…Old Friends Reunite!
“Voyage of the Motor Vessel Sparrow” series inspired by Bob Carney. written by Boomer Jack Boardman
“Port-of Call New London” hosted by Linda Davis
Previously—Episode 55—Port-of-Call New London Connecticut:
Soon the MV Maryland & Virginia was launched to explore the Thames, and the Sparrow docked at New London, with the majority of the passengers disembarking to begin their exploration of the city.
The MD & VA set out to explore upriver a short distance before proceeding to the US Navy Submarine Force Museum at Groton, home of the USS Nautilus (SSN 571), the first nuclear submarine. Aboard the small MD & VA were Cap & Edith Sezavich, Sarah Cooper, Ines Hegedus Garcia, Bob Carney, Maggie Dokic, Lysa Napolitano, Fred Jaworski, Mac McIntyre, Jay Merton, Boomer Jack Boardman, and (of course), Daisy.
The MV MD & VA, having spent a couple of hours exploring the Thames River, approached the Submarine Force Museum and the USS Nautilus, operated by the US Navy. As they came alongside the Nautilus, Cap called out to a young seaman on deck, and asked permission to dock.
“Sorry sir,’ the seaman replied, “you can’t dock here.”
“SEAMAN,” Mac rumbled in his best, most intimidating voice, “this is Command Sergeant-Major McIntyre speaking. You WILL find the COB (Chief of the Boat—highest ranking NCO of a submarine), and you WILL tell him I wish to speak to him!” (In his “Real World” life, Mac served 22 years in the US Army, retiring as a Command Sergeant-Major).
“Aye, Sar-major,” the now thoroughly intimidated young seaman replied, and rushed off to find his boss.
About ten minutes later, a grey Navy sedan pulled up to the dock, and a small man stepped out and boarded the Nautilus. As he approached, Mac could see he was wearing the rank insignia of a Master Chief Petty Officer.
“WHO WANTS TO SPEAK WITH ME?” the diminutive, ramrod straight Master Chief bellowed, in a surprisingly deep voice.
A rather surprised Mac knew that foghorn voice—from some thirty-nine years past—as belonging to a young seaman he’d come to know during combined Army-Navy operations along the Mekong River in Vietnam. As active military goes—this guy was indeed an “ancient mariner.”
“COMMAND SERGEANT-MAJOR McINTYRE IS ASKIN’!” Mac bellowed back at him, “GET YOUR SORRY NAVY BUTT IN GEAR AND GRANT US PERMISSION TO DOCK!”
“McIntyre?” he asked himself out loud as his face slowly crinkled into a smile as he recognized the large figure on the trawler’s bow. Turning to the young sailor he ordered, “Seaman get to the dock and throw them a line!”
After the boat was docked, and Mac and Master Chief Kyle Pettigrew performed the usual antics, if “usual” is a word to describe two old warriors greeting one another after 39 years. Pettigrew decided that he would personally guide the group through the Nautilus.
After the tour, both Mac & Bob commented on how the submarine was not made for tall people, both having bumped his head once or twice during the tour. Boomer only smiled.
Pettigrew & Mac boarded the Maryland & Virginia. Everyone else went to tour the US Navy Submarine Force Museum. Mac sensed that Kyle had something on his mind by the way he asked to tour the small trawler. During the tour he had asked about the Sparrow and Danger Bay—and was unusually attentive to Mac’s answers—it was not small talk.
“Today is my last full day of duty,” Kyle began as they entered the small cabin, “My 40th anniversary with the Navy.”
“They forcing you out?” Mac asked.
“Naw, just strongly suggesting,” Kyle smiled, “It is time for me to move on. That’s what I want to talk to you about—you have a ‘Chief’ aboard the Sparrow?”
“Ah, no,” Mac answered, “It’s a small boat, with a small crew…I’ll ask the Captain and see what she says.”
To Be CONTINUED…