Tin Can Sailors – A National Treasure (Part II)

FatherDaughterDanceClip2It’s easy to live in the past, especially when it so colors the present. But, since I was privileged to be my father’s date at the recent 7th Annual Liberty Call Goose Creek Tin Can Sailor Reunion (April 11-12), I felt compelled to shift my view from that little girl in a military family, to an adult woman with new perceptions. I was blessed to meet and mingle with my father’s peers.

I learned so much by observing. The bond of these tin can sailors was a brotherhood from serving on a destroyer, always together in cramped quarters. I didn’t see the faces of senior men, I saw the boyish twinkle in their eyes as they reminisced about being bachelors, chasing girls and general cruise antics. I joined them touring the USS Laffey at Patriots Point climbing ladders to the Chiefs’ Quarters. I saw the enlisted berths and all the various spaces they were forced to share on rough or calm seas. I heard them relive so many stories that happened in the engine room or conditions when the boilers were cranked.

tin can sailor (2)The smell of grey paint and fuel recalled my childhood memory of Dependent’s Day. On Saturday morning, I even tried to get to the American Legion to partake in breakfast – shit on a shingle.

As a proud daughter of two career Naval fathers (my biological father, and later, my stepfather), I finally have a deeper appreciation of the jobs and duties and of these proud enlisted men. And this was all during a time of no internet, unlimited cell service, microwaves or hundreds of television channels. It seems unimaginable now, doesn’t it? We all relied on snail mail or family grams.

I’m in awe of their pride and passion for standing in the shoes of a Tin Can Sailor. If you know someone that served at that time, gather their stories! They are National Treasures.

Do you have a story about our parents’ generations? Please share it with your comment below!