By: Garland Davis
They say the best ships a sailor serves in are his last one and his next one. How many times have you departed a ship feeling the anticipation of something new? A new challenge awaits. Your old ship has become monotonous and a grind and you find yourself glad to put it behind you. Even as your stride lengthens when you walk away, you feel an underlying regret to be leaving. There are men, and, I suppose in our new, ever changing Navy, women with whom you have shared some rough seas and hard times and some of the best of times. You are going to miss them. But this time, you will keep in touch.
But you eventually lose track. As the years and water pass under the keel, you forget names and which ship. You remember the good times. You’ll start a sea story…
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On one of the pages I follow, a question about the USS Ling caught my attention:
“I’m curious What is so rare about this submarine? What is unique about her that justifies saving her over another similar sub?”
My response proved that the spark is still there:
Your question referred to “another similar sub.” There aren’t many left.
Quantifying the significance for things like the Ling is relies on careful interpretation. Most people might look at her and see either an eyesore, “some war thing,” or scrap value. For folks like Paul, the Ling (in its present state) might represent a colossal failure of an organization to either preserve it or relocate it before the point of problematic return.
I see the Ling as a ghost of a former time when people actually were interested in bringing history to their community… either feisty Vets or inspired civilians who campaigned…
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Recently I was following a post on one of my submarine Facebook pages. The original guy had posted about a lack of recognition. To be fair, he had a lot of supporters and frankly I can’t give him a hard time since I have seen some of this through the years myself.
“Okay I have somewhat of a bitch to air:I have been looking for a new career however when I get the part of the application for Veteran Status I find that I do not fit any of the categories!!!! It simply appears to me that the time I spent on the XXXXXXX does not matter since it was only the Cold War and I didn’t get some little medal for doing what I so proudly volunteered to do – Serve My Country!!! Apparently those of us that served in the 70s – 80s are not a protected status.
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