Sunday, December 13, 2009

OS1 Stulce 13 Dec

So I promised that I would create one final blog prior to my departure from SHERMAN. Things have been very busy this last month so I will apologize for the tardiness.
A couple of items fresh off the press that come to mind are our recent trip back to Panama. For those of you that remember the first time we went to Panama we conducted a community relations project with a local orphanage. During our recent trip to Panama another good portion of the crew visited the orphanage. During this particular visit the kids were presented with presents in the form of soccer balls, soccer goals, and bicycles. This gift of giving started and was led by BM1 Jesse Duff. The kids went absolutely crazy over all of the presents and had an amazing time.
I personally made sure to take my time and stop by the house I went to the first visit and see a group of kids. I know what kind of environment these kids are growing up in now; however, I do not know what they have seen over the course of their lives. That being said, it gave me great pleasure to walk into the house and have them all surround me because they remembered me from the last time. I have done a lot of good volunteering over the course of my career but nothing has given me greater pleasure than the looks on their faces when I walked back in that house.
While I am on the topic of giving, SHERMAN has also recently conducted their yearly acceptance of CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) sheets. I am happy to announce that as of today they have already surpassed last years mark and collected over 17,000 dollars for local, national, and international charities. Well done, even in these trying times that a lot of people are facing we can still put something together for others.
So, let's talk about what we have been up to for minute as I am sure everyone back home wants to know about. I obviously cannot go into any great detail specifically but SHERMAN has been very busy. SHERMAN will leave this patrol with a combined seven cases completed. Due to the sensitive nature of these cases I don’t want to comment on the specifics of some of the more recent cases however I think it would be safe to say that at one point in time this cutter with the help of our aviation detachment was able to stop four vessels at once. In the world of operations that is a huge feat and everyone involved deserves a round of applause.
Alright, now I know there is going to be a lot of "oh man" and "say it isn’t so" but it is true what you hear about the current status of POD trivia. I am once again the leader. I will add that this is not by a huge margin however as the Captain himself is on my heels. POD trivia has been a huge part of my life the last three months and I have officially learned as of late that it takes 350-500 official licks to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop. Now, that wasn’t one of the questions but since we have been on this trivia binge lately a couple of us thought it would be fun to look up. In all seriousness though, thank you to ENS Brown for keeping the game real. What a fantastic way to pass the time underway.
In conclusion here are a couple of notated things:
1) Underway moustaches have been officially removed. Your loved ones will have absolutely no unwanted facial hair present when you get that first hug.
2) Your sons and daughters will more than likely be returning home to you for the holidays after being underway for three months, many of them for the first time.
This means you more than likely will have to correct their "Sailor Talk" at least more than once. Even possibly at the dinner table. I wanted to again thank everyone onboard for all of their hospitality. I couldn’t have asked for a better unit to serve with. As for the loved ones back home, be proud of what your loved ones do out here. I appreciate the comments on my previous blogs and I am glad they helped you throughout the process. I look forward to getting back to Anchorage as I am sure my crew up there does as well.

Good Luck to everyone and Happy Holidays.

GM3 Luke Milyard 12 Dec

Waking up every morning to a colder and colder sun rise means only one thing for the crew of SHERMAN, we are almost home. The anticipation grows everyday knowing that we are gaining closer every second to America and our loved ones. We have seen a lot during these three months of patrol but nothing looks better now then spending the holidays in port.
The Gunnery division has been working diligently in preparing for SHERMAN’s major ammunition offload in Seal Beach, CA. Knowing that this offload is the only event that stands in the way of home port the crew has been preparing to get this job done safely and quickly.
This evening flight deck movies were held for the crew (our underway movie theatre), and tomorrow afternoon we are looking forward to shooting skeet off of the flight deck. So even though our patrol is coming to a close our morale is staying high.
This in port is going to be a very busy one for the crew of SHERMAN with a full overhaul scheduled, and a lot of the crew leaving for “C” schools throughout the inport. I am looking forward to a vacation back home to the east coast to catch up with family and friends and see how much my nephew and niece have grown! Also like most of the crew I am looking forward to hitting the slopes in Tahoe. All in all this patrol has been a good experience for us all, although long it was very successful and we can feel good knowing we made a huge difference.