We Respect and Honor the Men & Women of the US Military
|Forwarded to me through the Internet
A Navy Salute from Germany
The USS Winston Churchill is an Arleigh Burke class AEGIS guided missile
destroyer, commissioned March 10, 2001, and is the only active US Navy
warship named after a foreign national. If you haven't served onboard a
Navy ship "Manning the Rail" is a ceremony usually reserved for only
high ranking dignitaries, such as Heads of State.
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
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. Churchcill 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 bridge wing, 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.
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