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I'm not sure that other forces get to experience the same feelings a sailor does at sea. Every once in a while when I drift off, I still think back to starry nights on the deck of the USS Spartanburg County out in the Mediterranean.
A Tank Landing Ship (LST) is a flat-bottom ship so in calm waters it didn't slice the water like a tin can, it tended to bob and weave on it gently. We ran off of a couple diesel generators usually and would slowly make our way across the ocean at 15 knots or so.
In the evening, I'd find myself a quiet place on the deck and just stare out at the sea. In the moonlight, the deep blues made the surface almost glow. You'd trip over a cleat on the deck if you didn't watch out, but looking out - it seemed clear as day.
The air was warm and fresh with a hint of diesel exhaust and the only sound was the diesels purring through the stacks sitting behind you.
Truth be told, I'm not sure I ever had periods of greater solitude in my life. I'm not sure what I thought about out there - but I don't think I was ever at greater peace with myself and the world.
Sometimes I'd sit out there for hours... interrupted by someone heading aft for watch or someone else coming out to have a smoke or a cigar. We wouldn't even speak a word to each other, we'd just sit there and take it in.
There's nothing as peaceful as being out in the ocean drifting along on a US Navy ship, folks! Boy I miss it sometimes.
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