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What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Thanksgiving, 1990, and Other Musings

Kevin Rollins is the editor and publisher of the Washington, D.C. based Free Liberal newspaper and web site. I'm proud to say my most recent column is featured at the web site. If you missed the column the first time around, check it out at The Free Liberal. There's a lot of great content at the web site, as well as information on the print edition. If you live in the Beltway, chances are you'll find the print copy at book stores and coffee shops in D.C. and Virginia.

I spent Thanksgiving in 1990 aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), which was based out of Bahrain for Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1990 I was 22 and while I had spent several Thanksgiving holidays away from home, Thanksgiving 1990 was a bit more difficult, as I was so far from home, living with the possibility that we could be called to war at any time.

Most of my shipmates were anxious for any glimpse or opportunity to communicate with our families and friends back home. And while most of us were a little depressed about being in Bahrain for Thanksgiving, we received a bit of news that was pretty exciting: the ABC News program Good Morning America was going to broadcast live from Blue Ridge on Thanksgiving day.

As ship's journalist, one of my duties was to assist in media escorts, so I was assigned to the GMA camera crew.

They arrived early, about 8:30 a.m., and I spent the day with the crew. Nice bunch of folks. The downside was no breaks, so I was with the camera crew the 12 hours they were on board the ship.

A segment was to be broadcast with members of the ship's crew, and I was invited to join in, so it seemed I would actually get to be on TV and have my family and friends see me.

While waiting for the segment to air, I noticed a few of the guys walking around the deck with a woman. Naturally, I wanted to see who the woman was. Turns out she was GMA's Dr. Nancy Snyderman. I didn't know who she was as I hadn't watched GMA, but she was very accessible to me and my shipmates (there were about a dozen of us gathered), posing for photographs and answering questions. GMA host Charlie Gibson didn't interact with any of us.

The big moment came for us to get lined up on deck; the show was about to go live. And a couple of minutes later, it was over. My image did not get beamed back home, unfortunately.

I spent the rest of the day and part of the evening with the camera crew, and they finally left at about 7:00 p.m.

By then, the ship's mess (our cafeteria) had stopped serving food, so I missed out on my Thanksgiving meal. I also was told by my leading petty officer that I had to swab and wax the deck of the passageway in front of our office. Needless to say I was pretty exhausted and not very much in the mood to spend another hour working. But that's the military for you. And I knew the guys on the ground lived in much worse conditions.

With the swabbing and waxing complete, me and a friend decided to head to the small Navy facility in Bahrain for burgers and beer.

Once again, troops are in harm's way in the Persian Gulf. Thanksgiving and Christmas are difficult holidays to celebrate when you're so far from home.

If you have the means, consider sending a care package to the troops this holiday season. They'll appreciate that someone from home was thinking about them.

Contact Any Soldier for information on sending care packages to the troops.


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