Testing - One, Two, Three...
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BRINGING HOME THE RODGERS.
We're in Lázaro Cardenes. We were met by a Captain and Lieutenant from the Mexican Navy, and we're off to lay eyes on the Rodgers, and have a "Welcome to Lazaro Cardenes" lunch with the Mexican Navy.
And, importantly, I have access... which means tonight... PICS!
Meet our motley crew...
Ward Brewer -Captain
Ken Guiles - Number 1
John Donovan - Gunnery Officer
John Nowakowski- Chief Engineer
Sean Quigley- Able Seaman
Jeremy Byers - Able Seaman
Jim Nowak - Chief Photographer's Mate
Rob Harshbarger - Intel Officer
We're a patchwork crew, come to take a look at the Cuithuiloc/John Rodgers for the first time. All *any* of us have seen of her are old photos and the relatively current satellite shots. Not a sailor among us, either. What's up with you swab-jockeys, anyway? We've got a retired Army guy, retired Air Force guy, OIF veteran, a former Marine, a firefighter, two camera guys...
We're hoping she's a Pretty Woman... a down-on-her-luck, long-in-the-tooth chick who will clean up nicely.
We're prepared for a pretty bad initial impression. Rust peeking out from faded, peeling paint. Water in some of her compartments, the depredations of rodents.
But she was very well cared for by the Mexicans for the 30 years she was in service with them, so we're confident that her basic structure is sound. Oh, she's had some cosmetic surgery here and there, trying to keep up with all the young chicks, what with their missiles, slick radar suites and stuff.
She's had her 20's removed, had her stern cleaned up by losing the depth charge racks and the splinter tubs the 20's used to sit in. Her balcony gun mounts on the funnels are gone, and she's had her torpedo tubes tied removed.
But she's got her 5 inch/38s, all five of 'em. And she has something all these new chicks don't.
A war record. Where she went close inshore for shore bombardments and stuck her neck out to defend the big girls from the Kamikazes.
Those new chicks? Of sure, some of them have launched missiles at targets they can't see... but how many of them have just steamed back and forth, pounding away, emptying their magazines against something that shoots back?
*That's* why we want to bring the Rodgers home.
We want to take better care of her in her dotage than the VA does with her flesh and blood crew.
We can't fix, nor fund, the VA.
But we can fund and fix a home for DD-574, the USS John Rodgers.
This is gonna be kewl.
Bringing the Rodgers Home, Day 1
No pics with this post, sadly. I'm having some technical issues with the wireless, and don't want to have my little hard drive touch this network, since who knows who else is touching it?
We all made it, though some of the baggage didn't (mine did). We move on tomorrow to Lázaro Cardenas and will get our first look at the Rodgers, after puddle-jumping our way there in the morning.
The Mexican Navy is picking us up and taking us straight to her. Pics tomorrow, one way or another, I promise!
This is a nice airport - though you can see why some locals the world over aren't fond of American commerce... McDonalds, Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, Cinnabon, etc, all filled with people.
The most startling thing to this midwesterner is how few Mexicans at the airport look like the Mexicans we see at home. These guys look very European-US, with a sprinkling of the kinds of faces I'm used to seeing at home or I saw when I was stationed in San Antonio and California. Says something about the structure of the immigration problem.
I find I'm doing okay with spanish commerical signage as far as reading it. Get into details and I'm reaching for a Babelfish. But nothing is helping understand spoken Spanish. These deaf english-german trained ears haven't been up to it.
The documentary film crew we brought down are doing some initial interviews (I'll get roped in later).
I gotta go, there's a line for this computer (I already spent a half-hour wading through the day's mail).
I'll check in again tomorrow. Stay tuned.