In the Navy

Interesting news (for me and lots of others) in the papers this morning, as the USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) is being commissioned and going to sea this weekend. The SSN-23 is the last of three Seawolf class attack submarines the Navy is building, before shifting to the more affordable Virginia class of attack submarines, the first of which went to sea last fall. In the mid-to-late ’80s in Washington, I helped write research and development budgets for the Seawolf class of submarines (then intended to include more than three ships), and went in a staff capacity to the Pentagon and Capitol Hill to help my bosses (first Admiral Kinnaird R. McKee, then Admiral Bruce DeMars) as they made the case for these ships before the Department of Defense and Congress. Then, in the mid-’90s in Schenectady, I negotiated the government contracts needed to acquire several key components for the last two Seawolf ships and the first couple of Virginia class ships. So I’ve got some sweat equity there on the SSN-23. I’m proud to know it’s finally going to be out doing its thing, and applaud the persistence of vision that has finally brought it into the fleet, long after I and countless others were no longer playing our own small parts in the process.

Signs of Spring

1. Every school morning, I leave home at 6:50 to take Katelin and our neighbor to school, then I drive to work, arriving at about 7:15. Most of my commute is in the Hudson River valley: we live on a ridge on the west side, the C+CC is on a ridge on the east side. So even though on paper, the sun has risen by the time we leave home, and there’s light out, we don’t actually see the orb of the sun itself until well after sunrise, because it has to clear the east ridge of the river, while I’m in the valley, driving Katelin to school. So around this time of year, we watch the horizon for our first glimpse of the sun itself during the commute to school. We saw it on Wednesday, February 16, for the first time this year. I don’t care what the Groundhog says. When I see the sun in the morning, I can conceive of spring.

2. Having my coffee this morning at the kitchen table, I was distracted by motion just outside the kitchen window. Looking down, I saw the first robin of the season, eating red berries of our holly bush. Another sign that the worse of winter is behind us. I approve.

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