Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sarcasm goes on a field trip! ~ Episode 1

It's called a blessed life, or at least our Mom, She who must not be named, says it is. As a result, I find myself on many little "Adventures". Some of which were actually life threatening. Others actually killed me for a few days. Well, at least on paper I was dead. 

We were working through a NATO Exercise in the Baltic Sea. Our main job was overseeing the preparedness and then tallying the results of the events. Kind of dull, unless you're me. I fix problems. On this particular exercise we received a message from a French mine sweeper who was having some issues with one of their communication systems. My Department then brought the message directly to me and stated he was happy I had volunteered for the job, and that myself and another technician (they didn't often let me have tools, for good reason obviously), were going to depart shortly and *should be back in a couple of days.

[*Should: In this case should was defined as the following - I have no idea how long you will be gone, what you will be doing, or where you are going, but I feel you have trained enough other people that we find you easy to replace. Enjoy your trip.]

I packed for a week, and went to get the technician from the Electrical Technicians shop. I was met by one of my favorite people (the division senior chief for the ET shop) and my best friend (to be called Kilo Papa from here on out). I explained to Kilo Papa what was going on and then turned to Senior, who shook my hand with the following statement, "We're a little busy with maintenance here in the shop, so you're on your own, but this **should be a minor problem from the sound of it."

[**Should defined here as: This is a Comms issue. We don't have time for this nonsense, but you are their golden-boy/man-whore and don't have choice. Don't die, but you're on your own. ]

I retrieved my bags, and went to the flight deck to wait for my ride. This included putting on a dry dive suit, pre-flight safety checks, helmet, comm check, and watching a text book landing. If by textbook you mean a small grasshopper looking helicopter ignoring the crew on the deck trying to land it, then almost hitting antenna's, landing, then rushing me out to the helicopter, then taking off again without following the ground crews instructions, you got it right. This trip was supposed to take me directly to Swinoujscie Poland. However, the pilot informs me that he is going on liberty in Gdynia Poland so instead will be dropping me on a British mine sweeper, and they ***should be expecting me.

[***Should: No, no, they are not expecting me. In fact, I will be dropped on the back of the mine sweeper in rough, freezing cold waters, with only the notice of, "Hey, we got this Yank who needs to go to Swinoujscie. Drop him off will ya? Cheers!"]

At this point I get the feeling deep in the back of my head that says this trip is about to be "Blessed" (capital B intended). As we approach the British mine sweeper they push a winch out the door, and connect a small orange under the arm winch restraint.
This goes across your back and under your arms
The instructions I get are that all I have to do is just hold my arms and legs straight and I will not spin to much. This was bullshit. The freezing wind and rain had me swirling around like a faulty YoYo. The scary part was when the back end of the mine sweeper passed in front of me going down, and then the helicopter swung me over the ship so it picked me up on it's way back up. I quickly untangle myself and wait for my luggage to be dropped on the back of the boat as well. I grab my sea bag and go to find an entry point. One opens in front of me telling me to get inside.

The crew is great. However, they are the bad guys in the exercise, which means in four hours we will be taking a rubber inflatable boat for a ride. I get a whole tour of the boat, some really good food, brush my teeth and move my toiletry bag into the ruck sack, then get my dry suit back on again.

This ends Episode 1!
 It's a long story....Tune in for more adventures...

Oh fuck it, show up to watch me die, I got better though.

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