate - I know she would have loved to see that. She was respected during her life, and I know my Sailors really believed they needed to do that to help them with closure.

You may be wondering why the second death seems to be a heavier impact. That is because she was a Yeoman, a Sailor we all worked with every single day. My other Sailor, had been at our command for a very short time and she was an Aviation Rating and was on a watchbill that had her working nights - people rarely saw her. That does not lessen the impact of her death on any level. It's just she was not a direct influence on my other Sailors as the other one was.

I mourn for both of these fine, outstanding women. I wonder if they have peace. They both passed in a very horrible way and I just can't seem to get past that. Yesterday's funeral was very surreal to me, but it also was the beginning of helping me put my feelings into perspective.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the first funeral because it was held in North Carolina. The command sent a command representative to escort her on the plane and to her resting place. I would have gone with him, but with the second death - I just made the call that I needed to be there for my Yeoman and take care of all the Casualty Assistance for both families. In order to do that, I needed to be at the command. I now know that I made the right decision.

Both of my Sailors have been laid to rest. But the unanswered questions linger. Both families are torn for completely different reasons - but at the heart of both of these deaths is that two babies have lost their mothers. What a devastating tragedy.

With all this in mind - I still have my wife, two "teenage" sons (and we all know how much fun that is.....!), work must go on, and have finals in all classes this next week.

I know I'll get through this - but it certainly is taking its toll.

Please pray for the families of my two Sailors. They will need all the power that God has to get through this.

For all of you on the road: Be safe!

Chat later -