Amazing how fast these patrols go by. The last few weeks have been filled with the usual underway fun. There has been a certain computer guy that has brought back the "fist pump" from way back in the day as the new method for displaying absolute awesomeness. Nevertheless it has been fun to watch. SHERMAN has been patrolling diligently throughout the last couple weeks. Work hours have been long and job lists have been cleared.
Recently we had a port call in Panama. I had never been to Panama before this time however, I must say I enjoyed it thoroughly. There is nothing easier to deal with than a city with gigantic malls and lots of shopping. Even better than that, they use American currency. I managed to get some great food from Panama and the hotels there were definitely top notch. The second afternoon about 30 members of SHERMAN took a time out and offered assistance at Aldeas Infantiles SOS, an orphanage located outside of Panama City. We helped around the orphanage with painting and outdoor maintenance of this peaceful haven. After the work was completed we were treated with lunch provided by the mother and children of each house. Each home unfortunately houses about nine children. I watched them as they waited for me to finish my lunch in anticipation of the ride on the back they were all waiting for. It was a real pleasure to be able to bring happiness to those children even if just for one afternoon.
On the third and final day I found myself ultimate relaxation with a fellow first-class BM of all things. We went to a golf course called The Summit. We started off the beautiful morning with breakfast at the clubhouse followed by a half hour at the driving range to shake off some of the rust from not playing for a year and a half. All I have to say, is I do not think I hit the rust off. Both of us having not played in some time suffered the same fate. We found ourselves chasing balls and coming nowhere near either of our handicaps. Nevertheless, there was sunburn involved on my account. The pool followed on the seventh floor of the Veneto hotel and mixed in with the relatively cloudy day and nice party music in the background was the perfect ending to a relaxing port call.
Now in closing I want to mention a couple of items that you can take for what they are worth but I think I have learned valuable lessons from.
Number One: If you are not really capable of growing a mustache you probably should not try to compete with the guys that are capable of growing them. I myself have not partaken in this underway tradition, but I have seen many good men suffer because the attempt was made. I also am starting to think if you want to command a cutter in the Coast Guard, the ability to grow a moustache is a must. This of course is just an observation.
Number Two: Never think as a TAD guy onboard a vessel that you are going to take out the CO and BMC when it comes to P.O.D Trivia time. I was approached at a time that I will not say and was told that I could not be allowed to be in first place. My response time to trivia has never been the same.
Well I think this should do it for a little while. I wish everyone ashore the best, especially my family and everyone's family onboard SHERMAN.