>Words from the crew – CGC Munro

>Japan, Monday, Sept. 22nd

From Seaman Crowe

First Impressions on The USCGC Munro

My sea bag on my back and my shipmates at my sides, we stood at the pier eager and anxious, not knowing what to expect or when to expect it, as we awaited the arrival of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro. We stood there in the rain, nervous smiles on our faces and after a few minutes we caught our first glimpse.

The white hull was slashed with a diagonal red-orange stripe and crowned with two large black masts. The unmistakable Coast Guard ship was finally here.

As it rounded a corner and into full view in the harbors calm waters, the Munro looked beautiful standing out from all of the other vessels in the harbor. The clean gleam of the white hull and the contrasting red-orange and black made the ship look sharp and majestic compared to the larger, dull-gray Navy vessels moored up in the harbor.

As the Munro slowly reached the pier, heaving lines were thrown with precision onto the dock in front of us and friendly greetings were exchanged between the crew on the ship and BM1 Bailey, BM2 Myers and Fireman Griffen, already long time members of the Munro’s crew waiting to meet the ship along with myself and the other newly reported personnel. Watching this exchange gave me sense of reassurance, because anyone could see that this crew was a family.

Stepping onto the boat made it a reality, before then it hadn’t really sunk in, but crossing that brow and stepping onto the deck and the reality of it all hit me like a sack of potatoes. We were really there.

As soon as we were aboard we were swallowed by a moment of mild chaos. I had no idea where to go or whom to talk to. Then Seaman Burns came and took us all in hand. When someone knows how to lead everything else just falls right into place.

We followed Seaman Burns down below, trying not to fall down the steep ladders or run right into one of our new shipmates, all of whom moved through the boat with as much ease as I would have on the street.

Down two ladders and through several doors and we were in 20-man berthing. Home sweet home, I thought to myself as I looked around at all the yellow racks and lockers, which looked as old as time it’s self. As we moved our gear in and started unpacking we met some of our shipmates who also lived in 20-man berthing. I didn’t catch everyone’s name right off the bat, but I did know one thing, these guys were senior. They seemed to exude a sense of confidence and experience and it really put me at ease to know that I was surrounded by people who had already been where I was now. I instantly knew that I could have any of my questions answered by these guys.

After we were unpacked, Seaman Burns came back and had us follow him to our next destination. We went up some more tricky ladders and through several more hatches before we arrived in the Ward Room, the officer’s den. We gave our names to several different people and received a couple of lectures and a few very good pointers from a handful of Officers, chiefs and other senior personnel.

Afterward we were sent right back down to our berthing and told to wait for further instruction. After exchanging a few more handshakes and names with our fellow “deckies,” in 20-man, the ship’s intercom clicked on and the words, “Liberty, liberty, liberty!” rung out.

Almost immediately the berthing area was emptied and we were given permission to go out and have a good time out in Japan, but cautioned against getting into trouble and to make sure we were back on time.

I exchanged excited glances with some of the other new personnel as we grabbed our things and headed out. I wasn’t excited just because I was in a foreign country, but rather, because I knew this was the beginning very large adventure.

I am excited because there are new challenges to be met and overcome, and I’ll get to see things I’ve never heard of or even imagined I’d be able to see.

I am excited because I realize that I am a part of something big, something that matters. Something called the U.S. Coast Guard.