“Where’s The Head?” and other questions…

Mother Goose with her family in tow reached the U.S. Navy frigate, USS De Wert, in the nick of time. We waited for the other passengers and tourists to disembark the water taxi and embark the military ship, and then tried to find our sea legs as we climbed the accommodation ladder (a ladder suspended over and inclining down the side of a ship to facilitate boarding the ship from boats).

Looking up and trying not to fall overboard, I was beholden of our beautiful stars and stripes — a fitting start to our tour of the ship.

Glad to know we are with fellow Americans.

As you can easily discern, once aboard the USS De Wert, Mother Goose quickly learned Navy lingo. And also because I am a goose, I immediately began searching for the rest room. Mother Goose even asked several sailors and tourists, “Where’s the head?” They were more than happy to show me — because I was using the correct terminology for ships and other watercraft.

There were brass plaques and signs throughout the ship, explaining the history of USS De Wert as well as departments onboard.

Of course, another question I asked the sailors was “Who is this ship named after?” And they were more than proud to tell me that story. The frigate was named for Hospitalman Richard De Wert (1931–1951). De Wert was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism while serving with the 7th Marines during the Korean War. Though wounded twice in battle, he continued to go out into the enemy fire to rescue other injured Marines. He was killed in action saving a friend.

Twenty-year old Hospitalman Richard De Wert was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for acts of valor during the Korean War.

A helicopter landing pad near the stern of the USS De Wert.

Mother Goose asked if a helicopter could actually land on this warship. “Yes,” replied the ensign who was acting as our official tour guide. “In fact, we even have two helo hangars.” And then she showed those places to us. By the way, it is more “navy” to call them “helos” so from now on, Mother Goose will be using that word…

As a naval warship and anti-piracy craft, we would expect to see some weapons. We saw quite a few mounted along the rail of the ship.

This is a real gun. And the real husband of Mother Goose…

We also saw guns slung across the backs of several uniformed sailors.

A real sailor talking with the real husband of Mother Goose.

Mother Goose asked, “So where do you keep the big guns?”

Navy Ensign with the sweet white cover showed us the big guns.

Here’s the back of the mounted machine gun. Very powerful weaponry, friends.

Bad guys, beware!

M.Goose in the bow of the boat. Perhaps she is dreaming of joining the U.S. Navy and seeing the world… So many ports, so little time…

USS De Wert, a powerful Navy ship with an excellent crew of sailors onboard. Land ahoy! There’s the great city of Chicago on the horizon!

Mother Goose had one last question. “Do you know how many sailors there are in the U.S. Navy?”

The good folks at Wikipedia were proud to answer that question: The service has 321,053 personnel on active duty and 106,188 in the Navy Reserve. It operates 286 ships in active service and more than 3,700 aircraft.

Please remember to pray for our servicemen and women on the land and on the sea and in the air — don’t forget that there’s still a war being waged in Afghanistan with American sons and daughters dying everyday in the name of freedom.

According to this Associated Press report, “In July, 40 U.S. servicemembers died in Afghanistan in the deadliest month for American troops so far this year. At least 31 have been killed this month — seven when a helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in what was one of the deadliest air disasters of the war. Ten others were gunned down in attacks from members of the Afghan security forces — either disgruntled turncoats or Taliban infiltrators.” http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/08/22/americans-tune-out-afghan-war-as-fighting-rages-on.html?ESRC=eb.nl

Since the war began in Afghanistan in October 2001, we’ve lost 2,000 men and women.

Isn’t it time to bring our soldiers home? Enough is enough.

Love, Mother Goose

Anchors Aweigh for Mother Goose

Did any of the brave sailors on the USS De Wert realize that Mother Goose came aboard yesterday afternoon? What a surprise it would have been to them all had I taken off my disguise! No doubt I would have been recognized and immediately shuffled to the head of the tour line.

Perhaps they would have wanted to have their picture taken with me…

At the very least, the commander of the ship would have invited me to dinner in the officers’ galley, and I would have told him an amusing story or two..

It took a great deal of self-restraint on the part of Mother Goose, but my true identity remained intact whilst we explored this very powerful naval warship from top to bottom, forward and aft, bow to stern, crow’s nest to hull and all points in between. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

The ship was anchored off the coast of Chicago this past week as a celebration of the War of 1812 Bicentennial and the spirit of goodwill and good neighborliness with Canada since the time of the demilitarization of the Great Lakes. There were several ships to tour — Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard cutters and patrol boats were moored at Navy Pier.

Canadian boats, HMCS Moncton and HMCS Summerside moored side by side on the north side of Navy Pier, Chicago

We love the pageantry of banners and flags.

Very Canadian. Very nice.

But you know Mother Goose…if there’s a bigger and better Navy ship to tour, she’ll wait in line for more than two hours in the blazing hot August sun for just a chance to see it up close and personal. To me, it was the chance of a life time.

USS De Wert is waaaaay out there on the lake.

A random and very friendly sailor in his dress whites. He patiently answered many people’s questions.

As we waited, Mother Goose remembered that this very same ship, USS De Wert, was in the news last year as it carried out anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. The ship and its crew was also instrumental in the rescue of an Italian boat which had been captured by Somalian pirates. All I can say is, “Go Navy! Honk honk!”.

The Chicago skyline was beautiful as we sped away.

Our group of warship-bound tourists boarded a water taxi which very quickly delivered us about a mile out into Lake Michigan to where the De Wert was anchored. What a beautiful sight to behold our glorious American flag flying in the stiff lake breezes. It made me want to start singing our national anthem…

USS De Wert is a REAL Navy warship. Mother Goose puffed up with much patriotic pride as we drew closer…

Please come back tomorrow if you’d like to go take the tour of USS De Wert with Mother Goose and her family.

Chicago’s lighthouse

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