Climbing the Rigging like Daddy Used to Do

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Searching for the Muse

I’m still working on a pirate book that I started (working title: Quidley’s Secret) and while it’s somewhere shy of half way to completion, work has kept me sufficiently distracted so I’m not pounding away on it. The Research provided some vexing situations since I sincerely try to do a first rate job of portraying people and situations with a high degree of accuracy. 
Even though Charles Barry’s ship, Dolphin, is not one of King James II’s own, I am relying on the table of British Navy Food Rations (see right) as a guide to what men at sea would eat in the late 1600’s. The fare was generally standardized as the century prepared to turn for vessels undertaking long voyages, if for no other reason than the health of the crew (and the likelihood that the voyage would be successful and profitable). A sick or lackluster crew could spell disaster at sea where there was no possibility of help if problems arose.
There is also the issue of ships convoying to the New World (from England to Jamaica). Dolphin, a fast schooner rig when schooners were relatively new, was chosen to get critical cargo to market quickly and those who commissioned the commercial venture wouldn’t want it slowed down by other vessels. That was the reason that they chose Dolphin. So they are alone at sea, canvas stretched, trusting to the weather gods that they will be delivered safely to the dangerous and complex Spanish Main.
The line between a merchant ship, a privateer (with a letter of marque) and a royal ship blurred significantly in this time period.
Naval Tradition
There is a family tradition to join the US Navy. My father served in the Navy in the Second World War. My daughter, Heather, married a navy man who was disabled in the line of duty in Afghanistan after they married. His father was navy as well, black shoe, destroyers.  Heather wants to pursue a commission in the US Naval Reserve in the Supply Corps. It’s a reserve billet, and I don’t think that she is planning on more than inactive reserve duty. For now at any rate. She has the education and corporate experience that would support this sort of a move, and she’s still young enough to pull it off.
Her husband separated from the Navy for medical reasons and is now a senior person at a US Navy Research facility. So there’s a lot of salt water coursing through that  branch of my family.
Will she earn a stack of gongs, like the old man did (left)? Maybe. Maybe not. But she feels the need to do this and I told her that I’d write letters and if necessary pull strings that I still have leading back to the Pentagon, etc.
I do understand that some this blogs readers served in the Army (America’s senior service) or in the Air Force. Some of you served in the Naval Service (Navy and Marine Corps) as well. There are experiences that one obtains in this sort of service – even in a reserve capacity – that can not be measured with a ruler or counted on a calculator.
And if it’s a war and if she goes in harm’s way – then that’s the way it goes and I’m sure that she will make us all proud. For now, she’s applied. Let’s see where she takes it?

23 thoughts on “Climbing the Rigging like Daddy Used to Do

  1. Dad was in the navy during WWII where he served on a mine sweeper at Okinawa. He brought back a rather nice Remington Rand 1911 that now resides with me. My father in law was a marine at the same place. I had an uncle who was present at the Bulge, and another uncle who was in the navy at the time but never deployed. I was army, and have two cousins who were army and airfirce respectively. One son in law was air force, something I enjoy ragging him about. I wish your daughter well if she pursues her choice as a reservist. Hopefully she'll never have to see live fire.

  2. You never know about live fire, do you? That's the 'down side' of being a reservist.

  3. Anxiously looking forward to the book. And fair winds and following seas to daughter on her Naval career – if she accepts it.

  4. At our family gatherings the majority of males are veterans. Goes back past the Civil War. Mainly Army,then Navy and the occasional stray jarhead and airman. Two females who married into the clan. One Marine, who married a Marine, and one Army who married a sailor. Her husband just retired as a Master Chief. All enlisted, we have yet to have an officer in the clan.

    An aunt who collects family history claims we had many ancestors serving during the Indian Wars, mainly as scouts and freighters.

    Good luck to your daughter!

  5. This country was founded not only by strong adventurous men, but by strong women as well. If Heather wants to join the Naval Reserve, and has seen what the consequences can be of having to see live fire, and still wants to join, then more power to her. Besides, as your daughter, I'm sure you taught her a thing or two about ducking at the appropriate time, as well as how to shoot straight.
    Go Heather!!!

  6. You seem to have had a more colorful family history than I had (with the exception of the pirates on one side back in the early 1700's). A lot of my family were coal miners and shop keepers when yours were pushing west and conquering Colorado.

  7. She has seen me – and her husband – so she knows the down side of things. Yet she still wants to do it. Amazing, but I admire her. She's a good lady (but I still think of her as a girl – being a dad).

  8. Unlike you and Well Seasoned Fool, there was no history of service in my family. My dad served (and was disabled) in WWII; Army, specifically the First Army under Patton, but dad was the only one I could ever find out about. Our family has only been in this country about a hundred years.

    Which is a long way of getting to something that pushing-65 year old me says that 18 or 20 year old me never would have understood. I think that being in the service, even if just a four year enlistment, would have been good for me.

    As always, we can't do the experiment of going back in time and seeing how life would have turned out, but I now see some very useful things I could have gotten out of it.

    A co-worker once said that our jobs were the equivalent of being Q in the James Bond universe. A bit of an exaggeration, but I have been involved with a few systems that the military and others use.

  9. The pattern seems to be moving away from well policed areas. Malcontents.

  10. Our family's service goes back to the Revolutionary War (served with Francis Marion), my Dad was WWI, numerous in WWII, Korea. A couple of us picked up with Vietnam through GWI. A cousin just retired as an Master Chief. We've been in every service, except I think, the Merchant Marines and Coast Guard. Congrats to her. And I can loan you my Muse, it's taken a left in Albuquerque anyway… sigh

  11. She's a remarkable young woman, LL. I'm sure she knows if things go hot she might get called active, and it doesn't deter her.

    And I'm sure she'll do a BZ job.

    I'm more like service, except in a "support" role (a "Q Jr"), but my Dad and most his brothers enlisted 8 DEC 41. One was too old, and one worked for the railroad, an "Essential Occupation" or whatever they called it then, but Dad and the other two served for the duration.

    Makes me proud to see our young ones picking up the mantle.

  12. Best of luck to your young daughter in all her endeavors. If that doesn't work out, then there's always the family history of pirates!

  13. All best to her.

    There's a bit of military history in our crew — one Virginia Preston was a founder of the VMI and other relatives held one rank or another including, oddly enough, Colonel of the Milwaukee Regiment(!). I had a brief spell in the Glos. Rgt., which is now no more.

    And the kid's halfway through the enlistment process — do well, go to Westpoint and become a real cadet, is my thinking. But we'll see.

    To arms and lock her up.

  14. Kudos to your daughter. I'm sure she will make you proud which ever path she takes.

  15. I'm former Italian Army enlisted, early nineties, missed the Sandbox. My only regret is not staying longer in the service.

    Kudos to you and yours, this us how great family traditions, and nations, are built. Thank you for your service.

    Claudio from Italy

  16. My favorite sea-faring book is "Moby Dick" so just shoot for that level of interest, fun and accuracy and you can't go wrong 😉

    Reserve or active, it's all service in my book. May your daughter make the decision that fulfills her needs.

  17. Dad was Army WW2. Grandpa in the Hungarian Army. Uncle in the Pacific.
    I wasn't in the military. I was USAF.
    Now the son, he took it seriously.
    SCPO and COB.

  18. Hit enter too soon.
    It's good of, and good for your daughter.
    Tell her we said thanks.

  19. Thank you, Ed. It's important for all of us to serve in ways that benefit the nation. Some have skills that are employed one way and some another, but it's all important.

  20. That's a high bar. The proof of the pudding is in the eating (or book, is in the reading).

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