Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Loud Cruzers

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 0
Having a little fun with the noise meter outside of our apartment in Busan, Korea:

Monday, October 24, 2011

The New Breakdancing Capital of the World is...

Monday, October 24, 2011 0
...Seoul, Korea of course.  Check out the article:

We got to see some serious breakdancing during our time in Korea.  Here's a quick video of a group performing by our apartment during the big Global Gathering event in Busan, Korea:

They're probably a little bit better than the Fil-Am Rockers of Virginia Beach, circa 1984.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tennessee Food - Good, Bad and the Ugly

Sunday, October 23, 2011 0

The Good.  This is an obvious one in barbeque-crazed Memphis.  The ribs are something to write home about.  This nice rack is from the Rendezvous restaurant.  Simply awesome.

For BBQ near the base in Millington, I like Barbarosa's.  We took my niece Jena there during her visit.  The sauce on her face was her sign of approval.

Definitely in the good category.  Although not pictured here, also in the good category is sweet tea which is very prevalent in the south.  I like to mix half sweet and half unsweetened tea to tone down the sugar a bit.

Speaking of sugar, we move on to the bad.  There's a Chinese buffet restaurant in Millington.  While it's a good buffet at a decent price, we definitely had a bad moment there.  This sugary donut wasn't so sugary.  Instead of the sweet stuff, this usually delicious morsel was coated in salt.  Definitely not what the taste buds were expecting.  Even after telling our waitress about this obvious kitchen error, they didn't change out the salt-covered donuts that were still laid out in the buffet.  Other customers had to taste a mouthful of salt before the staff changed them out.  Like nobody was gonna notice?  C'mon man!

Cue in Clint Eastwood western theme music and a rolling tumbleweed.  We move on to the ugly.  Who leaves a plate of half eaten collard greens by a gas station pump?  There was a dang trash can just a few feet away.  C'mon man!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Gun Show!

Saturday, October 22, 2011 0

Here's CJ showing off his guns in front of the 5 inch gun onboard the USS STOCKDALE.  Carol and I are wondering how we're gonna get this kid to come out of his shell.  Notice how he's clamming up around the girls in the background.

So this is during a ship tour after my good friend Lex Walker's change of command ceremony.  The STOCKDALE is in great hands.

Every now and then, Carol hears CJ banging around upstairs when he's supposed to be in bed.  He'll sneak away to the bonus room to workout on the Bowflex or throw some weights around.  I do like the Bowflex by the way.  You can hang a lot of clothes on it.

I'm glad CJ is getting into fitness.  I'm pretty sure he's proud of his abs.  I know this because he told me he's proud of his abs.  I tell him that those aren't abs - that's malnutrition.  I shouldn't talk.  Carol and I were also lean creatures when we were his age.  Keep it up boy!


Meet Pickles, the newest addition to the Cruz family:

We think she's a girl but we're not really sure.  Our niece Jena found Pickles while turtle hunting at Leenie's lake house in Alabama this summer.

CJ managed to talk Mom and Dad into keeping Pickles even though his track record for keeping pets alive was less than stellar.  The recent fish tank experiment did not go well.  Jerry, George, Kramer and Newman - all dead.  It was like the underwater Bubonic Plague.  Bring out your dead!  Newman the bottom feeding catfish, lasted the longest, but alas, we could not stave off his untimely demise.  It was a busy couple of days for the toilet bowl.

Fortunately, our cold-blooded friend Pickles seems to be a hearty creature.  She's evaded death for a couple of months now.  It's relaxing to watch her swim around and let her eat out of our hands.  I also appreciate that she keeps her salmonella to herself.  Just kidding there.  She is totally disease free.  We think.

p.s.  Carol reminded me that CJ didn't talk Mom into anything.  I guess it was all on me to allow CJ to kill another animal, I mean have another pet.  Okay Pickles - it's up to you to live a long and healthy life.  To spite Mom of course.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy Birthday US Navy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011 0
Happy Birthday to the US Navy!  236 years young and going strong!

Manning the rails under the Golden Gate Bridge aboard the USS CARL VINSON.

Blue Angel doing its thing during Fleet Week in San Francisco.

 21 gun salute during a burial at sea.

 Flight operations while underway.

My oldest brother Alan enjoying a sunset at sea.

You can tell this one is old because there are Vikings and Tomcats in the picture.

In San Francisco, it's a romantic fog.  In San Diego, it's the May gray.

United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

VS-30 Diamondcutters doing our thing in Fallon, Nevada.  The troops are what it's all about.

A stacked flight deck.


Change of command ceremony onboard the USNS WATSON at Pier 8 in Busan, Korea.

I used to hunt these things for a living.

The USS SUMTER, LST 1181.  I did my midshipman cruise aboard this beast.  We were off the coast of Liberia for what seemed like an eternity in case American citizens needed to be evacuated.

They have no fly days on these things.  Mind boggling.

Dad as a young seaman.  Odds are I wouldn't be in the Navy if Dad didn't join the Navy.  Heck, I may not have ever stepped foot in the United States if Dad didn't do what he did.  Many thanks Dad!

Thanks for following along with me on this birthday card to the best Navy in the world.  Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

C'mon Man...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 0
After Demise of 'Don't Ask,' Activists Call for End to Military Ban on Transgenders By Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times

With homosexuals now able to serve openly in the military, the gay rights movement's next battleground is to persuade the Obama administration to end the armed forces' ban on "transgenders," a group that includes transsexuals and cross-dressers.

