You’re a Civilian Now!

Friday, April 5th was the last day I had off for spring break, as school is back on the 8th.  So, how did I celebrate my “last day of freedom?”  I woke up at 4am…

I proceeded to feed my cats (extra early than usual), jumped in the shower, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, shaved, and put on a suit.  I left the house a little after 6, drove down to Hawthorne, picked up a friend from high school and we headed down to the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center in San Diego where our other friend from high school was retiring after a 20 year career in the Navy.

He served on 4 different ships, along with another 5 assignments, and took time to earn a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  In one deployment, to the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean, he took part in the seizure of 3 boats that were transporting 13 tons of cocaine and 70 bails of marijuana.  He climbed the ranks up to Lieutenant Commander, earned numerous medals and awards, and decided after 20 years he wanted to spend more time with his wife and daughter.

It took us about 1 1/2 hours to get down to San Diego from Los Angeles, luckily the traffic was pretty light and I was able to stay at 65 mph most of the time.  When we drove up to the gate, I handed the soldier my invitation, and gave him our names.  He checked the list, and told us that we were in the section of the list of people not to be allowed on base.  I responded, “you wish,” while smiling.  He returned the smile, realizing I wasn’t falling for it, and told us to enjoy the day.

the ceremony was held outside, and the reception was held inside.

the ceremony was held outside, and the reception was held inside.

since we made good time driving down, we were basically the first guests there, aside from some of the soldiers.

since we made good time driving down, we were basically the first guests there, aside from some of the soldiers.  The weather was overcast and kind of blocked out the bay and Downtown San Diego.

the Color Guard was practicing their steps and were more than to pose for a picture.

the Color Guard was practicing their steps and were more than happy to pose for a picture.

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as we were waiting for the ceremony to start, a few ships and helicopters sailed/flew by, either on exercises or patrolling the bay...

before and during the ceremony, a few Navy vessels and helicopters sailed/flew by.  I assume they were patrolling the bay.

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I had to zoom in as the boats were on the other side of the bay.

I had to zoom in as the boats were on the other side of the bay.

officers lined up as our friend and his superiors prepared to enter.  Yes, those are real shells lining the carpet., I had to ask...

officers lined up as our friend and his superiors prepared to enter. Yes, those are real shells lining the carpet., I had to ask…

preparing to take his final walk as a Navy officer to become a civilian...

preparing to take his final walk as a Navy officer to become a civilian…

For his 20 years of service, our friend was given a case holding all the medals he earned, along with an American flag that had just recently flow over the Battleship Arizona in Hawaii.  He was also presented with certificates of appreciation from President Obama and California Governor Brown.  What really impressed me was that his commanding officer also gave certificates to his wife and daughter, for their support and understanding as a Navy wife and daughter.

If you know anyone who is currently serving or has done so in the past, thank them…

HOW YOU DOIN???

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6 comments on “You’re a Civilian Now!

  1. Lu says:

    Great Pictures. Glad your friend has them to add to his collection of memenos for this all important day.
    Glad you all have managed to stay in touch thru the years. It’s rare to find that these days. Speaks highly of all of you. And your tribute here to him was awesome.
    Glad the Navy honored his wife and daughter as well. Familie’s DO serve….just not on the front lines.
    Hope you survive the “after Spring Break chaos”.

  2. Sam Gerber says:

    Doing okay and hope you and yours are also. Took me awhile to get through both of the e-mails but enjoyed your hard work. Thanks, Sammy G.

    On Sun, Apr 7, 2013 at 5:21 PM, How You Doin?

  3. nice photos–very well written–great narrative apptoach

  4. Joel, this is Michael. I have a WordPress photo blog. So follow my blog and LIKE the photos you honestly feel are worthy of liking. Thanks!

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