Sunday, April 5, 2009

Excerpt: Sunday's 1-liner

They climbed a set of stairs— Sonarman Wilkins called it a “ladder”—and got a quick view of the Radio Shack, the helicopter hangar, and the Combat Information Center.

Wilkins said, “Now, we’d love to show you how cool this place is when all the radar are up and running, but we can’t do that while in port. So, we’ve lit up a couple simulated radar scopes to give you an idea of what things look like when we’re underway.” She described how some radar was for detecting surface ships, others for air traffic.

One of the visitors asked if the frigate was able to land and carry a jet airplane. Julian rolled her eyes and coughed, stifling a laugh. Dad caught a glimpse of her, scrunched the left side of his mouth, and scratched his left buttock so that only she could see. Sonarman Wilkins fielded the absurd question as diplomatically as possible.

From there, they visited the Bridge.

That’s when Julian first laid eyes on Lieutenant Donna Pichon, the ship’s Navigation Officer. She wore her dress white uniform, and the girl noticed how sharp the creases were, how “together” her face and posture and demeanor. The creases and such weren’t lost on her dad, either.

Sonarman Wilkins turned it over to the Lieutenant, who then described some of the functions of the navigation team known as the Quartermasters. Pichon was good—she immediately sought participation. She asked if anyone knew which way was north. A couple people mumbled among themselves. But Julian simply pointed at a 45-degree angle.

“Yes—very good. Gold star, there!”