"Our position is that the military should re-examine the policy, the medical regulations, so as to allow open service for transgender people," said Vincent Paolo Villano, spokesman for the 6,000-member Center for Transgender Equality.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), which pushed to end the military's gay ban, is urging President Obama to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on "gender identity."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Flashback Friday - Fleet Week in Busan

Saturday, October 8, 2011 0
Here's a Navy flashback for you.  Right about two years ago to the day, while stationed in Busan, Korea, my command, Military Sealift Command Korea, had the great pleasure of participating in the Republic of Korea Navy International Fleet Review - better known as Fleet Week.  This event is held once every ten years.  It encompassed over 30 different Navies throughout the world and over 50 ships.  It was a lot of fun but also a very busy week.

This international event commemorated the 60th founding anniversary of Korea's armed forces.  Thousands of people, including domestic and foreign dignitaries attended the event to witness the massive gathering of navy ships and aircraft from around the world.

The ships were lined up for as far as you could see.  A fleet review is a naval event in which the head of state reviews the country's fleet as a show of strength or before a major engagement.  This British naval tradition dates back more than 600 years.

The beautiful city of Busan in the background.

Lieutenant Colonel Kim and Colonel Lee are in the middle from the ROK Army Port Operations Group.  Colonel Lee is the Commander of the ROKPOG.  On the right is my partner in crime, LTC Tripp Blanton, 837th Transportation Battalion Commander.  The incredible work relationships and personal friendships forged between our three units is something I'll always look back on with fondness.  It was only through these strong bonds that we were able to accomplish some good things on the Korean peninsula.  These guys were simply awesome.

This is aboard the Australian ship, HMAS Toowoomba during a Fleet Week reception.  Tough duty, but someone had to do it.

Of course you have to eat kangaroo while aboard an Australian ship.  Ate some emu too.

Another difference between US ships and Aussie ships - they have a bar!  The crew was kind enough to host an "after hours" event in their wardroom.

The premiere US ship participating in Fleet Week was one of my old ships, the aircraft carrier, USS GEORGE WASHINGTON.  My longtime friend, VMI classmate and squadron-mate, Steve "Whip" Blasch was serving as the Mini-Boss aboard the GW.  It was great catching up and tossing back a beer with one of my closest friends.  The Navy is always good for adventures and mini-reunions.

MSCO Korea hosted a Fleet Week Social in my building.  With so many stuffy events happening throughout the week, I think this informal event was a nice change.  The party was well attended by folks from various ships.  There were officers from the US, Korea, Australia, Canada, Great Britain and others.  And yes, with a crowd of about 150 foreigners, we managed to disturb the peace and ended up getting kicked out.  Of course we had a back up plan - Gwangalli Beach.  Somehow, I managed to catch my shoe on fire at the party.

Some of the crew from the Busan Foreign School.  They definitely enhanced the international flavor of the event.

So this whole week reminded me of one of my favorite things about the US Navy - the opportunity to meet new friends, whether they live next door or halfway around the world.  That's good stuff there.  I also got the bonus reminder that shoes are flammable.  Have a great Columbus Day weekend.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Flashback Friday - Are You Ready For Some Football?!

Saturday, October 1, 2011 0
I'm going with this post even though the Miami Dolphins are winless this year.  It's gonna be a long season.  I hope head coach Tony Sparano survives.

So here is this week's Friday Flashback.  It's actually Saturday, but who's counting?

In the fall of 1997 after returning from a six month deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS JOHN F KENNEDY while attached to the VS-24 Scouts, a couple of friends from the squadron hopped in a car (minivan actually) and headed south from Jacksonville to Miami.  It was a fun football weekend to hang out with good friends and watch my beloved Dolphins play at Joe Robbie Stadium.  Or was it called Pro Player Park or Sunlife Stadium at the time?  I don't know.  Whatever company was paying the big bucks for naming rights at the time.

Anything we did with our squadron-mates was always fun - hanging out on the water, parties, going to see movies, road trips, working out or grabbing beers.  It really didn't matter what we did.  There's nothing like being around a great group of guys to make a long deployment out at sea that much more palatable.

There was something off about this particular football weekend though.  Carol was always able to hang with the boys well - actually out-hang a lot of them.  But this weekend, she seemed...tired.  Very unlike her usual energetic self.  It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that we unraveled the mystery of her massive wide-mouthed yawns - she was pregnant!  We were absolutely shocked.  Nope, we weren't trying to have a baby at the time.  I should've known that the odds of slipping one past the goalie were greatly enhanced after being deployed for six months.  And so this is one of the first pictures of Carol with the little "Pinto Bean" inside her.  We nicknamed the baby Pinto Bean because when we found out Carol was pregnant with CJ, the doctor informed us that the baby was currently the size of a pinto bean.

BTW, that's our good friend Speedy on the right.  He spent most of the game looking at the red-headed cheerleader on the sideline through some binoculars.

Here is Knobby, Fran and Whip.  Fran was kind enough to let us load up in her minivan for the trip.  I gotta say, those things aren't sexy but man are they convenient.  Fran was always a ball to be around.  Our seats at Fruit of the Loom Stadium weren't great.  Matter of fact, our seats were almost the furthest away from the field that you could possibly be.  I say almost because that specific honor belonged to the people just two rows behind us.  Of course we had to turn around and tell those people that their seats really sucked.  That made us feel a little bit better.

Anyway, even though my team is struggling - and has struggled for the last decade or so - I am absolutely ready for some football.  Go Dolphins!
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